Ben Moore recorded what Bolingbrook (Ill.) High School boys basketball head coach Rob Brost believes is the only triple-double in school history last year against Springfield Lanphier (Ill.) High School and Class of 2014 recruit Larry Austin Jr.
The 6-foot-8-inch, 185-pound senior forward — whose recruitment has skyrocketed since last winter's game against the Lions and who is in Champaign-Urbana this weekend for an official visit at Illinois — eclipsed the double-digit mark in points (17) and rebounds (14) against Lanphier last season. The third category usually reserved for triple-doubles is assists. But Moore's 11 blocks in that game sealed the unlikely triple-double.
Unlikely is a good way to describe the three schools still in the mix for Moore, a 3.0 student who scored a 24 on his ACT. Along with Illinois, Colorado State and Southern Methodist are what it has boiled down to for Moore.
Moore canceled a visit he had set up with Missouri this weekend to visit Champaign-Urbana. Illinois head coach John Groce already has four commits for the Class of 2013, but even with the Illini nearing its full limit of scholarships, Brost said he doesn't think that had anything to do with Moore moving up his planned visit to Illinois by a few weeks.
"It's more so that it was just getting overwhelming," Brost said of his three-year varsity contributor who has received more than 20 offers, including ones from Missouri and Minnesota, with Indiana and Northwestern expressing interest as well. "At a certain point, you've got to stop allowing new schools in and really concentrate on what's important to you. You name a school in the Midwest, and they've been in to see him."
Ten, five, heck, even two years ago, most Illinois fans would have laughed knowing they were competing with Colorado State and SMU for a player like Moore. But Colorado State is coming off the program's first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2003 and has a head coach — Larry Eustachy's about to start his first season with the Rams — that generates name recognition.
The same goes for SMU. The private school in Dallas hasn't won an NCAA Tournament game since 1988 and hasn't appeared in the NCAA Tournament since 1993, but with the hiring of coaching legend Larry Brown last spring and the school's upcoming move to the Big East Conference next year have changed that perception.
Brost said once SMU — which you would expect to take a more active role in pursuing Illinois high school players with former Illinois assistant coach Jerrance Howard and former Illinois State head coach Tim Jankovich on Brown's staff — offered Moore, that got the attention of other schools to visit Bolingbrook.
"The three schools that he has left, the coaching staffs have done a great job from all three," Brost said. "Obviously, it's a little bit different than the typical kid because otherwise the final three would be Missouri, Minnesota and Indiana. The coaches that have been with him the longest and where he feels like it could be a good fit, those are the ones that are left."
Brost said Moore was attracting interest at the end of his junior season mostly from mid-majors. His play this summer on the AAU circuit with the Derrick Rose All-Stars also peaked interest in him.
"That got people to our open gyms," Brost said. "This fall, he has just played really, really well at our open gyms. There's nobody that's come by and sees him play and says, 'No, well, we don't really want him.' That has never happened. I've never seen it like this. Usually when coaches come in you're like, 'Well, I hope they play well.' Ben always plays well."
Illinois assistant coach Paris Parham is the lead recruiter on Moore, and first started keeping tabs on him when Parham was an assistant at Illinois State before he was hired at Illinois in late June. Parham has been a constant presence at Bolingbrook's open gyms this fall, Brost said, and Groce has visited Bolingbrook twice.
"He thinks Coach Groce has a lot of energy and enthusiasm," Brost said. "He thinks that they're headed in the right direction."
Even with that said, Brost said he does not think Moore will make a decision on where he's heading to play college basketball this weekend.
"My guess is — and this is just a guess on my part — is he'll come back from the visit and really sit down with his parents," Brost said. "They'll ook at the pros and cons of every place, see where they're at and go from there."
Moore averaged 18 points, eight rebounds and four blocks last year for the Raiders, who also feature a Class of 2015 potential Illinois recruiting target in sophomore combo guard Prentiss Nixon. Brost said Nixon has taken unofficial visits to Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and Illinois and is planning to be at Marquette's Midnight Madness event this weekend.
But the immediate recruiting target for Illinois out of Bolingbrook is Moore, who could add not only size to Illinois' Class of 2013, but also another common buzz word from Groce during Illinois' media day on Wednesday: ball handling.
"He's one of my best ball handlers right now," Brost said. "That's what really sets him apart from other kids of his size is he can put it on the floor and really get anywhere he wants. You cannot find kids with his size that can do what he can do. That's what people are realizing."