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October 31, 2012Word came down on Wednesday that South Plains C.C. big man Yanick Moreira had pulled the trigger and given a verbal commitment to SMU and new head coach Larry Brown.
As Moreira's coach at South Plains, Hank Plona explains, it finally just felt like the right time for the top JUCO prospect.
"I am not exactly sure why he decided to commit today," said Plona. "He made three visits, the last of which was about 10 days ago so he has had some time to think about it. Our season also starts on Friday and I think that he wanted to decide before heading into the season."
The three official visits that Moreira made were to SMU, Oregon and Baylor and it was one thing in particular that made the big man to pick the Mustangs over his other choices.
"I think that he is excited about the future for SMU. They are headed to a new league, they have a hall of fame coach and a great staff. Yanick wants to make it to the highest level of basketball possible, the NBA, and I think that he thought coach Brown gave him the best chance at that.
"He wanted to play for a good coach that is going to help make him better and help him grow as a player. I also think that he felt really comfortable there on campus and could see himself in that area once he is done with basketball."
A lot of people immediately point to the fact that SMU will be moving to the Big East next year as a way to attract more players to the Mustangs but Plona thought it was another factor that drew the 6-foot-11, 220-pounder in.
"More than the conference I think that Yanick liked the schools commitment to the basketball program. When he came back from his visit there he was saying how they are updating their arena, how their practice facility is new and how much emphasis they are putting on the basketball team. He felt the school was committed to having good basketball."
As far as what the staff did personally to land the power forward it seems a lot of it had to do with knowing Moreira's game.
"I can't tell you exactly how many time the coaches came down to watch him play but it was a bunch. They went to every tournament they could, even coach Brown, to watch him play and made sure that he knew that he was a top priority to them. They know what he can do on the court and what he needs to improve on and he liked that."
Moreira is the third verbal commitment that coach Brown and his staff have gotten in the 2013 class. The JUCO star joins Sterling Brown and Ben Moore.