Tiffany Moore's dream still intact

It's been a week since Tiffany Moore made her second and final official visit. The No. 22 prospect in the ESPN HoopGurlz Hundred was on Texas A&M's campus last weekend and visited the University of Texas on Sept. 25. On Sunday she made her college decision to become a Longhorn.

Moore, a versatile 5-foot-10 guard from Frisco, Texas, had it in her heart to stay in-state. She had let the staff at Maryland, her one out-of-state finalist, know she was going to stay closer to home. Moore had previously made unofficial visits to her two finalists and also to LSU, but the real dilemma for her was not the facilities at each institution, nor was it distance from home. It was the retirement of a legendary coach that sent her recruitment on a roller-coaster ride.

Between Moore's eighth-grade and ninth-grade years, colleges began courting the budding star through her club and high school coaches. Both of her finalists were among the first schools to start recruiting her, and the youngster was enamored with the Longhorns' Hall of Fame coach, Jody Conradt.

"Early on it was Jody Conradt and then Texas," Moore said of the order of importance.

Conradt retired in March 2007 with 900 career wins during her 38 seasons as a head coach, 31 of which were in Austin, to which she brought the 1986 NCAA championship.

"My heart just dropped. It was my dream school," said Moore, who was informed of Conradt's retirement by her club coaches. "Playing for her would [have been] amazing."

Replacing Conradt was Gail Goestenkors, who took over the Duke program in 1992 at the age of 29. Her tenure in Durham left her ranked in the top five in both active and all-time winning percentage. With those accolades in tow, she stepped in as just the third coach in Longhorns history.

"I was a little bit worried," Moore said of the coaching change. "She's a great coach. I just didn't know if she was going to be interested in me."

As one of the top prospects in the country, Moore's may have been an emotional reaction unfounded in reality. Moore remained one of the top in-state prospects. Thus the recruitment by Texas began -- again.

"She's real. She says how it is and how it's going to be," Moore said of Goestenkors.

Moore was looking for a coach who could provide the genuine connection she felt with Conradt, the feeling that the staff cared about her beyond the basketball court. She found it in both the Aggies' coaching staff, headed by Gary Blair, which she said was "family strong," and with Goestenkors' staff at Texas.

"Even though we're young, academically [Goestenkors] she wants us to make it out in the real world," Moore said. "She cares about me a person and as a woman."

Moore is very aware that basketball can be taken away by a freak injury, and academics are as important to her as making an impact on the court.

The Frisco High School star plays a very different role on her high school team than she does with her club team. A year ago, her DFW T-Jack Elite club team was loaded up and down the roster at every position, and she burst into the national spotlight as a solid shooting guard prospect. This past summer the team had graduated nearly all its size and Moore found herself playing everywhere on the court.

"I learned as a player it's good to be versatile," Moore said.

The other big difference is the leadership role she plays. Confident and articulate, Moore is a natural vocal leader, but with point guard Odyssey Sims on her club team she didn't have to fill that role. With Frisco she gets to be herself -- a constant vocal presence on the court. After playing in an open gym with the Longhorns, Moore received positive and reassuring feedback from the players for her outgoing and confident on-court verbal support.

Moore is the fourth player in the 2010 class to commit to Goestenkors, and the highest-ranked of the bunch. She will join 6-2 forward Anne Marie Hartung of Bowling Green, Mo., who is ranked No. 93 in the class; 5-10 guard Chelsea Bass from Houston; and Chassidy Fussell, a 5-10 guard from Union City, Tenn.

That group will look to replace three of the team's top scorers in top Horn Brittainey Raven, forward Kristen Nash and shooter Erika Arriaran, as well as forward Earnesia Williams, who was second on the team in rebounding and sixth in scoring.

Moore will have big shoes to fill in helping replace Raven, but she's looking forward to the challenge.

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Chris Hansen is the national director of prospects for ESPN HoopGurlz and covers girls' basketball and women's college basketball prospects nationally for ESPN.com. A graduate of the University of Washington with a communications degree, he has been involved in the women's basketball community since 1998 as a high school and club coach, trainer, evaluator and reporter. Hansen can be reached at chris.hansen@espn3.com.