Even the critics of USC head basketball coach Kevin O'Neill have at least acknowledged one thing: the guy sure knows how to recruit. And considering recent events, he doesn't appear to be slowing down in the slightest. Just this past weekend, O'Neill was instrumental in helping Lane Kiffin and the football staff reel in prized two-sport athlete Arik Armstead by promising him a spot on the hoops team. Now, just days later O'Neill was able to solicit a commitment from another highly regarded prospect for the class of 2011 - Long Beach State point guard Alexis Moore. From the Daily News:
Alexis Moore, who helped the Long Beach Poly High boys' basketball team to a 28-5 record this past season as a junior, said Monday he committed to sign a letter of intent with the USC program in November.
The 6-foot-2 Moore, who averaged 9.8 points and 4.9 assists while sharing co-Moore League Player of the Year honors with teammate Ryan Anderson, accepted the scholarship offer USC coach Kevin O'Neill made to him during a telephone call earlier in the afternoon.
"I decided there was no sense in dragging it (his recruitment) out," Moore said of his decision. "USC was the first major program to show interest in me. I'm happy to get this over so I can focus on getting better and help us accomplish our goals of winning the big two - CIF and state championships - next season at Poly."
Moore, who has a 3.78 grade point average, impressed O'Neill while playing in the Trojans Elite Camp on Friday in the Galen Center and with his Poly teammates during the Trojans' Saturday-Sunday team camp.
Moore's commitment gives O'Neil two point guards for next season along with Gelaun Wheelwright of Corona Centennial High School, who committed to USC last July. Both are celebrated high school players, although each is a bit raw and needs to work on his point guard skills despite his athleticism. Here's what an ESPN scouting report published in May says about Moore, who was given a scouts grade of an 84 by the WWL for whatever that's worth.
Moore has all the physical intangibles (length, bounce, and quickness) to be a legitimate Division I combo-guard at the next level. However, his feel for the game can be questionable. His shot selection is erratic (takes tough shots early on in the shot clock) and his passing skills need work.
The one thing the hoops program desperately needs right now is an infusion of talent. 'SC currently has just two juniors and sophomores (Nikola Vucevic and Evan Smith) after the Tim Floyd fiasco essentially chased away two recruiting classes. Last season, the rotation was incredibly tight, and many positions did not feature a backup at all. Starters were asked to play anywhere from 32-40 minutes a game, and toward the end of the season, the wear and tear became quite apparent. If anything, O'Neill could just use some more bodies out there. Fortunately, it appears as if he's getting that.
With four players from the class of 2010 (SF Garrett Jackson, SG Bryce Jones, PG Maurice Jones, C Curtis Washingon), transfers Jio Fontan from Fordham and Aaron Fuller from Iowa, and what looks to be a strong class of 2011 (C DeWayne Dedmon, SF Byron Wesley, Moore, Wheelwright) all coming to USC within the next year, it certainly appears as if O'Neill is at least going to have some pieces to work with.
Whether he can build a cohesive unit out of this talent is one thing, but with the way things seem to be going for O'Neill, it at last seems as if he's going to have the personnel to build a viable contender in the Pac-10.