They’re the questions everyone has been asking him.
“What was it like playing basketball for a team backed by Kanye West? How often does he comes to games? Do you have his phone number?”
Braeden Moore has heard all of them. When he answers, he does so with aplomb and even some humor. “I have to upload a video of me shaking his hand” to prove he’s met him, Moore says. Will Kanye come to your games in college? “I’ve been told by people around him that — they always say ‘We’ll come out and come see you,’” Moore replies.
Moore’s had a brush with fame. He was even on the cover of “Slam” magazine in January with West and his teammates from Donda Academy in Simi Valley, California.
But in reality, BYU men’s basketball’s most recent signee doesn’t make too much of his connection with the famous rapper who once interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the MTV Video Music Awards. He didn’t attend the school because of West, like he says many people think he did.
Rather, Moore’s decision-making — both in the prep and college basketball world — comes from a simpler and more pure place.
“I didn’t make the decision for the logo of it,” Moore said of why he chose BYU. “I made a decision for the people and the coaches I was around. I made it for the right decision, not for what people think I made it for.”
The Honor Code didn’t faze him. The potential remuneration for his name, imagine and likeness didn’t captivate him. The departure of a popular assistant coach didn’t dismay him. The Big 12 didn’t sway him.
All Braeden Moore wanted in his recruitment was to pick a school that felt right for him. A school with players and coaches he could relate to.
He got that with BYU.
Moore, a Nashville, Tenn., native, is a member of the 2022 recruiting class. He’s 6-foot-8, 210 pounds and a three-star prospect, per 247sports.
Moore has had interest from myriad high- and mid-major programs. He had previously committed to Rutgers University, but last October reopened his recruitment and simultaneously announced his transfer to Donda after playing at Christ Presbyterian Academy in Tennessee.
Moore said he got “cold feet” about Rutgers and decided it was no longer the right for him. From there, he went all over the country on unofficial visits and took four officials — BYU, Rutgers, Wisconsin and Nebraska.
Several things about BYU attracted him. For instance, due to his Christian faith, he had no problem with the campus’ sometimes controversial Honor Code.
“The thing that people struggle with going to BYU is the Honor Code thing, and I have zero issue with it,” Moore said. “I’m a Christian, so I have a similar value system and I value that. … That was attractive to me.”
Moore knew BYU players had benefited from NIL deals, and some schools used NIL in their pitches to him. But it hardly came up in his talks with BYU, he said, and he was happy about that.
“For me, I just realized that’s not what I value,” Moore said. “You go to college to have fun, have an experience, get your degree, make some friends for life and set you up for success. Now, I understand making money along on the way, that makes sense. But you already kind of get money with cost of attendance. So it doesn’t make much sense to me.”
Even BYU’s entrance into the Big 12 in 2023 wasn’t really a selling point for Moore. He would’ve been just as happy if the school would’ve stayed in the West Coast Conference, which he described as a “fantastic league.”
“If they were to stay in [the WCC] for the next 10 years, I still would have gone to BYU no matter what,” Moore said. “But obviously that’s a huge plus it’s in the Big 12.”
So what exactly set BYU apart from the other schools? For one, a home visit from assistant coach Nick Robinson in recent weeks.
“I think it just was great,” Moore said of the visit. “They really respect me and my game and the character I have and the type of person I am. And I want someone who respects me just as a person as much as a basketball player, and I think that’s what they did.”
Moore also was taken by now-teammates Trey Stewart, Trevin Knell and Fousseyni Traore, all of whom he spent time with on his official visit.
“They’re all just such good dudes — just great spirits and just amazing guys,” Moore said. “I went to a couple of visits and I didn’t meet the high quality people that they are. That kind of sold me a bit.”
Although Moore fielded offers from several top programs around the country, Moore wanted to keep things simple and not get carried away by the chance at limelight. Much like he approached prepping at Donda, where he would periodically see celebrities like West, rappers DaBaby, DJ Khalid and Quavo, and NBA players Lonzo Ball and Anthony Edwards.
Some thought Moore joined Donda in order to gain clout due to West’s involvement, he said. But the reality, he said, was that attending Donda meant he would be able to live with his grandparents while getting the chance to prep at a high level.
What really impacted Moore’s game as a member of Donda was working every day with people who trained NBA players.
“That was awesome being able to have those people in your corner who are legit and know what they’re talking about and will support you no matter what decision you make and try to get you better in any way possible,” Moore said.
For Moore, it was never about the bells and whistles of a prep school backed by a famous rapper or a school that could offer him money and potential fame.
“We wanted the old school route of just picking a school for the right reasons and the right intent,” Moore said. “I think that’s what we did.”