Another one says goodbye to Durham and sets his sights toward playing professionally as Duke captain Wendell Moore Jr. declares for the NBA Draft.
Moore, one of the keys to the Blue Devils’ strong season and Final Four run, announced Thursday via Instagram that he will take his talents to the league.
"I could not be more proud of the player and person that Wendell has become," former head coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a team release Thursday. "He is everything that is good about our game of college basketball. To see him grow and improve over these last three years has been special and I'm so happy for Wendell and his family to have this moment. He was our co-captain, one of the best all-around players in the nation and a huge part of our success. He was there for us every minute. He led us in assists, led us in minutes, was one of our best shooters and was there in clutch moments. He will be an immediate asset to an NBA team."
The junior forward averaged 13.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.4 assists on 50.0% shooting in the 2021-22 season, a year that earned him national recognition as the nation’s top small forward. He shined in Duke’s victories against Gonzaga last November and helped the Blue Devils take down Syracuse in the ACC tournament with a career-high 26 points. He was a constant stat-sheet filler with his strong playmaking and notched the fifth triple-double in Duke history with his 19-point, 10-rebound and 10-assist performance against Army in the Blue Devils’ home opener.
He was named to the All-ACC Second Team, All-ACC Defensive team, ACC All-Tournament First Team and won ACC Player of the Week following his strong showing against Gonzaga.
The Concord, N.C., native showed a marked improvement in his three years in Durham, first arriving as a top-tier recruit and McDonald’s All-American. Though the 2019-20 Blue Devils did not get a shot at a postseason run due to COVID-19, Moore had one of the top plays of that college basketball season and Duke history with his putback at the buzzer to take down North Carolina in overtime on the road.
Moore brought up his scoring during his sophomore season after a slow start—the 6-foot-5 wing struggled to score for a prolonged early-season stretch. He had his true breakout game in a January duel with Boston College, in which he scored a then-career-high 25 points including the game-sealing baseline jumper. He continued to cement himself as one of the best perimeter defenders and improved his shooting in the ACC throughout the 2020-21 campaign, in which Duke missed the NCAA tournament.
He improved further entering his junior year, in which he was a team captain alongside senior Joey Baker. He brought up his 3-point shooting from 21.1% his freshman year to 41.3% this past season and was one of the strongest finishers in the nation.
Moore has widely been projected as a late first-round or early second-round draft pick.
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Micah Hurewitz is a Trinity senior and was previously a sports managing editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.