Khalid Moore sat down in the chair in Mike McCleary’s office a few weeks ago, crossed his legs and had a conversation that he’s certain is going to change his entire basketball season.
The Archbishop Molloy junior hadn’t been playing well.
He’d come into the year with sky-high expectations, but the Stanners’ roster is full of stars and Moore was finding it difficult to carve out a spot for himself.
So Moore sat in McCleary’s office, working with his coach to figure out what was going wrong. It didn’t take long to come up with an answer – he wasn’t being aggressive enough.
“[Coach McCleary] was talking about how he knew I was a talented player, but I wasn’t really playing up to it,” Moore said. “I just need to have confidence in my game, never put my head down and keep playing aggressive.”
Moore has never lacked for confidence. He drives the lane without even considering the opposing defenders, thrives on the physicality of the game and does his best to sink a basket even with a hand in his face. But over the early stretch of the season, the shooting guard struggled to get to the rim, particularly when teammates like Cole Anthony and Moses Brown were responsible for most of the Stanners’ offensive production.
So, Moore switched up his game a bit. He still wants to score – he’s averaging just under 10 points a game – but he has also started focusing on the little things, the hustle plays that keep possessions alive and, most importantly, help Molloy rack up victories.
“Cole and Moses are a big part of the team, but I think I can have an impact on the team, too. I’m not really focused on the scoring,” Moore said. “I know that will happen eventually. I’m more focused on playing hard, playing defense and getting rebounds. Anything I can to help my team win.”
Moore saw a difference in his play when Molloy notched a come-from-behind 78-67 victory over rival Christ the King Jan. 6. He didn’t lead the team in scoring, but he made key plays down the stretch and fell into a shooting rhythm he hadn’t seen all season.
It was enough to boost that confidence and prove the conversation with McCleary was worth it.
“The Christ the King game, I was just trying to play aggressive and keep attacking,” Moore said. “Even if I wasn’t scoring or anything, I wanted to play aggressive. I knew I had a good game and that got my confidence back up.”
Moore drew interest from the likes of Miami, VCU and Syracuse over the summer, but right now he’s most proud of his ability to weather the metaphorical bumps in the high-school hoops road. He’s back on track and Moore knows what the Stanners are capable of moving forward.
He also knows what he can do and is confident he can help lead this team to a city championship.
“I’ve been playing good for the last few games and I think I’ve set the tone for how I need to play for the rest of the season,” Moore said. “We’ve put our name out there and we’re that team to beat.”
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