Duke Basketball: Tourney record in sight for 2019 signee Wendell Moore

Duke basketball mascot (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Duke basketball mascot (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

Although his team is out of contention to win the Beach Ball Classic, the numbers that Duke basketball signee Wendell Moore has put up this week on the Grand Strand have offered further proof that he’s likely underrated.

Whether or not Wendell Moore scores 52 points during his Cox Mill High School’s fifth-place game at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, a Duke basketball player — either a past one or a future one — will hold the Beach Ball Classic’s four-game scoring record.

That’s impressive considering the list of studs who have appeared in Myrtle Beach’s annual high school basketball tournament, which started in 1981 and always falls the week between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Kobe Bryant. Kevin Garnett. Grayson Allen. R.J. Barrett. Name a great player over the past four decades, and there’s a solid chance he played in the event.

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As it stands, the record to beat is 147 points, set in 2014 by a then-senior in high school named Luke Kennard. The 6-foot-5, 205-pound sharpshooter from Ohio, who played for the Blue Devils for two seasons before bolting to the NBA in 2017, scored 52 points during a semifinal game (at the time that was the most in a single game at the event) on his way to the four-game record.

And 52 just so happens to be the number of points that Moore needs to put up on New Year’s Eve in order to break Kennard’s mark. He needs 24 points to hold down second place behind Kennard and just nine to move into the top 10, according to a tweet from a local writer named Ian Guerin.

The 6-foot-6, 215-pound small forward out of Concord, N.C., who in October became the first 2019 recruit to commit to Duke, scored 35 during his team’s first game. He followed that up with 23 during a loss two days later (the first loss for Cox Mill since the Beach Ball Classic a year ago) that moved his team into the consolation bracket. And he had 38 points on Saturday.

Moore has not jacked up a bunch of shots to reach those totals, though. He is a combined 31-for-57 from the field, 4-for-11 from beyond the arc, and an impressive 30-for-36 from the charity stripe.

Plus, he has collected a total of 39 rebounds and averaged two steals per game.

In other words, Moore, an all-around gifted player, seems to deserve a ranking higher than No. 24 on the 247Sports Composite.

In addition to Moore, Duke has commitments from five-star center Vernon Carey Jr. (ranked No. 2) and four-star combo guard Boogie Ellis (ranked No. 36).

The class ranks No. 6 at the moment, according to 247Sports.

And head coach Mike Krzyzewski and his staff have offers on the table to two other five-stars: center Isaiah Stewart (ranked No. 6), who could decide on a college at any time, and power forward Matthew Hurt (ranked No. 7), who won’t likely make up his mind until spring.

If either Stewart or Hurt decides to pursue their collegiate endeavors in Durham, the Blue Devils would likely end up with the top recruiting class in the nation for the fourth consecutive year.

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