On Wednesday, Liberty officially added to its 2021 men’s basketball recruiting class as DJ Moore signed his National Letter of Intent. The 6’3″ point guard from Worthington, Ohio joins Brody Peebles and Joseph Venzant who have signed for this class so far. The Flames also have a commitment from Bryson Spell who will finalize the class.
“The residue of success is that you have a little bit of a brand that maybe people are interested in, especially given our mission as a university,” Liberty head coach Ritchie McKay told ASOR in an exclusive interview. “I think we’re able to get on the phone or in doors that maybe we haven’t been. That’s reflective in Brody Peebles, Joseph Venzant, and DJ Moore. That’s a great recruiting class. If I were at a high major, I would have recruited all three of those kids.”
Moore, originally a class of 2022 prospect, announced his intentions to reclassify and join the Flames this summer last month. Out of Worthington Christian School, he committed to Liberty over offers from Ohio and Miami (OH). Moore helped lead Worthington Christian to the Division III state championship game in Ohio. He scored a game-high 28 points in the title game, but his team would fall to Lutheran East, 61-56, as they finished the season at 27-2. In the state semifinal against Cincinnati Taft, Moore hit a buzzer-beating jump shot to send Worthington Christian to the state championship game for the first time since 2008.
“The biggest thing was faith,” Moore said as to why he committed to Liberty. “Faith is a really big thing for me. Being able to go to a school that is big on that and preaches that is a big thing for me. Also, Coach McKay is the only coach in my recruitment that was straight up with me on things that I needed to work on. A lot of coaches try to throw all the good stuff out there and praise you, but the first call that we had when he offered me, he said, ‘This is something you need to work on, you’re not great at this, and I’m willing to help you get great at that.’ I think that really hit home when he said that. He was the first coach that was straight up with me.”
Moore led the Warriors in scoring this season with 17.8 points per game to go with 5.1 assists and 4.3 rebounds. He was a three-year varsity starter, was named the Mid-State League Ohio division player of the year as a freshman and was the District 10 player of the year this season.
“DJ and his mom and dad, we had extensive conversations on what that would look like,” McKay said of Moore reclassifying. “They were great. They said, ‘if a scholarship came available, we would have an interest, and if you need to use a scholarship for a different position, we would understand that.’ DJ would rather redshirt here than go through another year of high school. I think the pandemic accelerated his desire to be in college. I think all of the stars aligned in that one – God put that on their heart and ours. I don’t know how it will work out, but I do know it’s a family that is willing to make sacrifices necessary, and DJ is willing to do whatever. If he can fight for minutes, great, if not, he doesn’t mind redshirting.”
Moore, like fellow class of 2021 signees Peebles and Venzant, is a three-star rated prospect according to 247Sports and he committed to Liberty last summer. Earlier this season he surpassed the 1,000 point mark for his high school career, finishing No. 5 on the school’s all-time scoring list with 1,323 career points in just three seasons. He was a first-team all-state, first-team all-district, and first-team all-conference selection in his final season at Worthington Christian.
Moore was also named the District 10 Player of the Year and the MSL-Ohio Player of the Year this past season. He averaged 15.3 points per game as a sophomore a year ago and was named first team all-state while helping lead the Warriors to reach the district finals.
“Peebs, hes got an instinct about him that is rare,” McKay said of Brody Peebles. “He really knows how to play. Venzant, i don’t want to compare to Elijah (Cuffee) because Elijah has won more games than any Liberty basketball player in history, but there is no way that he gets out of a different state with the ability he has. Derek Johnston found him. We were fortunate to be on him early and show him how much we wanted him to be a part of our family and the plan that we have for his development. What a great kid. I’ve never met DJ Moore face to face, but we have had unbelievable conversations. I’ve got a great trust for all three of those kids and their families.”