George Mason basketball coach and New York City native Paul Hewitt continues to mine talent from the area where he grew up. And why not? With the Patriots headed for the Atlantic-10, the recruiting focus should shift to the northeast.
On Wednesday, the Patriots announced the signing of Marquise Moore, a 6-1 guard from Queens, N.Y. who prepped last season at St. Thomas More (Conn.). Moore, who averaged 13 points, six rebounds, and five assists last season, previously played at Holy Cross High. In 2012, he averaged 15.6 points in helping propel Holy Cross to the New York City title.
“He is an outstanding student and the type of player that we think can help us as we move to the Atlantic 10 Conference,” Hewitt said in a release.
Moore joins an experienced roster that includes five starters and five key reserves from last year’s 22-16 team which reached the College Basketball Invitational finals. With so many returning players, the only other addition to the roster will be forward Julian Royal, a transfer from Georgia Tech who will become eligible in 2014-15.
Previous George Mason coach Jim Larranaga, also a New York City native, had success recruiting the talent-rich area. Hewitt, a player at St. John Fisher (Pittsford) and former head coach at Siena (Loudonville), has continued the tradition.
Among the players on the George Mason roster with ties to the New York area include senior guard Sherrod Wright (Mount Vernon), junior forward Anali Okoloji (Brooklyn), junior guard Corey Edwards (South Jamaica), junior guard Vaughan Gray (Elmwood Park, N.J.), and sophomore forward Jalen Jenkins (Yonkers). In addition, senior guard Byron Allen (Largo, Md.) and sophomore forward Michael Rudy (Falls Church, Va.) played prep seasons at St. Thomas More. Former conference player of the year Ryan Pearson, a 2012 Mason graduate, played at Christ the King in Queens.
Moore will provide another option at point guard, competing for playing time with Edwards, and perhaps allow Allen to focus primarily on playing the wing, where he thrived last year after struggles at the point.
“Marquise has great size for his position, attacks the basket at will and does an excellent job distributing the ball to his teammates in spots where they can be successful,” St. Thomas More coach Jere Quinn said in a statement. “He is a selfless player who is very coachable and plays the game with passion and competitiveness.”
Those are qualities George Mason has often found in its players from New York.