Former Christ Presbyterian Academy (CPA) star Braeden Moore spent this past season playing for Donda Academy, the Simi Valley, Calif. prep school started by Grammy-winning musician Kanye West that has attracted several top-rated high school athletes.
Moore, a three-star recruit and former Mr. Basketball finalist at CPA, recently committed to BYU for his collegiate basketball career, choosing the Cougars over Kansas, Auburn, Wisconsin, Tennessee, West Virginia, Ole Miss, and Arizona State, among others.
The Home Page spoke with Moore following his year at Donda Academy, the inaugural season for the program.
This interview has been condensed and edited for length and clarity.
HP: How did the opportunity to play for Donda Academy first come about?
Moore: Basketball is a small world. Just talking to the right people and knowing the right people, making connections from being around the world of basketball for a long time.
HP: What’s it been like playing on a team full of high-level players from all over the country?
Moore: It's a battle, but it's fun. We fight through adversity every day as a team. I've gotten 10 times better than I was when I first came here. That says a lot. We went to state finals and, I was a Mr. Basketball finalist. And to think that I'm better than that is exciting. It's amazing, and it's been fun.
HP: What has the off-court transition been like?
Moore: It's been good. I have family out here. I was born two hours south of here. Well, really an hour-thirty, but traffic in LA is crazy. I actually live with my grandparents. I don't live with the team. I still travel with the team. I do everything the same, but I just live with my grandparents. I make the trek every day to the gym. It's a good balance. It was good being around my family. I usually only get to see them twice a year, so it's good to have them in your life. You're able to do stuff like go to church together, at least as much as I can. I don't get a lot of time off ever.
HP: What was it like being around Kanye West?
Moore: It's been awesome. I've met some amazing people and, I got nothing but respect for Kanye, to be honest. He's phenomenal. People think of the craziness online and all that sort of stuff, but that’s all show. It's just social media. He shows up at our games and practices. He'll talk to us. He's a really nice, genuine guy. You wouldn't think anything of him, other than the fact that he like dresses kind of eccentric with his clothing. But that's part of it too, I’ve got like nine Yeezys boxes I haven’t opened.
HP: How did your time at CPA prepare you for this?
Moore: The thing that translated the best was being able to shoot the ball. I think that's what's going to carry me the most wherever I play. I think that set me up the most, but also just mentally, Coach Drew [Maddux] being my mentor. He's still my mentor. We still talk, even though he's not my coach anymore and he's not a coach, period. He definitely set me up in being in a culture that is unique. I think I was spoiled. I didn't realize that CPA culture is unique. It’s fun; it's exciting. You see the bench cheering. It's not like that normally. To do that and win at a really high level and play against high-level opponents prepared me for the next level. Coach Drew giving me a green light and giving me full confidence and believing in me every day was what really gave me the ability to do what I need to do.