Duke announced Monday morning that Wendell Moore Jr. was one of 11 student-athletes selected to make up the brand-new NABC Player Development Coalition, "a diverse collection of Division I men's basketball student-athletes that will provide valuable perspective and feedback on college basketball issues."
Two days later, the sophomore forward took to Zoom to discuss the coalition, the Blue Devils' preparation heading into this season and more.
Here are some of the highlights:
On how he was selected as a student-athlete representative on the NABC Player Development Coalition:
"Really how this came about, Coach came to me with the opportunity. He's on kind of like a board or committee of the same 11 other coaches that the players represent.... So all of them came together and wanted to do something, which turned into the [NABC] Player Development Coalition."
On what leadership skills he's been able to attain that will help him in this new position:
"I feel like just for me, it's just a chance to use my voice more. Coach always wants me to be more vocal on the court, and having an opportunity like this just allows me to do that. I mean this year I'm considered an upperclassman but I'm still a sophomore, considering we have seven new guys on our team."
On how recent COVID-19 outbreaks across different college campuses have affected the team's mindset:
"It just shows us that this pandemic is real. I can't speak for the other campuses and what they do, but the precautions that we take [at Duke are] obviously second to none. We have very little interaction with anybody outside of basketball operations, and I feel like the precautions we put in place here [are] obviously for our safety first and ultimately doing the right thing to help us get back on the court soon."
On the goals of the NABC Player Development Coalition:
"This is just the start of something special. We're kind of like the experiment group of guys to hopefully have this become a larger thing, and hopefully map it out to be kind of like the NBA Players Union. We kind of just want to have input [into] everything that goes in with college basketball, whether it's how we play our games, how many games we play, the money that goes into it, what happens to the players, what happens to everything—we just want the players to get treated fairly, so they don't feel like they lose interest in their sport early that way. You see guys go into the G League and things like that. We just want to have the opportunity to keep guys in college, because college is obviously a one-in-a-lifetime experience and we want to make it that way for all athletes."
On which issues he is most invested in personally:
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"I say for myself, right now, I'm really just focused on playing. It's been five, six months since we last played a game? We got shut down as we were getting ready to leave for our first ACC [tournament] game. And as a freshman that kind of hurts, that kind of stings a little bit to kind of get your first year taken away from you when we had a chance to do something really special I felt. So first and foremost, what I'm more focused on is playing. The money will come later. And obviously, if I'm good enough, I'll have the opportunity to go make my own money someday. So right now, I'm just focused on playing basketball."
On how preseason training has been different compared to previous seasons:
"I've got to say for one, it was a lot different, mainly because of the time we got here. We got here almost a month later than we normally do, so we lost a month in preparation training. But as soon as we got here it was a kind of like wheels going.... Another thing that's been different is all our workouts have been individual for right now. We haven't had any contact with each other or any live action yet. It's kind of just been everything individual, everybody working on themselves right now."
On what his role might be for the team this season:
"We really haven't had a chance to discuss anything team-wise. Everything right now has been more focused on us as individual players, just working on our individual talents, just shaping our all-around games. I mean, I can say this season, I know Coach wants [us] to get up and down a lot more. He wants to be a really fast-paced team. And we have the personnel to do that—one through 14 we can all play at a fast pace. And multiple more guys can play multiple positions, so that's another good thing for us. So just being able to be versatile all-around gives us the opportunity to play many different speeds."
On how the times have changed to allow student-athletes to speak up about things like Black Lives Matter:
"For years, we've been trying to get something done. This isn't the first time people have started to speak out.... This isn't the first time people have said that, and now since we're in a pandemic and people can't go anywhere it gives them no choice but to listen now. So there's really no different opportunity except now is really the best time that we have to all use our platform to speak up for what we believe in. We want the change now, but again, it's going to be a process, and we're not going to stop until a change has occurred."