HAMPDEN, Maine — Jacob Moore, a 6-foot-6 senior forward for the Hampden Academy boys basketball team, made a verbal commitment Monday to accept an athletic scholarship offer from Division II Bentley University in Waltham, Mass.
Under what is called a three-for-four scholarship, Moore will pay his own way for his first year, then be under scholarship for the following three years.
Bentley is one of the top Division II programs nationally, having reached the NCAA Division II Sweet Sixteen each of the last three years.
Led by 19th-year head coach Jay Lawson, the Falcons are the third-winningest Division II team nationally over the last five years with a combined record of 143-24 — including 92-9 over the last three years.
A member of the Northeast 10 Conference, Bentley finished 26-7 last year.
“It’s a program that wins a lot, and I’m excited to go there,” said Moore. “Their style of play is a lot like what we played in AAU so I’ll be able to step in and understand what they’re doing.”
Moore has started 38 games for Hampden Academy over his first three seasons on the varsity with 358 career points and 218 rebounds. He averaged 13.1 points and 6.6 rebounds per game last winter for the Broncos while earning second-team All-Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference honors and honorable mention All-Maine recognition from the Bangor Daily News.
The Broncos advanced to the Eastern Maine Class A quarterfinals last fall before falling to Bangor. Moore scored a game-high 19 points in that contest.
“I feel Jacob’s skill set really sets him apart from most high school players,” said Hampden head coach Russ Bartlett. “There aren’t many 6-6 kids who can handle the ball and play in transition the way that he can.
“I feel like there is still more to come from Jacob that people haven’t seen yet, and I’m hoping he can really become a leader in our program this season.”
Moore also has had considerable success as a member of the MBR Basketball Club’s 17-and-under team for the last two years.
Last summer that team, coached by Carl Parker of Bangor, competed in the AAU junior national championships and compiled a 6-3 record while qualifying for the championship round.
Under NCAA rules, Lawson cannot comment on Moore’s decision until Moore signs a National Letter of Intent. That’s expected to take place during the NCAA’s early signing period in November.
Moore is the second player from his MBR team to commit verbally to a Northeast 10 school in recent weeks.
Dominic Borelli, a 6-7 center from Westbrook, has accepted a scholarship offer from Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H.
A second-team BDN All-Maine choice last fall, Borelli is considered a top-flight rebounder who also has shooting accuracy that extends to 3-point range.
Borelli averaged 15.3 points and 10.6 rebounds per game last winter to help Westbrook earn a 16-2 regular-season record and the No. 2 seed in Western A. He scored 22 points in each of the Blue Blazes’ postseason games as Westbrook reached the regional semifinals.
Like Borelli, one of Moore’s strengths is his versatility for his size, as Moore is more at home near the 3-point arc or running the fast break than he is working nearer the basket.
Moore will be part of a Hampden Academy team that is expected to be among the top contenders in Class A statewide this winter. The Broncos return their entire team from last year’s 11-8 club that reached the regional quarterfinals, a group led by Moore and senior guards Brad Dolan and Nolan Turner.
The Broncos also will be buoyed by the addition of junior point guard Graham Safford, a transfer from Camden Hills of Rockport who helped lead the Windjammers to a 22-0 record and the Class B state championship last winter.