Addaya Moore already is excited for 2017.
That’s when the Granite City senior will head to the University of Illinois in Champaign and play for the school’s women’s basketball team.
“It’s the perfect school,” Moore said. “They’re close to home and that’s a big thing for me because I’m a family person. My family is everything. Being close to my family is being able to come home and go to Saint Louis University, where my brother plays, and watch him play. That’s like a major factor to me.”
Moore verbally committed to play for the Fighting Illini while playing in an AAU tournament in April. Moore plays for the Best Choice United AAU squad in Indianapolis.
“I play AAU basketball and all of April and July, I travel a lot, like Atlanta and so on,” Moore said. “We play in front of a lot of scouts. Underneath the basket, there are probably over 15 Division I coaches looking at you and watching your game. In one game, I want to say it was in Georgia and I picked up two offers in one weekend. I picked up an offer from Campbell University in North Carolina and right after they offered me, Illinois called and they offered me. I was like, ‘Wow!’”
Moore was the second player to commit to Illinois for the 2017-2018 season. The other is Bolingbrook senior Jnaya Walker, who committed in mid-January. Walker helped Bolingbrook win a regional championship last winter after playing for Joliet Catholic for two years.
Moore said she was thrilled she finalized her college plans.
“It’s a relief,” she said. “It’s like a big burden off of my chest.”
Moore also is glad she’ll get to play for a school three hours away from home.
“They play in the Big Ten, which is a pretty huge conference,” she said. “So it was one of those ideal situations where it’s the perfect university. I actually went down there to visit after they offered. It was one of those things where it was just perfect.”
Moore has been playing basketball since she was in fifth grade. Her brother, Zeke, will be playing at Saint Louis University next year and her father, Gerald, is the head boys’ basketball coach at Riverview Gardens High in St. Louis. Moore started playing AAU ball last summer.
Moore will join an Illinois team that finished with its third straight losing season last winter. The Fighting Illini, who haven’t been to the NCAA tournament since 2003, finished 9-21 in the 2015-2016 season.
“Me playing with the U of I, I probably could get to the NCAA tournament and hopefully, win a championship, be in there and make a name for myself in that conference and, hopefully one day, play professional basketball,” Moore said.
Matt Bollant wrapped up his fourth season as Illinois head coach after heading the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay program for five years.
“He’s an amazing guy,” Moore said. “I can’t wait to play for him.”
Moore turned in an outstanding first season with the Granite City girls’ basketball team last winter. She averaged 19 points per game, earned all-tournament honors at Orchard Farm, Jerseyville and Carrollton and was named to the all-Southwestern Conference team.
Moore played at Riverview Gardens, Mo., for two years before transferring to GCHS in 2015.
Moore is setting her sights on helping the Warriors turn in a strong season next winter. Last winter, Granite City won seven games after getting three wins the year before.
“I have a good feeling that it’s going to be a fun senior year,” Moore said. “My teammates played (in a league at Southwestern Illinois College this summer). We’re not too bad. We’re getting up there and we’re getting better. We’re experienced, which is really good for us for this year. That’s why I feel like my senior year is going to be a better year than last year.”
Moore said GCHS coach Whitney Sykes-Rogers was excited when she told her that she’ll be continuing her basketball career at Illinois in 2017.
“She’s actually one of the first people I told,” Moore said. “When I committed, I picked up my phone and hurried up and texted her and said, ‘Hey, coach, I just committed to the U of I.’ She’s been on board the entire time. She’s amazing and I’m lucky to play for her.”
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