Four-star Malachi Moreno is one of the top big men in the country for the 2025 class. The 7-foot junior out of Georgetown (Ky.) Great Crossing holds over 25 scholarship offers. Moreno, ranked 26th nationally by On3, has already taken eight college visits. He recaps them all in an in-depth interview with On3.
Moreno breaks down college visits
Iowa: “Just the family environment. Coach (Fran) McCaffery actually recruited my older brother Michael when he was around my age and they’ve just been in contact ever since. He’s always treated me like family and treated my mom like family. I’m a big family person so if you show love to any of my family members that puts your foot in the door.”
*Moreno’s trip to Iowa was an official. The rest are unofficials.
Kentucky: “Kentucky is Kentucky, you know. They’re the top of the top. Coach Cal, he’s one of the best to ever to do it. He knows what he’s doing. A lot of people probably disagree with that statement but his players speak for himself. Anthony Davis is now one of the best players in the league. De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk are one of the best backcourt in the league and were the best backcourt in college basketball. His resume speaks for himself and just the rich history of that school and how they put people in the league is what really stands out to me.”
Indiana: “Being on an adidas circuit team (Indiana Elite) and just knowing they’re one of the biggest adidas schools and I know my close relationship with adidas. If I go there, then I know I’m going to be set up. Coach (Mike) Woodson’s resume in the NBA and how he worked with Trayce Jackson-Davis for two years and turned him into probably the best big men in the country. That just really shows what he can do with someone of my style of play.”
Ohio State: “It was a good visit. I went for the Penn State game and it was a crazy, crazy atmosphere. With coach (Chris) Holtmann being from Kentucky, he understands what we go through because Kentucky doesn’t get a lot of love. He’s in awe of everything I can do and just preaches non-stop like ‘you get better every time I see you’ and just ‘keep working and good things are going to come your way’.
Cincinnati: “Coach Wes Miller is a very special guy because he took time out of his day to come speak with me during practice and I thought that was really cool. He works with the big men in practice so that really showed he takes care and takes pride in the big men. He had some commits on the visit with me, but out of all the people he chose to sit with, he sat with me and my mom. So that really put their foot in the door with me.”
Notre Dame: “My mom has grown up a Notre Dame fan because her father was actually the biggest Notre Dame fan you’d ever meet. He had so much Notre Dame apparel. He was just in love with Notre Dame. And when we went, the one thing she had to see was Touchdown Jesus because we know how big we are in our faith. Just being able to see that and seeing the stonehead that describes everyone in that picture, really brought out my love for God. Just being on that campus, knowing the history, being at the Grotto, it was a special moment for me and my mother.”
Arkansas: “My mom’s stepdad grew up in Fayetteville. So he grew up a Razorback so I took him with me on that visit and when we went to the football game, I could tell this place is special. Their fans take pride in everything. Coach (Eric) Musselman never leaves his players, he never goes out to recruit other players. He’s always on campus ready to work whenever you are. That just showed he’s one of the best coaches to ever do it. He’s so focused on individual development and team development.”
Tennessee: “That was a good trip overall. Me and my mom on the drive home, we were talking about it and we were just like, its a special place. Coach (Rick) Barnes, they won the SEC tournament. He’s done really good for himself. They have a pretty well-rounded team that fits well with each other so he knows how to make his teams work and how each individual works together.”
Which programs have been the most active? Where else does he want to visit?
Moreno says Kentucky, Arkansas, Notre Dame, Auburn, Indiana, Ohio State, and Baylor are currently the most active schools in his recruitment.
He touched further on Auburn and Baylor.
Auburn: “They like to compare me a lot to a previous big, Walker Kessler. With just the way I defend the rim and their preach is always the same. They tell me, you’re one of the best defenders in your class, you know how to anticipate shots, you know how to block shots and its only a matter of time before you get that offensive skill and offense mindset to where I’m a killer and there’s really no one that can rock with me when I’m playing my hardest and playing my best.”
Baylor: “They’re a lot different from other schools because they like to preach about Jesus. I’m a big guy in my faith and I like to let people know that without God, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today and that’s what they preach. So there’s a lot of love coming from Baylor.”
He says he’d like to visit schools like Baylor, Alabama, Auburn, LSU, USC, Clemson, and Syracuse.
What he’s looking for in a school
“Just a family environment,” he says. “Going into college as an 18-year-old kid, I’m going to be like everyone else and be a little homesick. So just being able to feel like I’m at home and feel like each of my teammates are one of my brothers. It would be special to me. And just being able to grow my faith and grow as a man because the ball is going to stop bouncing at some point. I know God will put me in the right spots to succeed and as long as I keep growing that relationship, I’m alright.”
“I know I want to make a commitment by next June,” he says. “Thats my deadline. I don’t plan to be one of those that commits his senior year because scholarships can be taken at that point. I don’t want to wait all the way and then possibly get injured and lose my scholarships so I want to get done with some AAU tournaments, see what else comes my way, and then make a decision from there.”