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Basketball Recruiting

Top-35 incoming junior Malachi Morneno talks recruitment, mentality

July 31, 2023

The 2025 class, like past classes we’ve seen, has a fair share of talented forwards. Malachi Moreno is on that list. Great Crossing’s talented sophomore big is a 7-foot-1 forward from Georgetown, Kentucky, and this has already been an impressive year for him.

Evidently, Moreno doesn’t shy away from using his size to affect his opponents on the defensive end. 

This season, Moreno averaged a double-double of 15.6 points, 11 rebounds, and four blocks per game. Good numbers in year two for the talented sophomore. I’ve seen real progression since seeing him during Spring and Summer AAU sessions last year.

Moreno’s numbers practically translated exactly for this AAU season. During the first session of the Adidas 3SSB, Moreno averaged nearly 13.5 points, 10.5 boards, and three blocks per game which is almost identical to his stats from this past season.

Adidas selected 20 participants to go to Italy as part of their Eurocamp. Once more, only 20 prospects get selected by Adidas and Moreno was one of them. It’s evident he’s blessed and grateful for the opportunity and enjoyed his experience overseas.

We talked recruiting and on-court mentality with Moreno, who gave the rundown.

Which schools are the heaviest involved?

“Purdue, Indiana, Stanford, Tennessee, Kentucky, Cincinnati, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Arkansas, NC State, Creighton, LSU, Xavier, Iowa, and other Power Five programs.”

And who are the newest schools?

“Creighton, LSU, USC, NC State, Virginia Tech, Ole Miss, South Carolina.”

Wanted to ask about Kentucky’s pitch and just how serious is the relationship with them.

“The relationship has been building since about February of last year. I talk to both Coach Antigua and Coach Flint. They preach about putting in the hard work and grinding.”

What’s the pitch from one of your newer offers, Arkansas?

“Their pitch is that they will recruit me hard, but with the entire staff. They talk about using bigs like me and that Coach Musselman will put me in a position to succeed.”

How about a program like Cincinnati now in the Big 12, what is Coach Miller’s pitch?

“Coach Miller’s pitch is that I need to continue to push through with adversity and not shy away from the competition.”

Thoughts on a school you visited, in Tennessee?

“Tennessee has great facilities with top-of-the-line coaches and staff. Their pitch is that they’re going to push you to make you an even better version of yourself.”

Visits? What’s in the works and is anything set yet?

“Right now I’m working on visits to Arkansas, Michigan, Michigan State, and Notre Dame.”

How would you best describe your on-court mentality?

“My mentality on the court is to just dominate. Dominate whoever is in front [of me] and be the more aggressive player. To not have any regrets and to make sure that the person guarding me knows he’s in for a long game.”

And how would you describe your game?

“That my game is expanding, but I am a natural big who can defend and alter or block shots. I can stretch the floor and find open teammates up for easy buckets.”

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