By DOUG IRELAND, Journal Sports
It’s been quite a while since anyone recruiting boys basketball players for LSU didn’t have to ask for directions to gyms around Louisiana.
With the hiring of 16-year Northwestern State assistant coach Jeff Moore as recruiting coordinator, the Tigers are getting somebody who’s personally been there, in the bleachers or standing along the baselines.
New LSU coach Matt McMahon announced Moore and the rest of his staff Thursday. The former Murray State coach wants to develop strong relationships with Louisiana high schools, a hallmark of the Demons’ program in 23 seasons under Mike McConathy, who departed NSU on March 14.
“Coach McMahon is a really good guy like coach Mike, and an excellent basketball coach. It’s a pretty easy transition,” said Moore. “And it’s a great opportunity, a perfect fit for me and I think, for LSU.
“He really wants to connect with the high school coaches and do our best job recruiting in Louisiana. He has built a great staff and has a vision to bring championship basketball to LSU on a continuing basis.”
At three of Moore’s five previous coaching stops, including at Northwestern, he recruited and signed the schools’ all-time leading scorers – each of them from Louisiana. During his years with McConathy, Moore recruited the Demons’ career leaders in scoring (Zeek Woodley of Pelican in DeSoto Parish), assists (Bossier High’s Jalan West) and blocked shots (William Mosley from Huntington).
He has recruited extensively throughout Louisiana and Texas, and also widened the Demons’ scope nationally and internationally. He played and coached in the Midwest and has a vast network of coaching contacts around the nation.
“When I was a junior college coach, first as an assistant and then as a head coach, I recruited high level players who went on from our programs to Power Five teams, brand name schools. Having been a JUCO coach gives me great appreciation for that level, and it also taught me how to successfully recruit talented young men from high schools around the country,” he said.
Moore has been quickly reunited with one of LSU’s new signees, former Demon standout Kendal Coleman, a first-team All-Southland player this season. The second-year freshman center prepped at Captain Shreve.
“We’re excited about Kendal. He lives in the gym. He soaks stuff up. The progression he has made each of the past three years has been so impressive, and a result of his work ethic and ability to be coached,” said Moore. “I have no doubt that he will continue to improve and he will thrive at LSU.”
Moore was one of four finalists interviewed to replace McConathy. He and the rest of the fulltime NSU staff were not retained by new Demons’ coach Corey Gipson.
“I’ve worked for the best man in college basketball, Mike McConathy, for 16 years,” said Moore. “I’m blessed to be able to stay in Louisiana and work for another high-caliber person and extremely accomplished coach at our state’s flagship institution.”
Photo by CHRIS REICH, Northwestern State