CONCORD – The defining moment of Wendell Moore Jr.’s basketball life is mere hours away.
Tonight, the former Cox Mill star is expected to be chosen in the first round of the NBA draft. Most scouting services have Moore, who declared for the draft with one year of eligibility remaining at Duke, projected as a late first-round pick.
The draft is set for 8 p.m. at New York’s Barclays Center and will be broadcast live on ESPN and ABC.
While local athletes have been selected in the NFL and Major League Baseball drafts, Moore will be the first player from Cabarrus County to ever be chosen in the NBA draft.
Moore became a coveted draft prospect following a strong junior season for the Blue Devils, during which he helped them reach the Final Four, made Second-Team All-ACC and won the Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award while averaging 13.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.4 assists, and 1.4 steals per game.
Since the college season ended, however, Moore has been putting in the most intense work of his basketball-focused life.
People are also reading…
Moore has spent the last several months in Miami, working with the renowned Stanley Remy, who’s a bit of a Basketball Trainer to the Stars. Over the years, Remy’s roster has featured the likes of former NBA superstar Dwyane Wade along with some of the league’s biggest current names: Devin Booker, Donovan Mitchell, Tyler Herro, Paul George, John Wall and Khris Middleton.
Moore has been holding his own during the workouts with Remy and improving daily, according to Moore’s agent, Josh Hairston, who works with former NBA player Mike Miller’s LIFT Sports Management.
“He’s doing really, really well,” Hairston told the Independent Tribune. “He’s been working out probably three times a day. He does two basketball workouts a day and one strength-and-conditioning workout. He’s been doing great.
“He’s been locked in, getting himself ready for Thursday, and then obviously beyond Thursday, once we hear his name called and we know where he’s going. He’s just trying to be as prepared as possible.”
Between workout sessions with Remy, along with other players he’s training with in preparation for tonight’s draft, Moore’s made trips to work out for NBA teams. Among them: his hometown Charlotte Hornets, along with the Atlanta Hawks and Denver Nuggets, according to USA Today.
While Moore could’ve chosen to train for the draft in the familiar confines of Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium or other places in the country, Hairston – who affectionately refers to Moore as “Dell” from time to time – said the South Beach setting was where Moore felt most comfortable getting ready for what it would take to play in the NBA, particularly because he already had history with Remy.
“It was Wendell’s choice,” Hairston said. “There’s a specific trainer down there that he really likes that he was actually training with before, during his junior year at Duke, where Dell obviously had an unbelievable year this past season. So I think Dell wanted to duplicate that. He’s comfortable with (Remy), and he’s really good. It was just a good mixture of college and pro guys that Dell was able to work with this summer, guys that are also going through the process like he is.
“Also, the location isn’t bad. Who doesn’t want to be down in Miami in the summertime?”
But Moore hasn’t spent his time recklessly, strolling the beach or sipping fruity drinks with little umbrellas. That was one of the things that attracted Hairston to taking on Moore as a client: He knows he’s about his business.
Hairston, who is relatively new in the sports agency field, first became familiar with Moore because they have something in common: They both played at Duke under legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski.
From that similar experience, along with seeing Moore up close over the past few years, Hairston knew he wanted to lock Moore up. Hairston has only become more impressed since their union became official.
“Dell and are automatically connected in that way, through the brotherhood and Coach K and going through the same fires,” said Hairston, who was with Duke from 2010-14.
“When I first decided that I wanted to be an agent, I knew that I always wanted to be super selective with the guys that I worked with,” he added. “I always wanted to have guys that would be low maintenance but also let me work and do my job, and I didn’t have to worry about them doing their job on a consistent basis. Wendell fits that mold. He’s a great young man who comes from a great family. His mother, Marie, and father, (Wendell) Sr., have been unbelievable through this process. They’ve entrusted me to take care of Wendell, and they’ve let me do my job.
“Wendell’s a dream client. Wendell is my FIRST client as an agent, which I’m very fortunate. With some guys in this agency space, it takes them years to sign guys and even longer to get a guy drafted. But for me, this is my first full year doing this, and being able to do it alongside Wendell is special.”
Now all that’s left are the formalities of draft day, and Hairston wants to make them as light as possible for Moore.
Hairston said Moore was scheduled to fly back to the Concord area on Wednesday to prepare for tonight’s draft. Hairston plans to be right by his side, along with Wendell Sr. and Marie and a select few invited guests.
Low-key yet special, nonetheless, just like Moore has been since the days he used to wow crowds at Cox Mill.
“He’ll be close with his family and friends,” Hairston said. “We’ll sit and watch and wait to hear his name, and then we’ll let him go out and enjoy himself. But I’m just glad he’ll be able to be around his family and friends.”