11/11/11 — Tigers' Moore signs with Trojans

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Tigers' Moore signs with Trojans

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on November 11, 2011 1:48 PM

Jeff Lane inherited a basketball program that has the capacity -- if everything goes right -- to contend for the Tri-County 1-A Conference boys' basketball title this winter.

Senior co-captain Michael Moore is expected to be an integral part of that plan. The 6-foot-7, 205-pounder averaged double figures last season for James Kenan, which reached the third round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs.

"He's kind of flown under the radar," said Lane.

Not any more.

The soft-spoken forward received some attention from Guilford, N.C. Wesleyan and Western Carolina while he played travel ball. But Mount Olive College turned out be Moore's choice, and he signed a national letter-of-intent with the perennial NCAA Division II power.

"Me and my family, we talked about it a lot and they know I had other options out there," said Moore. "I like the fact it was close to home and that will help me keep my head on straight to do better instead of going far away.

"They have a great program, I've visited a couple of times and I like the campus. I like the program and the way they operate things. It was an easy choice for me."

MOC endured an injury-plagued season and compiled a 14-13 record. The Trojans were an uncharacteristic 9-9 in Conference Carolinas play, and are projected to finish among the league's top four teams this season.

Moore's signing comes at a good time since head coach Joey Higginbotham will lose several of his big men to graduation after this season.

"We are extremely excited to add Mike to the Trojan family," said Higginbotham. "Mike has a ton of potential and is a great kid with great family support. He is outstanding in the classroom as well as on the court. (He) will give us some length and versatility in our frontcourt."

James Kenan has compiled a 29-14 record during Moore's two seasons on the varsity scene. The Tigers emerged the TCC runners-up to Pender, which played for the state title and lost last season.

Moore attended a "Cross Fit" program organized by MOC this summer and added several pounds to his lanky frame while working out with a personal trainer. He's spent practices doing everything possible to make his game better and to improve his endurance, which will help him adjust to the physicality of the college game.

The potential is undoubtedly there.

"Mount Olive is looking for good student-athletes and Mike fits the bill," said Lane. "I'm tickled to death for him. He'll sort of be a versatile player and he's also developed the past year a shot around the free throw line, which is big.

"He'll bring a good work ethic and willingness to get better within Joey's system. I see him fitting in well."

And helping keep MOC among the nation's elite programs.