Two weeks ago, on an official visit to Durham, Wendell Moore told Duke coach Mike Kryzewski he was going to be a Blue Devil.
“He was very ecstatic,” Moore said Monday, after officially announcing his commitment at a gathering in the Cox Mill High School auditorium. “He was jumping up and down. He said he was excited to have me.”
Moore, ranked No. 18 nationally by ESPN, will be the first Charlotte-area player at Duke since former Charlotte Christian star Seth Curry played for the Blue Devils during the 2012-13 season. Moore chose Duke over North Carolina, N.C. State and Wake Forest, calling Duke “his dream school”
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“I’ve got Duke rugs in my room and Duke posters hanging around my house,” Moore said. “It’s always been a dream of mine to play there. Now I get to live it.”
A 6-foot-5, 210-pound small forward, Moore averaged 25 points and eight rebounds last season. Last March, he led Cox Mill to a second straight N.C. 3A state championship and repeated as state finals MVP.
Last season, Moore scored his 2,000th point. He had more than 15 Division I scholarship offers, from schools including national power Kansas.
According to Moore and his high school coach, Jody Barbee, Duke doesn’t expect to have Moore on campus for very long.
“Coach K thinks he’s a one-and-done player,” Barbee said. “He thinks he has the ability to be a really great - and those were the words coming out of his mouth - a great pro. I can see that out of Wendell’s game. They want him to come in immediately and be the guy, kind of a similar role to what he has here at Cox Mill High School.
“That’s how (Krzyzewski) has been recruiting him over the last several months, and hopefully Wendell can step in and not miss a beat as a freshman....(Krzyzewski) feels like Wendell carries that leader mentality and that’s what he kept selling Wendell on.”
On Monday, Moore spoke in front of a large crowd at his school’s auditorium and then showed a video of him wearing all of the jerseys he’s worn in his career, including USA Basketball, for which he’s won two gold medals in international play. Finally, the video ended and Moore walked out with a royal blue Duke hat and T-shirt. His parents also revealed hidden Duke shirts they had layered underneath their clothes.
Moore then smiled hard, taking in a big ovation.
“I am kind of relieved with it,” he said. “The recruiting process is a very hard thing. You’re going to break some people’s hearts, and that’s the toughest thing to get over, but I feel I made the right decision for me.”