Wendell Moore Jr. tried to downplay the matchup, and rightfully so.
Moore’s CP3 All-Stars were going head-to-head against Jalen Lecque and team NY Renaissance on day two of the Nike EYBL Peach Jam. On paper this was a meeting of two of the top teams on the circuit.
To college basketball fans in North Carolina this was the first rare head-to-head matchup of the top two players in the state.
Lecque, a New York native who played his junior season at the Christ School in Arden, is the No. 1 player in the state, according to 247Sports. Moore, who led Cox Mill to consecutive NCHSAA 3A championships, is ranked No. 2.
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After CP3 defeated NY Renaissance 70-56, Moore was more satisfied about the win than in getting an upper hand on the only player in North Carolina ranked above him.
“It’s nothing personal when it comes to basketball, for me it’s all about winning the game,” Moore said.
With Mike Krzyzewski and Kevin Keatts watching closely, Lecque scored 13 points to Moore’s quiet five. Moore scored his only two field goals in the first half, then went scoreless the rest of the way. Lecque scored all but two of his points in the second half.
It was a pedestrian performance by both players’ standards, but that won’t stop coaches like Krzyzewski, Keatts and Roy Williams from recruiting them next season. Moore has Duke, UNC, N.C. State, Wake Forest and South Carolina in his top five. Lecque is being sought out by N.C. State, UNC and Duke.
Both players are five-star prospects, according to 247Sports, and it’s not that often that the best two players get to go at it. Not that Moore thought much about that.
“The ultimate goal for me is to win the game,” Moore said. “Doing whatever it takes, if it’s me scoring or defending, I’m just trying to win.”
That’s what makes Moore such an intriguing prospect. He is listed at 6-6 and plays all over the floor for CP3. He can snatch a rebound and bring the ball up the floor without any issues, and attacks the glass on both ends. He’s proven to be a matchup nightmare on both ends of the floor, blowing by big men with his quickness, and overpowering smaller guards on the perimeter.
Lecque is referred to as “Baby Westbrook” because of power and athleticism reminiscent of NBA star Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma Thunder. The 6-4 guard can get to the basket at will, more than not finishing with an acrobatic flare.
If Triangle fans ventured out to the John Wall Holiday Invitational the last two seasons, they got a chance to be introduced to Moore (2016) and Lecque (2017). They just missed each other by a year in Raleigh, but finally got on the same court in North Augusta.
“I haven’t gotten a chance to see him play much,” Moore said. “Only thing I’ve seen is his highlights, but it was fun to play against him today. I knew it was going to be competitive.”
When asked what stood out about Lecque, Moore stated the obvious.
“Just how high he can jump,” Moore said with a smile. “He can jump high, we knew we had to contain him and keep him out of the lane. I think we did a good job of that today.”
Moore also talked about his recruitment, which should be closely watched. His first official visit kicks off on Sept. 1 at N.C. State. The following weekend he will head to South Carolina. After his win at the Peach Jam, Moore announced that his official visit to North Carolina will take place during the annual “Late Night With Roy Williams” celebration.
Since the open recruitment period reopened, Moore’s phone has been plenty busy.
“Those five schools are calling me every day,” Moore said. “If it’s not a call from a head coach, it’s one of the assistants.”
Moore took notice of Keatts and Krzyzewski.
“It’s really important to see them in the crowd,” Moore said. “It means a lot.”