Braeden Moore could answer a lot of roster questions for BYU basketball heading into the final season of the West Coast Conference.

Moore signed with the Cougars this past week after taking visits to Nebraska and Wisconsin. He previously committed to Rutgers last fall.

The thing about Moore is his versatility. At 6-foot-8 and 215 pounds, he can play small or big forward. He has a solid post game to take advantage of mismatches down low or from outside the 3-point line.

What Moore is not is the beefy rebounding machine that Baylor-bound Caleb Lohner has been for the Cougars.

On the other hand, Lohner, an elite rebounding talent, struggled to establish himself as a consistent scorer from under the basket and beyond the arc.

If there is one feature Pope really needed out of his team, it was the consistent firepower he got out of that COVID-19 season with Jake Toolson, TJ Haws, Alex Barcello, Yoeli Childs and Zac Seljaas.

You can’t time travel, but the roster he had last year needed more of the 2019-20 flair.  

That looked to be a trademark of his teams at UVU and that first year at BYU.

Last year’s team was a salad of new faces, but it lacked dressing.

Many times, the team, hit hard by injuries to big men early in the season, was tough to watch, cringeworthy.

Last year featured a double-teamed Barcello, a struggling Lohner and streaky transfer Seneca Knight, all fighting for time with Trevin Knell and Spencer Johnson. They couldn’t consistently find that game-to-game offense an NCAA-bound team requires.

Why Spencer Johnson believes ‘big things’ are ahead for Cougars despite sea of change
BYU basketball adds 3-star forward Braeden Moore to its 2022 recruiting class

Perhaps this signings of guard Rudi Williams (Coastal Carolina) and Moore will elevate Pope’s offense, along with the continued development of freshmen Fouss Traore and Atiki Ally Atiki and return of Gideon George, Knell and Johnson.

Moore, once a runner-up for Mr. Basketball in Tennessee before finishing his senior year at Donda Academy in Simi Valley, California, describes himself as an elite scorer who can post up and take a defender outside. He likes to play defense, takes pride in taking charges and is a team player.

In an interview with ESPN 960’s Ben Criddle, Moore said Pope liked him for a myriad of reasons. One of them was how he would fit into the locker room and help build chemistry.  He told BYUtv he didn’t expect to play right away, that he had goals rather than expectations. “My goals is to do everything I can to help get wins,” said Moore.

Meet the woman helping BYU build ‘the best locker room in America’

A four-star forward according to ESPN, and a three-star rated forward by 247sports, it would really help Pope if Moore turned out to be a Devin Durrant, Travis Hansen, Lee Cummard-type shooter who can play the three or four and be an impact as a genuine scoring threat.

That would elevate everybody else’s game on the roster.

Moore said he is known for his shooting ability and Pope told him that was his “super power” as a player. “He (Pope) said he thinks he can develop other parts of my game and complement that,” said Moore.

Moore described other attributes he believes will help, things we’ve heard about in Barcello, the Haws boys and others. He’s a gym rat.

Moore hit 37% from 3 and 45% from the field in high school.

“I’m a workhorse so I’m all for it. Pope thinks I’ll fit into the locker room really well and fit in with the guys culturally. That’s a big thing these days.”

I read into that that Moore is not a prima donna. He doesn’t make it all about him, and he’s not coming to BYU to buck the system of policies and lifestyle or pout and threaten to transfer when things get tough.

Moore said his father, who is from California, had buddies who attended BYU and he is very familiar with Provo and the school. Originally recruited by assistant Chris Burgess, Moore had offers from SEC, Big 12, Big East, MWC and WCC schools, in addition to Cincinnati, Boston College, Xavier, Ohio, Liberty, Memphis and James Madison.

It remains to be seen how Moore or Williams will fit in or how productive they will be. But if Williams turns out to be a scorer with handles and Moore can snap the net from inside and out, Pope will have succeeded in filling the key needs after an NIT season.

Maybe he can’t speed-dial the marketing department yet, but he can see the button better today than two weeks ago.

Pope would do well to finish recruiting this spring by signing a big post player.

But if Moore is anything like a developing Durrant or Hansen — a guy who can hit shots from a myriad of positions — he’s on the right track.

BYU basketball coach Mark Pope and his staff are looking to replace some players on the roster who entered the transfer portal this week.
BYU head coach Mark Pope yells at the referee after a foul by the Cougars as the Brigham Young Cougars play the Northern Iowa Panthers in an NIT game at the Marriott Center in Provo on Saturday, March 19, 2022. BYU won 90-71. | Mengshin Lin, Deseret News