NORTH LIBERTY — Malcolm Moore believes he’s on track toward playing Division I basketball.
That wasn’t always the case.
Moore, a 6-foot-7 college sophomore, became academically ineligible during his senior year at Iowa City High. He was a likely all-state pick, averaging 21 points and 11 rebounds a game before he was ruled out one day before the team’s Class 4A substate final.
One year after playing at Tyler (Texas) Junior College, Moore said academics are not an issue. In fact, he said he’s ahead of where he should be.
“My grades are fine,” Moore said. “I did good both semesters, and then I went to May term and got ahead a couple of credits. I’m just looking at trying to finish out the year and just get some solid grades coming out of there.”
Moore will play this year in Tyler, then become a free agent on the recruiting block. He already has a few suitors in mind. He has trimmed his list to four schools — Iowa, Baylor, UTEP and Marquette. He’d like to land with the hometown Hawkeyes and already has met with new coach Fran McCaffery.
“(McCaffery is) just trying to see what I can do,” Moore said. “He’s said he’s never really seen me play beyond like little stuff. He said just keep working hard. He said I’m the type of player he’s looking for. He wants a player that can shoot, kind of do a little bit of everything. I’m really looking forward to building a relationship with him over the next couple of months.”
Tyler has sent three players to Iowa in the last decade, including Kurt Spurgeon, Kurt Looby and Justin Johnson. Two recent Iowa State players — Jessan Gray and Jamie Vanderbeken — also played at Tyler.
Moore, who plays in the summer Prime Time League, came up big for Tyler in the regional tournament, scoring 24 points in a 69-59 loss to Navarro. Moore led all scorers, was the only Tyler player in double figures and grabbed a game-high eight rebounds. He, along with Iowa signee Bryce Cartwright, were named to the all-tournament team.
Moore was Tyler’s leading scorer last season at 15.5 points a game. He averaged 20 points over the team’s final seven games.
UTEP and its new coach, former Iowa State Coach Tim Floyd, is recruiting Moore hard, he said. Moore already has talked with UTEP assistant Phil Johnson and he plans meet with Floyd at some point.
“I talked to them, and the thing is they need players, they’re losing players,” Moore said. “I’d be able to go there and play right away.
“It’s a pretty humbling experience going through this whole thing, especially coming out of here. People didn’t think I’d go to those bigger schools. I just feel blessed to be in that position right now.”