Yesterday, in the third part of the UTEP media days, we got a chance to catch up with 6'6 sophomore PG McKenzie Moore. While Moore admits that he's still got plenty of room for improvement, the Miners undoubtedly snagged another extremely talented player that adds a whole new dynamic to this team.
The Miners seem to be set with a starting PG as lone scholarship senior Jacques Streeter will almost certainly keep his job for the season. But after that, things are kinda up in the air. Moore will not become eligible to play for the Miners until mid-December, per NCAA transfer rules, but many seem to think he'll be the PG of the future for this team.Moore enters with three years of eligibility remaining. Out of high school, the PG committed to play for St. Mary's University and Randy Bennett, but after some academic issues arose, Moore went the juco route for a year, before transferring to UTEP.
Interestingly enough, McKenzie has only been playing organized basketball for about three years. Even with that little experience under his belt, ESPN rated him as a 3 star prospect, with a recruiting grade of 90 coming out of high school. I think its safe to say this kid's best ball is still ahead of him.
And, once again, it seems like Tim Floyd has gotten his type of player: long, athletic, and smart, but most of all, hard working. Off the court, Moore has been hard at work, getting his grades in order. He is currently enrolled in summer school, and maintained a 3.0 GPA average last semester.
On the court, Moore is working just as hard. He's been in the gym constantly, working on his game, improving his shooting and handling, waiting for that opportunity to get back on the court. After all, he's been at UTEP since the Spring, and had to sit and watch his teammates go through the learning curve of 2012.
"It was a learning experience. I really wanted to play, I really wanted to get on the court. It was rough, but I knew that they were going through a learning experience too. We were young, and now we're just gonna try to work hard every day, keep competing and making each other better, and hopefully [this year] we'll have a good season"
It'll be interesting to see what McKenzie can add to this team. As mentioned before, its likely that Jacques Streeter will maintain his starting role at PG for the Miners, but Moore could also be a great asset. When asked about what he brings, he said:
"I'm a facilitator. I like to get my teammates involved, and just make everybody around me better, and just make everybody compete...I bring hard work. I'm gonna go out there and compete every day, and every time I step on the court I'm gonna try to make everybody else better."
Once again, I am impressed by another member of the 2012 class. McKenzie Moore is an amazing talent, with great size, and an even better desire to work and continue to improve himself, both on and off the court. It's going to be fun when all these pieces finally come together this fall. Can't wait.