Jay Moore Puts In Work To Make Lifelong Dream Happen
Jay Moore knew what he wanted.
A lifelong WVU fan, the Beckley, West Virginia, native who had scored more than 1,800 points during a career at Greater Beckley Christian High School had a few lower-level Division I offers and interest as he wrapped up his senior season in the spring of 2019. However, the lure of playing for the State’s flagship institution was a stronger draw, so he decided to play a year of post graduate basketball at Beckley Prep in order to chase that dream.
That became a reality for him over the weekend when he committed to the Mountaineer program as a walk-on.
For all 1.8 📍 pic.twitter.com/l9ZoSVx7yc
— jay moore (@_MooreBuckets) January 11, 2020
“When they invited me to come up for open gym this summer, I just loved it,” said Moore, who has taken advantage of his extra year by adding some 15-20 pounds of muscle to his 6-foot-5 frame. “It was very challenging, going against some of those players, but I started getting used to it. I really liked the guys there, and everything was just great.”
A driver and natural scorer of the ball, Moore returned from those summer jaunts knowing what he had to do.
“I’ve gotten a lot stronger, and I’m lifting and conditioning a lot,” he detailed. “I’m also working on my outside shooting more, and of course my defense. I have to get my shot more consistent.
Moore’s coach at GBCHS, Brian Helton, has watched him progress during his career.
“He is just a natural scorer,” Helton said. “I think he fits really nicely with West Virginia’s style. Their system is tailor-made for him. He is up to around 200 pounds now, and has really developed his developed his overall game. He’s becoming an outstanding on-ball defender. He likes to take on the opposing team’s top scorer.”
A student at GBCS since the fifth grade, Moore hit a growth spurt prior to his freshman high school season, and at the urging of Helton, began taking advantage of his burgeoning athletic skills.
“When I hit that big growth spurt, coach told me to start dunking it,” Moore recounted. “I did, and that started me working on driving the ball to the basket.”
Those dunks and drives have often been contested.
“Driving to the bucket came naturally to him. He’s a gifted athlete,” Helton confirmed. “He’s able to dunk in traffic, and his toughness stands out. He can get past people on the drive.”
A good bit of that improvement came during his high school career, but he wanted to see what other opportunities, including perhaps a shot at WVU, might materialize. So, he elected to play this postgraduate year during 2019-20.
“His recruitment has really picked up this year,” Helton said. “I know he had Division I offers, and was getting interest from more schools.”
One group of those was from the Ivy League. In addition to in-hand offers from Stetson, North Carolina A&T, North Carolina Asheville and Morgan State, attention from the collection of prestigious academic schools was growing.
“I think I would have gotten some offers from them if I had waited a little more, and that made the decision a little tougher,” Moore, an excellent student, said of the Ivy League attention. “But going to West Virginia was what I always wanted to do.”
Those dreams didn’t get off to a promising start, but quickly came into focus. Helton noted that he didn’t make his middle school varsity team until his final year at that level. From there, though, he quickly elevated his game, becoming a starter as a ninth-grader on the high school varsity.
“He has worked really hard,” Helton confirmed. “I think he will do whatever the coaching staff feels like is the best thing for him. Whatever it is they ask, he will do.”
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Moore played AAU basketball with the West Virginia Mpact squad. His older brother Anthony is also a WVU student, and he has designs on trying out for the football team during open tryouts this month.