Moore ready for the big stage

Brad Davis/The Register-Herald)Greater Beckley Christian’s Jay Moore powers his way to the basket for a layup through Trinity’s Fletcher Hatsock, left, and Briston Bennett January 20, in Prosperity.

In a sports world dominated by the phrase, “transfer portal,” Greater Beckley standout Jay Moore is a throwback player characterized by old school principles of loyalty and hard work.

“Jay is a very determined guy who won’t take no for an answer in anything he does in life,” Greater Beckley head basketball coach Brian Helton said. “That is one of the things I admire in him the most. (Jay) is not afraid to be out front and he doesn’t know where to quit. He is an extremely loyal person that puts his family first and his friends first.”

“When he is with you, he is with you 100 percent. That is the kind of guy Jay is.”

Coming off a senior season where he averaged just under 30 points per game, Moore will cap his stellar high school career Friday night in the annual WVADA Boys Basketball North-South Classic being played at the South Charleston Community Center.

“It means a lot to me, especially when I saw some of the other guys that had been invited,” Moore said. “Just to be a part of that group is a really big honor.”

Nowadays it comes as no surprise that Moore would be selected to play in the North-South Classic. However, there was a time when such an honor seemed nothing more than a crazy dream of a young child.

Born in Beckley, Moore first attended Crescent Elementary, but in sixth grade a decision was made that would change Moore’s life.

“My mom felt like if I went somewhere else that I might go down the wrong path, so she wanted me to go to school at (Greater Beckley Christian),” Moore explained. “Then I met coach (Helton) and we connected really well, so I stayed here.” 

“He set a really good example to keep me out of trouble. He prays for me and the team every day,” Moore said, “Just wanting to do the right things for him has kept me out of trouble and on the right track. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be the person or the player that I am today.”

While the school became the right choice for Moore, his game was far from what it is today. In his freshman year of high school, he was thrust into varsity action after limited action in middle school.

“His freshman year we won four games and he was a kid that didn’t get much playing time in middle school,” Helton explained. “(Jay) was a late bloomer. But, the thing about him was, no matter what age group he was in, he was in the gym constantly wanting to be around basketball. He was determined to stick with it and be good at it. Now he is getting Division 1 basketball offers.”

Moore remembers that time as being pivotal to his success.

“In ninth grade I was really just getting used to playing basketball,” Moore admitted. “At Crescent and all, I would never make the team. So, I just wanted to work really hard with coach. Before my junior season, he told me that I could be really good. I believed in him and I worked hard every day.”

Moore took hard work to another level and also got a little boost from nature.

“I grew a lot my 10th grade year, but, I played mainly in the post because I struggled with my shot,” Moore said. “After my sophomore season, coach and I really worked on my shot. I didn’t really change anything, I just got a lot more reps up. Then I started knocking down more shots and was able to expand my game.”

Moore went from an unknown player as a freshman to a first-team all-state selection his junior and senior seasons.

“His game keeps evolving. He has improved so much, even since the season ended,” Helton said. “He puts up over 500 shots per day and is in the weight room every day. He is always looking for opportunities to play. Just really wants to be a high level basketball player. I won’t be surprised if goes even higher.”

While honored to be on the South roster, Moore is looking forward to the North-South Classic for another reason. Tonight he will suit up alongside another Beckley superstar.

“The guy that I really aspire to be like is (Woodrow Wilson guard) Bryce (Radford) because of his work ethic,” Moore said. “Everyday I get in the gym, I tell coach I don’t want to be outworked by Bryce because I know he is in here too. I see his shot and it is perfect form. We have been friends for a while and to see how hard he works really motivates me.”

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