MSGVarsity.com's "Players to Watch" is a month-long daily series highlighting some of the biggest names you'll be hearing about during the 2013-14 high school sports season. We'll unveil one new player each day in August (including weekend days) until we've covered 30 athletes.
It isn't so much the shooting--as good as it can be sometimes--or the sure, soft hands that seize your attention these days when watching Linden forward Quadri Moore play.
It is the body now attached to those hands attempting those shots that commands such notice. He is lean, nicely chiseled and exhibiting a confident presence in the lane that has a lot of college scouts now liking what they see. A lot. Rutgers, Seton Hall, Cincinnati, Georgetown, St. Joseph's (Pa.) and Wake Forest are among the schools that have tendered offers.
The 6-9, 230-pound Moore has always been a big fellow, or at least that's true as long as he has been a contributing member of the Linden varsity. And that takes us back to the first game of his freshman year, when he showed not only the ability, but also the preference to play a smaller man's game. Moore was surprisingly adept at handling the basketball for a kid his size and he loved to hang around the perimeter for a chance to shoot 3-pointers.
Moore knocked down 21 three-pointers and averaged 6.4 points in 2010-11 to help Linden finish 23-9 and reach the Group 4 semifinals. As a sophomore, he sank 28 from long range and averaged 15.0 ppg. for a 14-11 Tigers team.
Moore's more sculpted frame is not a summer fad. He began his junior season much leaner. stronger and assertive than he'd been the previous season, and that change was exactly what young Linden needed. This was a team predominantly composed of juniors and sophomores and one especially inexperienced in the frontcourt.
Linden won its first nine games last season and 14 of its first 17 with Moore playing well inside while guards Juwan Jones and Josh Carter ran the offense and Terrell Bagley and Cairo Brown (who would leave the team in mid-January) provided versatility. Moore had struggled with bouts of inconsistency as a freshman and sophomore, which was perfectly acceptable for someone his age. Last season, he was, at worst, consistent. Often enough, he was downright dominating.
Moore averaged 14.7 points and 11.5 rebounds as a junior to guide Linden (22-8) to the championship game in both Group 4 (a 60-54 loss to Atlantic City in overtime) and the Union County Tournament (a 44-42 loss to the Patrick School). He still displayed that delicate outside touch (17 treys), but was far more inclined to work the low post for buckets and serve as an interior enforcer at the other end of the floor.
He has been sharpening those inside skills this past spring and summer for his AAU team, Sports University. Moore has led that team to four major championships since April and he played in the Under Armour 17-U All-Star Game in Las Vegas in June.
Mike Kinney covers boys basketball for MSG Varsity. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeKinneyHS