By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.—Imagine being an undersized sophomore, going up against a stud athlete like a RJ Veliz everyday in practice. How will you respond?
Blanchet Catholic’s James Moore had the job to go up against Veliz everyday in practice his sophomore year as the Cavaliers finished third in the 3A State Playoffs in 2018. Moore played five minutes in that third-place game as the Blanchet Senior started to turn into his own over the next two years in the Blue and Silver.
“It honestly helped me a lot and I think it pushed me past my limits and helped me grow tremendously. Being an undersized sophomore having the opportunity to play against RJ every single day in practice and guard him was great and really advanced my development,” said Moore of playing with Veliz. “I had a lot of that close game playoff atmosphere which was really helpful for later in games down the stretch these past two years.”
Veliz spent his last year of High School at Woodburn as Moore found his footing over his Junior year and took off his Senior Year as a top player in the PacWest Conference.
On top the experiences he gathered his freshman and sophomore year, the battles of the new-look PacWest with 3A Powers in Dayton and Amity joining the league and up-and-coming Yamhill-Carlton dropping down from 4A had gave Moore an opportunity to improve further as a basketball player.
“It’s taught me a lot of lessons about court spacing and communication with teammates and it also helped my basketball IQ a lot,” said Moore. “Because of our youth we had to outthink a lot of those top tier teams that we played night in and night out and it made the game a chess match of sorts which was a lot of fun. It also helped with mental toughness and stamina, having to play the best teams in the state night in and night out with no breaks, and it was awesome.”
His ability to adapted as a basketball player, as a leader to help make sure his team is in contention in contest not just had them on the brink of a State Playoff berth after taking the Tigers to the wire had garner the Senior with Scholarships to the next level.
The decision that came Wednesday: George Fox University. Fulfilling his dream of playing college basketball.
“It’s truly a blessing. A gift from God is the best way I could describe it. It’s been my dream since I was a kid to play college basketball and to see come true at such an amazing school is awesome,” said Moore.
The Bruins finished 8-17 overall and 4-12 in the Northwest Conference this past Winter.