Note: Thanks to fellow BSD writer Adam Bridgers for the gifs in this article.
Wake Forest junior center Doral Moore had been described as having a lot of potential, but being very raw coming in as a freshman.
For many fans, after his sophomore season we began to wonder if Doral was a “bust” having come in as a four star recruit, but never really making an impact. After all, he always seemed lost in games, got winded quickly, exhibited little to no confidence, and never seemed to be able to play anywhere close to the level of fellow big man classmate John Collins.
However, prior to the beginning of this season, Danny Manning described Doral as having made the most progress he’s ever seen out of a player in the offseason-even more so than John Collins made prior to last season.
The below quotes come from an article from the Winston-Salem Journal from before the season:
“Doral has had his best offseason and summer and fall since he’s been here, so we’re expecting him to have a huge contribution,” Manning said.
Junior guard Keyshawn Woods also noticed the improvement. Woods said last week that he hadn’t seen a player improve from one offseason as much as Moore did.
The main motivation, Woods said, was seeing how Collins’ stock elevated from his freshman to sophomore seasons.
“That’s what it was. I think personally, that’s what it was. Having JC motivate Doral; even though they were really close, he motivated Doral,” Woods said. “Hopefully the rest of the world can see what we see every day.”
Perhaps playing behind Collins, and being roommates with him was one of the best things that could have happened to Moore. Moore still talks to Collins regularly, and gets advise from him on how to improve his game.
And of course learning under Danny Manning certainly doesn’t hurt either.
The most visible areas where Doral’s game has improved are his low post scoring, rebounding, conditioning, and ability to stay in the game without fouling.
Doral is now at 7-1, 280 pounds, and every inch of his body seems to be muscle. Much of this credit goes to his work ethic in the offseason with strength coach Ryan Horn.
Moore is averaging 21.8 minutes per game this season, but over the last two games has played 32 and 25 minutes respectively. While foul trouble was still an issue early in the season, Doral’s confidence seems to continue to grow, as he has learned to play without fouling, and seemingly no longer gets called for moving screens every time he steps out to help out a guard.
As the Deacs have experimented with a zone against Illinois and a little bit against Richmond, having a 7-1 anchor in the middle is huge, as it makes teams think twice about coming inside and having to shoot over Doral.
On the season, Moore is averaging 11.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks.
But the most remarkable part of his game is his insanely high field goal percentage, as he is shooting 38-45 for 84.4% on the season on 5.6 attempts per game. He leads the nation in field goal percentage, and it’s not even close.
Obviously a part of this is the number of dunks and alley oops that his height affords him. We like to call them #dorallyoops.
But Doral has also developed a nice hook shot that kind of reminds me of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s old skyhook that he was so famous for.
And he is ridiculously efficient when he gets the ball in the post. After all, he set a program record with 16 straight made field goal attempts (over the course of several games), a feat that not even the great Tim Duncan managed.
In addition to his improved shooting though, Doral is now much more efficient on offense, Instead of just standing there looking lost as he has at times in the past, he is a focal point of the offense.
Watch the work he does on the play below:
As you can see, Moore comes up high to set a screen for Mitchell Wilbekin, rolls down into the post and across the lane, establishes himself at the elbow and calls for the ball, draws a triple team, and then kicks out to Wilbekin for a wide open three.
That is some excellent footwork and highly intelligent basketball that we have not seen from Doral before this season. He has also been working really hard to get himself open inside, despite the fact that the guards often like to hold onto the ball too much and don't feed him enough.
At his height and current shooting percentage, there is no reason that Doral shouldn’t be getting a dozen attempts and at least 20 post touches a game.
Doral had 13 points and 5 rebounds in the first half against Richmond on Saturday. And following the game Coach Manning commented:
“He's a presence," Manning said of Moore. "In the first half, I thought he carried us.”
"His presence was felt down there (in the post) in the game. But we've got to continue to throw it to him. I think we miss him far too many times, personally. But when he gets on the court and gets in good post position, he needs to start letting people hear his voice. `Throw me the damn ball.' "
Another positive to Moore being more vocal would be his leadership coming through more on the court. After the loss to Georgia Southern in the opening game of the season, Doral promised to be better in following games:
Unacceptable. We are going to get better. I promise.— Doral Moore Jr (@2talldemondeac) November 11, 2017
I'm gonna put my heart and soul into it.— Doral Moore Jr (@2talldemondeac) November 11, 2017
And Doral has put his heart and soul into it and has been much better since that game. The rest of the team finally seems to be joining him.
While Doral’s numbers may not be quite as impressive as John Collins’ last year, it is clear that Doral Moore is now the force in the middle on both ends of the floor that the Deacs haven’t had in some time.
We wish Doral the best of luck the rest of this season, and look forward to watching him as he only gets better and better.