Alright, I admit the title of this article is a bit deceiving because I believe that Danny Manning utilized Doral Moore close to perfectly the past two games, but I want to continue to see more of Moore!
Last Wednesday against North Carolina, and last night against Miami, Moore played two of the best games of his season when Wake Forest needed him to show up the most.
The games may not stick out a lot from a statistical standpoint, as he put up 2 points, 6 rebounds, 4 blocks in 12 minutes against UNC, and followed that up with 6 points, 3 rebounds, and a block last night in 12 more minutes against Miami, but those 12 minutes a game are pretty much exactly what Wake Forest needs right now.
Before these back-to-back 12 minute appearances, Moore played a total of 14 minutes in his previous four games, without much to show for his efforts. He got some run early on in the year, but seemed to get stuck on the bench a fair amount when the competition stepped up.
It doesn't come as a surprise to anybody who has watched Wake Forest play basketball this season that John Collins has a reasonably high foul rate. That is a byproduct of still learning the college game, as well as his activity level on both sides of the floor. He struggled to stay on the floor during the early parts of the season, and finally seems to understand what it takes to remain on the floor for 25-30 minutes per game.
I am a huge proponent of getting Moore 10-12 minutes per game from here on out, basically with the thought process of “go as hard as you can, and if you foul out that’s ok”. It seems pretty clear that Moore is instructed to do three things: rebound, defend/block the ball, look for dunks/putbacks. He does these three things very, very well for short spurts of time.
Given how good Collins has been, Moore likely isn’t going to play much more than those 10-12 anyway, so he might as well go as hard as he can without worrying about fouling.
You may ask out loud, if Collins is learning how to stay on the floor, then why is it important for Doral Moore to be able to come in and give 10-12 minutes per game? That’s a great question, and I believe there are several things that Moore provides on the court that propels Wake Forest to a notch above where they are if he is not playing at all.
First of all, it allows Collins to get brief rests around television timeouts that maximizes the amount of time that he has to catch his breath with the least amount of actual game minutes missed. The past two games, Coach Manning has gotten into the habit of pulling Collins around the 13 minute/8 minute/5 minute mark and substituting Moore in during that time frame.
Since Collins is doing better with his fouls, or at least learning how to play effectively with foul trouble, this allows Coach Manning more flexibility as to when Moore comes in, and he can take advantage of opposing lineups instead of just playing him when he has to.
Playing Moore for those minutes also does a couple of things on the defensive side of the ball. It allows Coach Manning to go to a 2-3 zone, or a junk zone, with Moore anchoring the baseline as a rim protector. Moore is a very good shot blocker, and is learning how to go straight up and not bring his arms down. There were several instances last night that didn’t show up as a block, but Miami had their shots altered because they knew Moore was there.
The zone is important because it not only throws a different look at the opposing offense, but keeps Moore close to the basket where he is more effective, and less prone to getting fouls called on dumb screen hedges.
Anything aside from tip dunks, alley-oops, rebounds, and blocks is just gravy. While Moore does have a nice touch on his hook shot, the offense should not go through him as a low-post player like it does Collins. Moore is still a bit of a black hole when it comes to turnovers and missed shots inside, and he is more effective as a garbage man to clean everything up.
The good news is that opposing big men can’t just let Moore roam free, otherwise they risk giving up a backdoor alley-oop. They have to work just as hard to prevent him from getting close to the basket as they do Collins. This wears down the opposing big men and softens them up for when Collins or Dinos Mitoglou come in and can keep pounding down low.
These minutes that Moore can get as we keep going through ACC play will also continue to help him develop and become a better post-player offensively as well. This is great for long-term success and another threat down low to pair with Collins off and on.
Overall, Wake Forest is a much better team when Doral Moore is getting these minutes, and despite a lot of the arguing about Coach Manning’s substitution patterns, I trust him when it comes to developing big men and getting the most out of them.
He is going to keep making mistakes, commit a lot of fouls, and there are games where he is not a good fit, but continuing to play him through these is going to make him a better overall player.
Saturday is a big opportunity for Moore to come out and have a game like he did last year against N.C. State. Beejay Anya and Omer Yurtseven haven’t fared that well against big front courts this year, and I think it is the perfect time for Collins and Moore to come in and dominate to get a big road win.