The stories continue to flow with young Kiwi basketballers attracting scholarships to play in the near-professional environment of Division 1 basketball. One of those young players is James Moors, who has signed for Drake University.
Moors was approached by no less than ten Division 1 universities based in the US. The Iowa based Drake University won out with an offer of a full-ride four-year scholarship.
The scholarship is worth around NZD$400,000 and covers tuition, room and board, study books, cost of attendance, all the gear and a trip abroad when the team goes on tour.
“I chose Drake because it was the best overall fit for me basketball-wise and academically, and I believe they provide me with the best opportunity to go to the NBA. The relationship with the coaches is very special. They wanted me more than all the other schools and I really value that. I believe in them and they believe in me, they have a great plan for my success there.
Moors said the fact that Drake Bulldogs’ Assistant Coach, Ali Farokhmanesh, coached “a fellow Westlaker” and Tall Black Tai Webster at Nebraska University, was a big factor in his decision making.
“Coach Ali helped Tai go onto great things and Tai even reached out to my coaches recommending I choose Drake. The feeling clicked on my visit and my mum and I knew it was a great fit for me.
“I visited Portland, San Francisco, and Drake. Drake was my third visit and we got a gut feeling about it. There were so many good things about the basketball team, school and campus.
“Coach Ali contacted me first, he saw my highlight tape from Custom College Recruiting and then Tai Webster reached out to him and told him about me. Coach Ali started recruiting me around June, and him and the whole coaching staff came to see me play in LA for the double pump tournament and then in Las Vegas for the Fab 48 tournament.”
Moors has come a long way since first playing basketball in Year Four for his Willow Park Primary School team. It wasn’t long before he found his way to the Harbour Basketball Association and he’s been playing there ever since, but his success is something he doesn’t consider a solo effort.
“I want to thank my Mum. She has been a solo parent my whole High School life and has done an amazing job looking after my five younger siblings and I.
“I also want to thank my Dad. His financial aid has given me the opportunity to play overseas and get the exposure I needed. I’d like to thank the rest of my family and friends for pushing me to get to this level and always having my back. My coaches Zac, Morgan, Kevin, Mike and everyone else who has helped develop me on and off the court over the years. I’d also like to thank Custom College Recruiting for all the exposure they gave me, Harbour Basketball for the endless opportunities I have been given and Westlake for everything academically, basketball wise, and the brotherhood I have and will always be a part of.”
Moors says he has always loved basketball for as long as he can remember, and says it’s that love and drive to achieve his goals that has helped make it to this level.
“In Year 11, when I didn't even make the top 40 players in the country for the New Zealand Under 16 team trial, I was heartbroken and wanted to prove everyone wrong. From that moment I set some massive goals for myself: win the U17 National Title and MVP, make the New Zealand U18 team, the New Zealand U18 3x3 team, make the Nike All Asia and Adidas Nations camps, and get a Division 1 scholarship.”
Now that contract has been signed with Drake, Moors has achieved all of those goals. And while basketball remains his ultimate ambition, with his sights set firmly on the NBA, he also says his academic goals are close behind.
“I hope to gain a degree that will set me up for life after basketball, perhaps studying some form of business. It was good to find out Drake is a private school with caps of a 1-18 teacher-student ratio, and their degrees are one of the top in the country, being internationally recognized. And I hope to develop into the best basketball player I can be, in preparation for the NBA.”
To keep up with James Moors adventures, follow him on instagram @james_moors.
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