TERRE HAUTE —
Wichita State forward Carl Hall tormented the Missouri Valley Conference from 2011-13. Hall transferred to Wichita State from Northwest Florida State College, a junior college power.
When ISU had a scholarship open in the season? The Sycamores went after Hall’s protégé.
ISU signed 6-foot-8 junior college forward Demetrius Moore on Thursday. He visited ISU’s campus and signed immediately.
“When I first got here, I liked it, and they made me feel like it was home, both academically and basketball-wise,” said Moore via phone on Thursday.
Moore’s path to ISU was long and hard.
Moore, a native of Paxton, Fla., played at Northwest Florida from 2010-12. He was a teammate of Hall’s during the 2010-11 season and was part of Northwest Florida’s NJCAA runner-up team in 2012 that finished 32-2. Moore averaged 7.7 points and 5.5 rebounds for a balanced squad.
“He was an integral part of getting to the national championship. He did a good job of scoring and rebounding when he got his chance. The team he played on was very balanced so his numbers don’t jump out. He played on a team where there were a lot of weapons,” Northwest Florida coach Steve Forbes said.
Then the road to a Division I opportunity became more difficult. He originally committed to Louisiana Tech in 2012, but the Bulldogs offered too many scholarships and Moore was left out of their plans.
He then committed to play at Troy, a Sun Belt Conference team. But shortly after Moore committed, Troy replaced its coaching staff. The new coaching staff decided to go a different direction and Moore was left in the cold again.
Rather than try to find a third school on short notice, Moore elected to sit out the 2012-13 season to see what opportunities might arise for 2013-14.
“I tried not to think about [his travails]. I tried to treat last year like it was a kind of redshirt season,” Moore said. “It is what it is. I’m glad I found a home. I’m excited I found a place that wanted me.”
Moore’s re-recruitment flew under the radar. ISU coach Greg Lansing and Forbes are both Iowa natives and have known each other a long time.
However, Lansing gave credit to ISU Associate Head Coach Lou Gudino for getting Moore into ISU’s fold.
“Lou deserves all of the credit for this one. He went down to Northwest Florida and got it done for us. Nobody really knew he was available. If people knew, he’d have had 50 scholarships offered. Everyone in the country is looking for big guys and point guards. For us to get Demetrius into the fold is a heckuva accomplishment,” Lansing said.
Moore will step in and immediately fill the hole left when R.J. Mahurin left the program.
“We felt that R.J. and Justin [Gant] were similar and when we started looking, we wanted someone a little different from Justin. We feel we accomplished that,” Lansing said. “Demetrius is a little different. He’s a 6-foot-8 power forward who is 225 pounds with a seven-foot wingspan. He’s hardly lifted at all, so he’ll fill out quickly.”
Lansing and Forbes both noted that Moore passes the ball well out of the post and that it’s well-suited to ISU’s motion offense.
As for Hall, Moore watched Wichita State’s Final Four run with interest given the respect he had for Hall as a teammate.
“He’s like my older brother. He took me under his wing,” Moore said. “I think with the players we have [at ISU], we can do the same thing his team did this to get to the Final Four.”
n Samuels surgery — Lansing also said that ISU center Mike Samuels has suffered a setback in his recovery from a broken foot.
Samuels will have his second surgery done on his foot on Monday.
“He happened to break a bone [navicular bone] that doesn’t heal well on its own. Even with the screws put in there from his first surgery, he’s a big guy, and it’s a sensitive area near his arch,” Lansing said.
Lansing said Samuels will have a bone taken from his knee and put into his foot. The recovery process will keep Samuels out of action until January.
Samuels sat out the entire 2012-13 season after he broke the foot on ISU’s August Bahamas trip. He has not played a game for the Sycamores since he was signed from Wabash Valley College.