Illinois State transfer Nic Moore has made up his mind about where he is headed next. The 5’9″ point guard is headed south to play for the SMU Mustangs. Even though Moore seemed determined to play for a big program in the Midwest, the opportunity to play for former ISU coach Tim Jankovich again was too enticing.
Moore averaged 10.0 points per game in his only season in Normal, which was good for 3rd best on the team. He shined as the team’s starting point guard, dishing out 3.8 assists per game (5th best in the Missouri Valley). The Redbirds made a surprising run in the MVC tournament, beating top-15 ranked Wichita State in the semifinal to face Creighton in the title. Moore scored 20 points in that title game, which was somewhat of a coming out party for the freshman. He followed that up with 24 and 25 point performances in the NIT to go out on a hot streak.
After Jankovich left the team in the offseason to take the associated head coach (“head coach in waiting”) position at SMU, Moore decided that it was time to take his talents to a bigger league. Back in May, the Sporting News reported that Moore had narrowed his list down to Illinois, Purdue and Notre Dame. He was also quoted in that article as wanting to join a BCS program.
Even though SMU is currently in Conference USA, the Mustangs are moving to the Big East effective 2013. Due to NCAA transfer rules, 2013-14 would be Moore’s first eligible season of three. Larry Brown has made SMU a transfer haven in his first months on the job. Moore joins former Arizona Wildcat Josiah Turner and former Illinois Fighting Illini Crandall Head. Both Turner and Head were top 100 high school prospects, with Rivals.com ranking Turner as #11 overall in the 2011 class. Former Illini assistant coach Jerrance Howard is also on the staff at SMU.
Moore came into college as an under-recruited prospect. A native of Warsaw, Indiana, he was runner-up to Hoosier star Cody Zeller for the state’s Mr. Basketball award. But, due to his size, he was overlooked by the bigger programs in the area. Now he will have a chance to show what he’s made of on the Big East stage. The move also says a lot about his relationship with Jankovich and perhaps the clout of a head coach like Larry Brown, as Moore passed up on the local powers to go a thousand miles southwest to Dallas, Texas.