Q&A with Georgia Tech freshman guard Jalon Moore

Georgia Tech freshman guard Jalon Moore speaks with media via videoconference Feb. 26, 2022. (Georgia Tech Athletics)

Credit: Georgia Tech

Credit: Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech freshman guard Jalon Moore speaks with media via videoconference Feb. 26, 2022. (Georgia Tech Athletics)

After playing in only six of Georgia Tech’s first 23 games, freshman guard Jalon Moore recently has seen much more playing time. Moore has played in four of the Yellow Jackets’ past five games, including 15 minutes in the overtime loss at Syracuse on Monday and 16 in the home loss to Virginia Tech on Wednesday.

Moore likely will continue to contribute Saturday in the Jackets’ game at Notre Dame (5 p.m., ACC Network), in part because guard Deivon Smith will continue to be out after suffering a concussion in the Jackets’ win at Pittsburgh on Feb. 19.

Moore spoke with media via videoconference Friday, discussing his surge in playing time.

Q: How much fun has it been to get out there and play the extended minutes after all the hard work in practice?

A: It’s been extremely fun. It’s just been extremely good so I can go out there and fight with my brothers, try to get a win each and every game. I’m just trying to get more comfortable as I’m out there, so it’s been extremely fun.

Q: It’s seemed like a light switched on for you in recent games. Is the game slowing down or has your comfort level increased – what do you think has made you turn the corner?

A: I think it’s a matter of both. The game is slowing down for me. I feel like they have developed me very well as far as the defensive and offensive end and just with me not rushing shots or making sure I’m in the right place on defense and also me getting comfortable with the offense and the defense. Now I’m probably not going to mess up a play or be in the wrong position on defense most of the time. So I just feel like it’s a matter of both.

Q: Is it a case where you were having to think more on the floor and it’s now coming more easily?

A: Yes, sir. I would say, when I was on the floor before, I was doing a lot of thinking instead of just playing. Now I feel like I’m just playing without having to think or, ‘Am I going to do something wrong’ or ‘Am I doing this wrong? Am I doing that wrong?’ I feel like I’m just playing now.

Q: In the Virginia Tech game, when Rodney Howard fouled out, coach (Josh) Pastner put you in the game. Were you surprised or encouraged in that moment?

A: I would just say I was ready. Even if I was expecting it or not expecting it, I was ready if my name was called, I was ready to go out there and compete.

Q: Have been there been any surprises, certain situations like when going to the basket how strong or physical other players are?

A: I wouldn’t say it was a surprise. I kind of went in knowing it was going to be physical. Because in practice, we’re physical, too. It wasn’t as much of a surprise to me because I knew the game was going to be physical, and I’m just used to physicality.

Q: What is the next sort of evolution of your game as you get more comfortable? Is it being more aggressive on offense, something on defense, or something else?

A: I would just say adding a jump shot, probably like a 15-footer where I won’t always have to try to get to the rim or maybe I can stop and hit a mid-range, not always trying to force stuff to the rim as I did a couple times last game.

Q: Are you getting used to coach Pastner’s substitution patterns?

A: I am. I usually know who’s probably going to come off the bench next or I may have a little feeling in my gut of, I’m about to go in here, let me get myself ready.

Q: Was it hard for you with (fellow freshmen) Deebo (Coleman) and Miles (Kelly) getting minutes early on while you were having to wait?

A: No, sir, it wasn’t hard at all. Those are like my two brothers. We’re like the Three Musketeers. I like seeing them succeed on the floor, and I knew my turn was going to come soon. And I just knew coming in, I was probably a little behind those guys as far as coaching-wise, and now it’s cool. It’s cool to see us all on the floor at the same time in certain moments.

Q: What have you learned from playing with Jordan Usher or working with the assistant coaches like coach (Eric) Reveno and coach (Julian) Swartz? What have you picked up that you’ve added to our game?

A: I feel like with coach ‘Rev’ in the warmups, I don’t know if you watch our warm-ups, we work on hooks and different footwork movements. As far as ‘Ush,’ his footwork is, like, impeccable. I try to model certain parts of my game around his as far as the footwork and how he’s so comfortable getting down on the block and how he can do different moves in different situations. I feel like Ush and coach Rev and all the other coaches like coach Swartz have helped me a lot.

Q: As someone who I imagine grew up dreaming of playing college basketball, has there been anything especially cool for you this year?

A: I would just say the different atmospheres, like the different atmospheres of Tech, and then you go someplace like Syracuse. I just like seeing the different facilities and the gyms. It’s been great.

Q: Has there been a senior who’s been particularly helpful?

A: I would say it’s probably not just one. I would say it’s all the seniors. All the seniors have been helpful to all of us younger guys as far as trying to understand the offense or the defense or when we’re in certain situations, like if we’re doing something wrong. I would say all the seniors have helped extremely.