Former Morgan Park High School point guard Charlie Moore knows all about Kansas’ basketball program, partly because he followed Chicago native Sherron Collins during his four seasons at KU.
“I’ve been watching Kansas since I was a child because of Sherron and the tradition there. I’m just glad to be part of it,” Moore, a 5-foot-11, 170-pound freshman said Tuesday after announcing his plans to transfer to KU after one season at California.
The Jayhawks on Tuesday announced the signing of Moore to a grant-in-aid agreement as well as brothers Dedric Lawson (6-9, 236 pounds) and K.J. Lawson (6-7, 210), who played at Memphis the past two seasons.
Moore — who averaged 12.2 points and 3.5 assists in his one year at Cal — phoned Collins a couple of times before deciding on KU over Illinois and Marquette.
“He said it’s great tradition there, a big-time basketball school and I’ll love it. I believe what he says,” said Moore, who describes himself as, “a tough guard like Sherron. I score the ball really well, handle and distribute to my teammates like he did. He had a great career at Kansas. He did really well.”
Collins, a member of KU’s 2008 NCAA title team, said he was happy to speak with Moore about what he might expect if he chose KU.
“He called me and told me he was interested in Kansas. Me having played here, I felt I could be a voice to him,” Collins said Tuesday in a phone interview. “I told him this is another level, a place where he’ll get the looks (from NBA scouts) he needs to get. I told him Coach (Bill Self) would make sure he does the right things and he’ll have a great year working with one of the the best strength coaches there is in (Andrea) Hudy.”
Moore and the Lawson brothers will be able to practice next season and be eligible to play in games in 2018-19 in accordance with NCAA transfer rules.
“He’s a humble kid, a quiet kid, a great kid. I told him it’d be a great fit,” said Collins, who also is friends with Markese Jacobs, a high school sophomore point guard from Uplift Community High in Chicago who also has committed to KU.
“I think KU will be in good hands at point guard for years to come,” Collins said.
Collins has watched Moore play on TV and compete in AAU workouts for Mac Irvin Fire.
“He’s a natural scorer,” Collins said of Moore, who had a career-high 38 points against UC Irvine Nov. 16. “He can run a team, do a lot of things.”
Moore, a part of two state championship teams at Morgan Park and Mr. Basketball in the state of Illinois his senior year, said in a phone interview that his desire is “to win a national championship. That’s a big goal for me.”
He said he left Cal in order to play at a school closer to home.
“The flight from Cal to Chicago is four hours. Chicago to Kansas is an hour and the drive is seven. It’s better physically for me to be closer to home,” said Moore, ranked No. 55 in the recruiting Class of 2016 by Rivals.com.
His dad recently suffered a stroke.
“He’s doing well,” Moore said. “He’s going through rehab now.”
Of Moore’s signing, Self said Tuesday: “Charlie started at Cal this past year and averaged just over 12 points a game as a true freshman. We think after a year sitting out that he’ll be much like (KU sophomore transfer) Malik Newman will be for us this year, ready to make a serious contribution to our program.”
Moore continues a trend of Self taking in transfers. Aside from the Lawson brothers, current squad members Dwight Coleby (Mississippi), Malik Newman (Mississippi State) and Sam Cunliffe (Arizona State) also made it to KU after starting elsewhere.
Dedric Lawson averaged 19.2 points and 9.9 rebounds a game last season as a sophomore. He had 19 double-doubles with a career-high 35 points against Iowa on Nov. 26, 2016.
“Dedric is one of the best big-man prospects in the country,” Self said. “He was a double-double machine last year.”
K.J. Lawson, who was listed as a redshirt freshman (he played just 10 games his true freshman season because of an Achilles injury), last season was chosen American Athletic Conference rookie of the year.
“K.J. averaged over 12 (12.3) points and eight (8.1) rebounds while playing the small forward position,” Self said. “He’s a very competitive athlete who we feel will add to our culture here.”
Of the transfers, Self said: “We’re excited about all three of these prospects. They’ve all had successful starts to their college careers at different institutions. Certainly, the transfers became so attractive to us, in large part because we will have guys in our program who will be ready to contribute in a year. We could lose multiple guys next year, so I think this is a great fit for the University of Kansas. Not only will we get better down the road but this will certainly make us better in practice next year.”
KU has filled all 13 available scholarship slots for the 2017-18 season. One more will become available if junior Svi Mykhailiuk keeps his name in the NBA Draft. He has declared but not signed with an agent, meaning he still could return to school.