Uncertainty over role at Georgia Tech leads to Jalon Moore’s transfer portal entry

Credit: Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com

Credit: Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com

Jalon Moore had every intention of staying at Georgia Tech until the last week. But uncertainty about his role on new coach Damon Stoudamire’s team led to his decision to enter the transfer portal on Thursday, Moore’s AAU coach told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Friday.

Moore, a forward who played in all but one of the Jackets’ 33 games this past season and started 15, put his name into the database on the final day that basketball players were able to do so.

Scott Whittle, Moore’s coach with the Alabama Fusion, said that Moore was comfortable with his role on the team after multiple conversations with Stoudamire.

“And then over the last, I’d say, week, Damon told him, ‘Hey, you may play 20 minutes some games, some games you may play five minutes. It really just depends,’” Whittle said. “It didn’t really settle well with Jalon, and he said, ‘This is my junior year, I really don’t want to do that.’ So he reached out to me and he said, ‘I’m really thinking that I’m going to find a new home.’ I said, ‘O.K., if that’s what you want to do.’”

This past season, Moore averaged 7.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 20.5 minutes per game while shooting 43% from the field. He scored in double digits 13 times. With his long reach, high level of athletic ability and relative newness to the game, he has often drawn comparisons with Moses Wright, the 2021 ACC player of the year.

It was a surprising decision given the timing. Prior to Moore, the last Tech player to go in the portal had been guard Deivon Smith on April 20. Whittle himself was not expecting it.

“He just decided that he wanted to do something more and he wanted to improve on 7 (points) and 5 (rebounds),” Whittle said.

If there were a miscommunication on Stoudamire’s side or a desire to keep Moore from entering the portal, it didn’t result in a call to Whittle.

“I would think if (Stoudamire) wanted him, he would have called me,” Whittle said. “He’s got my number.”

Whittle said he was initially uneasy after Stoudamire didn’t answer a text message that Whittle sent to him informing him that he was Moore’s AAU coach (the two already had a relationship, Whittle said) and seeking reassurance that Moore was part of Stoudamire’s plans. Whittle was understanding that a new coach can have different plans for players that he has inherited.

“And that’s always fine,” he said. “And I think Jalon could have excelled and been a good piece for what coach Stoudamire’s trying to do, but ultimately he came to this decision on his own.”

Moore, who has two years of eligibility remaining, has received strong interest from some higher-tier mid-major programs, according to Whittle.

Two of Moore’s former teammates who also transferred have recently found landing spots. Smith announced Friday on social media that he had committed to Utah while guard Tristan Maxwell committed to Hampton, also on Friday, according to On3.

Forward Freds Pauls Bagatskis (Texas-Arlington) and forward Cyril Martynov (Eastern Michigan) have also found destinations out of the portal. Two more scholarship players who went into the portal, center Rodney Howard and forward Jordan Meka, were not known to have committed as of Friday. Walk-on guard Jermontae Hill will transfer to Tyler Junior College in Texas, Hill’s AAU coach Steven Bouye told the AJC.