Freshman Focus: Clifton Moore

  • 08/31/2017 7:56 am in

“Freshman Focus” is an Inside the Hall series on each of Indiana’s incoming freshmen. Over the next couple of days, we will take an in-depth look at each newcomers. Today: Clifton Moore.

The sleeper of Indiana’s 2017 recruiting class may end up being Clifton Moore.

The 6-foot-10, 200 pound forward out of suburban Philadelphia was a late bloomer, growing seven inches since his sophomore year.

“To see how Clifton grew, just as a guy, over those years, was just amazing,” said Jonathan Michels, the head coach of the AAU program Hoopdreamz, where Moore played since he was nine. “He was a kid that went from such a quiet, to himself guy, to becoming a man.”

Originally recruited by local mid-majors, Moore’s game evolved as his body grew. Soon, Northwestern, Indiana, Ole Miss and Boston College came calling with scholarship offers. Yet, even as his profile increased, his drive never wavered.

“(Clifton’s) just a guy that shows up every day,” Michels said. “He’s a kid who passed up home visits with college coaches because we had practice. Me, I nearly killed him for doing it, but our guys looked at it as just coming to work every day.”

When he visited IU in October of 2016, he enjoyed his visit so much that he committed before he boarded his flight home. Moore recommitted in April after meeting with Archie Miller.

“When we met with Archie, it was a very sincere feeling,” Michels said. “You didn’t feel like you were getting sold. You just felt like what he was selling you was legitimate.”

IU assistant coach Bruiser Flint was also at the meeting. Flint has strong ties to the Philadelphia area, which helped Moore feel comfortable recommitting to Indiana.

“I’ve known Bruiser for 30 years and (Clifton’s) dad knows Bruiser,” Michels said. “I don’t think for as well or as long as I have, but Philly is a very closely knit basketball community. If you’re involved in it, everybody kind of knows everybody, one way or the other.”

As a senior at Hatboro-Horsham High School, Moore showcased his ability to handle the ball, hit a variety of shots from both inside the paint and beyond the arc, and defend the rim. In the first round of district playoffs, Moore accrued a triple-double with 22 points, 13 rebounds and 10 blocked shots.

When Miller first commented publicly on Moore in May at Huber Farms, he noted his versatile skill set and wiry frame.

“(Clifton’s) got a frame that is going to grow,” Miller said. “He’s going to be what I would call a true versatile forward, in time, with his size combined with being able to shoot the 3 and some of the things he can do. I think, down the road, you’re going to see a guy kind of grow up right before your eyes.”

As for Moore’s ceiling?

Michels thinks Moore could one day play in the Association.

“Long term, I think Clifton’s got a chance of being an NBA player,” Moore said. “I think while he’s (at Indiana), everybody is going to kind of be surprised at how competitive he is. I think that gets minimized because he’s a bit of a suburban kid. I think you’re going to realize he’s very competitive, he’s a much tougher guy than people give him credit for and he’s an absolute work guy. He’ll work all day long if you allow him to. It’s what’s made him improve the way he’s improved.”

Filed to:

  • pcantidote

    To me he is the X factor for the season. If he can give us productive minutes in relief of DD then we might be pretty good. Unfortunately that might mean playing out of his comfort zone because my sense is that he isn’t comfortable playing or guarding the post. Something tells me he is going to be a pleasant surprise overall. Maybe he can be like another suburban tough guy with a similar body — Alan Henderson.

  • Ms hoosier

    Clifton is the one freshman that I’m the most intrigued to see play!! With his height and skills handling the ball and shooting the three if he can adjust to the speed and phisicallity of the college game he could be a nightmare for opposing defenses!!

  • N71

    Alan Henderson is an interesting comparison. I’m not expecting too much of Al during this first year, he’ll probably take the typical freshman path and play more as he gets older. Justin on the other hand I think may end up playing quite a bit. For Clifton I have zero idea, he’s quite a wild card, or X factor as you say. If he’s only 200 pounds though, the Big Ten part of our schedule will be bruising. Has anyone heard if he’s put on some weight and muscle beyond the 200 mark?

  • millzy32

    Durant would be a better comparison. Both body type and style of play. Just not anywhere near the level of Durant. He’s got potential to get better and better though so we shall see going forward. Will be interesting to see if he earns some minutes this season. Love to hear about ten blocked shots in a meaningful game.

  • We’reAllForYou82

    His length is something
    His work ethic and competitiveness sound great
    The reporter on the podcast brought up a good point. He said he likes his big men to have skills and then grow into their B1G physical frame. Race and Clifton should fit this.

    This is officially Archie’s first recruiting class. They may end up a real parting gift/ legacy from Crean too

  • SCHoosier

    Like the potential. Come conference time..Moore should be a contributor.

  • Arch Puddington

    I doubt if he provides any relief for DD at all. Even if he turns out to be much more productive as a freshman than his ranking would suggest, he has neither the body type nor (as you point out) the desire to play much in the low post. My own sense is that DD will be backed up by a committee of JM, CH, and possibly even TP. I saw TP guard TB in a scrimmage last year, and while that is obviously a pretty limited circumstance, he didn’t look completely overmatched. Between the three of them and the pack line defense, I think we can find the 15 or so minutes we will need most nights. CM seems likely to play sparingly, and mostly as stretch 4 or even a big 3.

  • TomEke

    Those early 2000’s teams were loaded with taller guys who could do a little bit of everything — Jared Jeffries, Kirk Haston, Jeff Newton, & George Leach all come to mind. I’d take any of them, but I was going to say Jeffries out of the group because he I thought he is the lankiest but also the best outside shooter and most athletic (That triple double with blocks stat line really jumped off the page for me). However, maybe that is too high of praise. In my mind, Alan Henderson is bigger than Jeffries (and maybe Moore too), but google says it is closer than I thought with Alan at 6’9″ 235 and Jared at 6’11” 230. Alan Henderson is pretty high praise, but I’d love to see this guy put up those kind of stats.

  • TomEke

    I remember the fight TP put up against Swanigan last year. With how much effort he put up, it was really cool to see him score 6 points. I know he had 4 fouls in those 5 minutes, but you have to expect that from a player who only has 1 minute of play in the B1G that year before he was matched up against the B1G POTY. I’d love to see TP get more of a chance, and I’m glad to see others do too.

  • pcantidote

    Yeah, the Henderson comparison was about body type, not style of play for sure. Henderson just came to mind thinking about a tall wiry kid coming in and making an impact as a freshman. On video his style looks more like he is emulating Durant, which isn’t a bad style to copy with today’s NBA.

  • pcantidote

    Those 6 points were exactly like a backup QB putting up stats against a prevent defense. Similar to CM, TP is not a post player and if he is seeing the floor regularly we are in trouble.

  • Fivelefts

    I think CM will get plenty of playing time, because of his length, IQ and ability to handle the ball. He’s a smart kid! He’ll find a way to get on the court.. He was adamant about not being red shirted. That tells me, that he believes that he can contribute, and I think he will!

  • pcantidote

    I keep hearing about Arch’s defense but have to admit I haven’t really studied it. What are the tenets of the pack line?

  • TomEke

    Hate to say I’m too young to have remembered seeing Henderson playing short of youtube highlight reels.

  • Arch Puddington

    I’m new to it myself, so I won’t claim any detailed expertise. Having said that, the basics are pretty straightforward. It is a defense meant to really clog up the middle by having (and here I offer my amateur paraphrase) the four non-ball defenders sag off their men. They are taught to position themselves back towards the middle and/or into passing and driving lanes. The goal is to keep the middle as free of penetration and entry passes as possible. Not sure how that does against three point shooting, which is obviously the law of the land these days, but it will at least provide some cover for DD and whoever backs him up.

    Here is a really good explanation of the pack line defense, complete with charts:

    basketballforcoaches dot com/pack-line-defense/

  • inLinE6

    Did anybody try to redshirt him?

  • inLinE6

    CAM himself was a lightout shooter, so I hope he has good ideas on how to defend 3s with pack line. LOL.

  • Steve Morgan

    Lots of talk here about him CM playing the post, but we really just need him to defend the post/rim. Gotta assume if he is on the court, Archie isn’t going to leave him on an island- he’ll be in with JM or CH to have his back. If the collective group can keep the bigs out of the middle and off the glass, his length could really help if slashers come down the lane. And TomEke, I agree, that’s where that 10 block triple-double looks mighty fine.

  • sd chuck

    I think this kid turned heads in the Jordan brand game, shows that he can compete against some good players. 6’10”, can put the ball on the floor, shoot the three! Kinda what everybody is looking for! I think this team is being undersold based on last years performance. Let’s see what this team coached by Archie, look like this year!

  • IdahoHoosier

    Totally agree that TP can/should be serviceable this year. Yes he has to cut down on the fouls, but when given opportunities TP did exactly what you’d hope (regardless of who he played against or in what game situation). He grabbed boards, set picks, hit bunnies, and hustled. Guy knows his role and will be needed.

  • KelvinSampson87

    I have always found the comments his coaches make about him being underestimated because he is a “suburban kid”. I assume this means he is shy and not as physical as he could be. Yogi Ferrell and Bill Lambeer are the two players that come to mind as suburban wealthy kids with a natural physical and aggressive game and I know there are 100s more examples like this.

    Hopefully he will grow into himself mentally and physically at IU but I would be very surprised if this growth occurs during his 1st season.

  • pcantidote

    Thanks. It sure would be refreshing to not have a parade of dribble penetration layups like we’ve seen for the last 9 years. That was my biggest issue with Crean’s coaching.

  • Don’t forget Freddie Mc. He’s only 6′ 6″ but a real load around the basket.

  • Arch Puddington

    Me, too. As my wife could attest, when we watched the games on TV, I would routinely hit the pause button and show her that as many as four of our defenders were routinely out of position. The more I read about the pack line defense, the more I think CTC was trying to run some version of it, but failing. Our off-ball defenders were constantly in no-man’s land, neither sagging aggressively enough to stop penetration nor guarding players on the perimeter closely enough to close out on shooters. I’ll be interested to learn more about this defense and how it works. Kenpom says that the among the #1 indicators of good defense is how few 3 point shots a team allows. I wonder how the pack line does at that.

  • This is the kid I’m most excited about. Reminds me of jarod Jefferies.

  • marcusgresham

    I think it would be difficult numbers-wise to have two redshirt guys in the same season (unless it’s for medical reasons and can’t be avoided.)

  • marcusgresham

    The Marble Lord of the Board

  • marcusgresham

    I get the feeling Moore is a Euro-style player. Any time I see a guy with that height who shoots threes my initial go-to comparison is Steve Novak, but I think Clifton has more ball-handling skills and gets closer to the basket with more regularity.

  • AndyCapp

    Interesting that Kenpom says that because I remember pretty distinctly getting beat OVER and OVER again by dribble penetration or shots around the paint. Of course, you did say among the indicators, not the biggest indicator.

  • Kyl470

    You heard it here first on 8/31/17. Clifton Moore will either be the next Kevin Durant (best case) or DerMarr Johnson (worst case).

  • sarge

    Great comparison, love JJ. Def has the build JJ had in high school.

  • sarge

    Watch the Indiana at Michigan game with the fab five. Henderson (probably my favorite all time along with Cheaney) had the block on Webber for the win!

  • iugradmark

    I believe it was reported that when he was being re-recruited by Archie, he wanted assurances that he would not be asked to redshirt. Actually, with our limited bigs, he could get a fair amount of playing time. I agree that he will not be a back to the basket type 5 on offense but not sure that is needed in Archie’s offense. Lots of high screens and rolls to the basket which I think he can do. On defense, his wingspan can be effective even if he hasn’t filled out yet.

  • Justin Beard

    Come on November! Hurry up..

  • dwdkc

    I wonder if CM will be the parting gift from Crean that we really end up appreciating. He seems to have the potential of being the next OG/Vic–a guy who came out of nowhere (in terms of high school hype and rankings) to be something really special. I expect him to be a bit overmatched by the physicality and intensity of the college game for awhile, but you can’t coach that length and apparently the skills are pretty impressive too.

  • INexpat2001

    That’s funny. I don’t remember Leach doing a little bit of anything, let alone everything.

  • BottomLine

    The principals here are very similar to the principals that Bob Knight used with his man-to-man defense. Ball side ball pressure and weak side sag. Help and recover in closing out dribble penetration. While everyone always makes so much of Knight’s man-to-man it was actually much closer to a match-up zone. Coached for 18 years and primarily used drills that I stole from Knight to teach defense. Sure looks an awful lot like the defense that I used to run. In other words this is really not anything new. The weak point is closing out on the 3 point shooter. If the other team gets hot from the outside you can be in major trouble. On the other had they aren’t going to beat you with dribble penetration and second shots.

  • We’reAllForYou82

    His length will come in handy on defense too and he is a willing defender, if Clif has bulked him up just enough

  • Dialogos68

    Moore sounds like a stretch four…. Still think IU needs to recruit a five who wants to play with his back to the rim. DD is our only five.

  • ScoopGeoff

    Not bad… Channing Frey…

  • Jay Skibbe

    NOT MANY TRUE FIVES IN COLLEGE ANYMORE, THE GOOD ONES IN COLLEGE ONE YEAR AND GONE !!!

  • bleeding crimson

    I love your enthusiasm, your glass is definitely over half full. If these two recruits are as good as you think, we will have a very nice bench and maybe a change in the starting line up. I can’t wait for the season to start. We just may be in the top 3 of the B1G, still think we got screwed the B1G schedule.

  • bleeding crimson

    I really didn’t know much about Arch’s game sytle either but he has a system for both offense and defense. His offensive approach has been called “one of the most complete transition offensive systems out there”. But what I like the most is that he already has an identity of his teams that are known for their defense.
    He employs a “pack line defense,” which is a variation of man to man def. Instead of the off-ball defenders pressuring their player and denying the pass, everyone except the player guarding the ball must be inside an imaginary line 16 ft from the rim. At all times a defender pressures the player with the ball, while the other 4 defenders play in gap/help positions. But if the offensive player picks up the dribble, all players go out and deny looking for the steal. His pack line defense is intended to discourage penetration, or getting in the paint, and forces opponents to win with a well executed offense and or good outside shooting.
    I’ve watched several of his video’s of his camps and they are very impressive.

  • bleeding crimson

    I think the biggest problem that upset me the most was the fact that we weren’t looking to pass to the post 1st or at any point on offense, and if we weren’t penetrating we were just dribbling around the 3 pt line. I don’t know how many times the clock would run down beyond 10 sec before we would even think about doing either.

  • Poppyseed

    Has the look and style of Jared Jeffries 2.0

  • Mr. Shep-dizzle

    Thank you. That was very informative.

  • Outoftheloop

    I love Clifton’s size, length, personality, skill-set, and quiet determination. He is a recruiting steal!

  • Outoftheloop

    And adamant about not playing as a 5. Coach Archie lives by his word!

  • Outoftheloop

    Sub in McFly for DeRon with Clifton for someone else (Juwan). No Big in the B1G will enjoy trading blows with McFly! And with the space opened up, Clifton can grab the rebounds and put them back up or start the break, as the case may be.

  • Outoftheloop

    Exactly my post above!