Caledonia Gladiators ace dedicates All Star spot to Scottish fans who have 'welcomed him with open arms'

Caledonia Gladiators center Clifton Moore Jr. will represent Scotland in this weekend's British Basketball League (BBL) All Star Weekend.
Clifton Moore Jr. shoots a free throw for Caledonia Gladiators. Cr. Ross Wardrop.Clifton Moore Jr. shoots a free throw for Caledonia Gladiators. Cr. Ross Wardrop.
Clifton Moore Jr. shoots a free throw for Caledonia Gladiators. Cr. Ross Wardrop.

Caledonia Gladiators American star Clifton Moore Jr. has heralded the 'perspective' his move to Scotland has given him after being selected for the BBL All Star roster in London this weekend.

The Philadelphia center, 24, only joined the franchise last July for his rookie professional season but has seen his stock continue to rise throughout the campaign and has now been chosen as one of the league's best and will take part in this weekend's All Star game at the Copper Box Arena in London.

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"I'm grateful for the opportunity to be selected (for the All Star team) already in my first year," beamed Moore Jr. "The first year comes with highs and lows, learning from the older guys and my coach believing in me and seeing my talent, being able to give me more trust as the season went on and that propelled my confidence. Everything just raised. The biggest thing was being given the confidence and the opportunity.

Double-double on the way to beating Newcastle Eagles

"All Star is unexpected for me. I don't know what is going to happen but I am excited to go to London as I have family coming. I've never been in London, I'll be playing in the All Star game and I'm just excited to smile, laugh and get some highlights. Put on that All Star uniform and take part in the dunk contest and enjoy this little trip" added Moore Jr.

Moore heads into the highly anticipated All Star weekend on the back of a colossal performance against fierce rivals Newcastle Eagles, who they downed 98-80 at the Playsport Arena in East Kilbride last Sunday. The match up came with added spice following a fiery contest last November that saw Gladiators man Prince Onwas ejected after a clash with Jordan Johnson during a 82-73 defeat.

However, the 6ft 11in Philadelphia native was huge for the Gladiators as he picked up a double-double in a game that saw him land 18 points, 17 rebounds, four blocks and four assists. Handing out a defensive masterclass, the display saw fans dub him 'The Block Ness Monster' on social media and Moore admits it's a big boost going into the game on the back of a big win over their nearest rivals.

"It's a really good feeling to get that team win. They (The Eagles) were the only team we hadn't beat. I consider them our rivals because of the match ups and things like that and how intense things got. Prince was ejected because of an altercation with them so we knew we had a lot of energy coming into that game. Its a good feeling coming into All Star. I want to put our team on the map, represent myself, the team, the North. Hopefully it will give us extra positive energy.

Moore Jr. will also be joined by Gladiators head coach Gareth Murray at the All Star weekend after the long serving Scottish boss was selected to be the man to lead the All Star North side at the London Showcase.

The center admitted he is delighted to be shared the All Star experience with the man who identified his talents and brought him to Scotland last summer and said his selection as the head coach of the All Stars speaks volumes about his ability.

Moore Jr. thanks head coach Gareth Murray

"We're a good little duo. We're on the same flight, he's going to be my coach and he has already been my coach the whole year. Him being selected to be All Star coach speaks to how good he is as a coach. We are both going to be representing. It's a good opportunity and we're going to be have a lot of laughs.

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"Gareth does a good job of recruiting players which look at who we are as people - and the talent. He does his research on who they are as people and how it all fits together. Big shout out to my team mates for their part in my success and the teams success because I couldn't be doing it by myself. We are a collective group of talent that can play well together.

"Scotland has given me a good perspective on the world. I have never left America, this is my first stop and my first reference into how the world is. The people are all very kind, they've welcomed me with open arms," explained the 24-year-old.

"It makes the transition pretty easy, some accents are heavier than others but you have embraced me and cared about me - even random people when you talk on the street. They're all so genuine and nice. I think that has helped the transition for me" he added.

The BBL All Star game takes place this Sunday (March 16) and will screen live on Sky Sports Arena, with the game also able to be streamed live on Sky Sports YouTube channel. Coverage begins at 12:15pm for the WBBL All Stars Game and 3pm for the BBL All Star's Game.



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