Jordan Wells / TheHoosier.com
IU freshman forward Clifton Moore has yet to play a minute of college basketball, and already the expectations are fairly high when it comes to his potential.
Just recently, ESPN's Jonathan Givony released his 2019 NBA mock draft and projected Moore as the No. 24 overall pick - as a sophomore.
While Moore is not expected to play at that level right away, he will have some opportunities in his first year to showcase the type of player he'll be in the future according Indiana head coach Archie Miller.
"I feel as though Cliff, because of the way he works and is gifted athletically and talented, will show glimpses as a freshman of what he can be," Miller said. "My hope is that he can help us with multiple positions in the frontcourt with our depth, and I think that, as the season applies into January, February, March, you can see a guy really blossom into what we think is going to be a star here one day."
Earning those opportunities starts with adjusting to the physicality of the college game.
When Moore arrived in Bloomington over the summer, he measured in at 6-foot-10 and 200 pounds. He had mostly played the shooting guard and small forward positions early in his high school career, but a late growth spurt positioned him to become a lanky stretch-four in college with a 7-foot-2 wingspan.
Moore hadn't had the chance to spend much time in the weight room because of the growth spurt, according to his high school coach Ed Enoch. However, Miller said Moore has already added 14 pounds to his frame.
"Well, coming in, in high school I played wing," Moore said. "Archie wants me to play more in the post, using my strength and my length. So adding those pounds really helped me over the past couple months, and I've really been able to continue to get better and be more effective there."
Moore's effectiveness and playing time in the post will also be dictated by improving his coordination, something which was also affected by his growth spurt.
"Sometimes I like trip and stuff," Moore said.
Although there are a couple different areas where Moore will need development, he won't have to worry about fitting into the system when he does get playing time this season.
Moore said Miller plans to play him primarily in the post, but Miller's scheme will also allow him to branch out and play further away from the basket like he did under Enoch at Hatboro (Pa.) Hatboro-Horsham Senior High School.
"In practice, I'm usually around blocking the paint, but I'd say my strength would be on the perimeter or like in the midrange area," Moore said. "And with Archie's system, you can do a variety of different things, and I see myself playing all over the place."
One thing that will help Moore along the way is his coachability.
During the team's local media day in late September, IU junior forward Juwan Morgan specifically praised Morgan for his willingness to learn.
"Every time something goes wrong, he's never just putting his head down, he's asking what he can do to change that," Morgan said. "I remember like the first couple times when we went at it, I just posted him up right away. He thought we were just doing a drill, and then he learned that you always have to be ready at any time."
Having that flexibility is a good thing.
"From a basketball standpoint, I'd say the biggest change would be learning the system and how Archie wants me to play it," Moore said. "Because in high school I had free range to do whatever I want, but with Archie's organized system, I just have to learn where to be in the right place and how to run it correctly."
Moore still has a ways to go before he earns that level of freedom, if any, within Miller's system.
Still, Miller is confident in his potential. Moore just has to continue to adapt.
"From a conditioning level, from a mobility standpoint, he's as gifted as any player I've ever been around, and I think that speaks volumes," Miller said. "His length is something that you can't really judge offensively and defensively in terms of being able to make some plays. So he's got great attributes that he can be good, but he's got to learn the college game like every young guy does."
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