Kansas sophomore point guard Charlie Moore knows he’ll have to play well to survive cuts at USA Basketball’s 2017 FIBA Under 19 World Cup tryouts Sunday through Thursday, June 22, in Colorado Springs.
“I wouldn’t think they’d invite just anybody to this type of thing,” Moore, a 5-foot-11, 170-pound transfer from Cal said Monday, speaking to media at Bill Self’s basketball camp held at Allen Fieldhouse and other venues in town. “I know there’s going to be a ton of talent there. I’m looking to go compete against the guys and have fun.”
Moore, a Chicago native who was named 2016 Mr. Basketball in Illinois after his senior season at Morgan Park High School, has yet to represent the United States at an international event. The World Cup is set for July 1-9 in Cairo, Egypt.
“I definitely think I can make the team,” said Moore, one of 27 players age 19 and under hoping to earn a spot on the 12-man team. Oklahoma freshman Trae Young withdrew his name from consideration on Monday.
“If I go in, play hard, and bring my winning attitude toward the team I think I should be able to make it,” Moore said.
He averaged 12.2 points and 3.5 assists a game at Pac-12 school Cal a year ago before announcing plans to transfer to KU on April 24.
Team USA coach John Calipari of Kentucky and former KU players Danny Manning (Wake Forest) and Tad Boyle (Colorado) will hold one practice on Sunday, two on Monday and one on Tuesday. Eighteen or so finalists are expected to be announced Tuesday afternoon. The selected finalists will continue two-a-days with the 12-player squad expected to be revealed on Thursday.
Moore will be one of 13 guards at the trials.
The others: Desmond Bane, TCU; Chaundee Brown, Wake Forest; Devon Daniels, North Carolina State; Hamidou Diallo, Kentucky; Carsen Edwards, Purdue; Malachi Flynn, Syracuse; Romeo Langford, New Albany (Ind.) High School; De’Anthony Melton, USC; Josh Okogie, Georgia Tech; Shamorie Ponds, St. John’s; Payton Pritchard, Oregon and Immanuel Quickley, John Carroll School, Bel Air, Md.
“I am excited for the opportunity to be able to represent my country,” Moore said, noting he’s been preparing by “going through the process with Kansas basketball — lifting weights, getting workout time with the players here.”
Moore last Wednesday was able to compete against one of his childhood idols — former KU guard and fellow Windy City native Sherron Collins, who scored six points in an 82-75 Bill Self campers game loss to the current Jayhawks. Moore did not score in limited minutes.
“I think I guarded him maybe once,” Moore said of the 5-11 Collins. “It was fastpaced, so it wasn’t really (us) guarding anybody.”
Moore phoned Collins to seek his advice after he elected to leave Cal.
“He (Collins) said Bill Self and the coaching staff were great guys,” Moore said. “He thought it (KU) would be good for me. It’s what he was explaining to me.”
Collins was happy to see a well-adjusted Moore at KU last week.
“I talked to Sherron. It was good seeing him,” Moore said. “He said, ‘Man, I know you’ve only been here for a couple days (summer school). I know you love it already, but you haven’t even been here for a long time yet. Just stay working hard and enjoy the process.’’’
Moore started summer school on June 6.
“I love it here so far,” he said. “I’ve been connecting with everybody actually. Everybody is cool on the team. Everybody is humble and good to talk to. I’m just happy to be here.”
He said he’s been surprised by “just how intense it is. Everybody is locked in. Everybody is focused trying to get better. It’s a little different (from Cal) as far as the weight room. We lift every day out here. I don’t think we lift every day in California.”
Moore said one goal during his upcoming redshirt season — he can practice but not play in games in accordance with NCAA rules — would be to “get better in the weight room, me adjusting to that, me getting stronger and bigger.”
KU coach Self has joked about Moore appearing to be a bit younger than he is. Moore turns 20 on Feb. 3.
“Here’s a young man who is not 13 years old, guys. He’s actually 19,” Self said with a smile in introducing Moore to Self’s parent/child campers last Friday. “Charlie played at Cal last year in the Pac-12 and averaged 13 (points) a game. He has to sit out this year. He’ll be eligible next year (2018-19 season). It’s going to be perfect timing for him when obviously Devonté (Graham, senior) and Malik (Newman, sophomore with NBA aspirations) will probably both be gone.”
Playing time should definitely be available for Moore, who just might be a three-year starter at the point for the Jayhawks.
“Like you said, a lot of people are leaving (after upcoming season), but if they don’t leave I’m just looking to learn under those guys — Malik, Devonté, Lagerald Vick (junior). I’m here to have fun, happy to be here at a new destination. I’m just looking to get better,” Moore said.
As far as Self joking about his age, it’s nothing new, Moore said with a grin.
“Oh man, everybody teases me. That was funny. He was playing, so I didn’t take it serious or anything like that,” Moore said.
Kidding aside, Moore has a chance to be special, both Self and Collins said.
“We think after a year sitting out that he’ll be much like Malik Newman will be for us this year, ready to make a serious contribution to our program,” Self said.
“He’s a humble kid, a quiet kid, a great kid. I told him it’d be a great fit (at KU). He’s a natural scorer,” Collins said of Moore, who scored a career-high 38 points against UC Irvine last Nov 16. “He can run a team, do a lot of things. I’m looking forward to watching him play.”
Another Morgan Park player considers KU
Ayo Dosunmu, a 6-4 senior-to-be combo guard from Moore’s alma mater, Chicago Morgan Park High School, has received a scholarship offer from KU, Dosunmu has reported on Twitter.
“Blessed and grateful to say I received an offer today from The University of Kansas. #RockChalk #WhyNotMe,” Dosunmo tweeted on Friday.
He also is a Chicago Mac Irvin Fire AAU teammate of KU commit Markese Jacobs, a 5-11 junior-to-be point guard who will attend Phoenix’s Hillcrest Prep this season after playing at Uplift Community High in Chicago last season.
Dosunmu, who is ranked No. 29 in the recruiting Class of 2018 by Rivals.com, told the Chicago Sun Times he is considering KU, Illinois, Butler, Xavier, North Carolina State, Creighton, Northwestern and others.
“When you talk about a kid being a ‘ballplayer,’ that’s what he is,” Morgan Park coach Nick Irvin told the Sun Times. “He’s a point guard with great size who sees the floor and makes plays off the dribble. He’s just one of those smooth, big point guards in the mold of a Jason Kidd or Gary Payton.”