From left, Jay Moore of Bounce Nation and John Casale of TC Basketball
Jay Moore had his promising basketball career sidetracked by injury, but he had solid connections in the Atlanta area and was brought onto the coaching staff at Lovejoy High School, one of the stronger prep environments in the South. From there, he established his name as a trainer and then started Bounce Nation basketball, with his AAU team firing up in 2014.
There’s a powerful list of players on the Bounce Nation roster these days: Anaya Boyd is a 6-foot point guard from Lovejoy who sits No. 35 on the ESPNw rankings for the Class of 2020, and she’s joined by Loyal McQueen (5-foot-6 point guard), who has committed to North Carolina and is ranked No. 23 on the Class of 2020 list. Also flexing serious talent is 2020 grad Genesis Bryant, a 5-7 point guard who was last year’s Georgia Class 6A player of the year. Fans will also want to keep their eyes peeled for rising stars Olympia Chaney (2021), Courtney Gardner (2021) and Ari Dyson (2023).
Bounce Nation puts time an energy into helping female athletes in terms of education as well; Moore’s mother has been a teacher for 30-plus years and helps with tutoring, while Moore will work with high school coaches to make sure multiple resources are available to help with schoolwork.
Moore swung by the Triple Crown home office in late September and sat down to answer a few questions about girls club basketball and Bounce Nation.
You were brought onto the staff at Lovejoy High School as an assistant coach after your knee injury. How did that job impact you?
It was a blessing, with my head coach from there giving me that opportunity. It gave me an avenue to still show I could touch the community. I needed an outlet, because I wanted to be a resource for those kids out there. It was the foundation where I built my style as a coach … I never looked back, and I’m grateful for that injury because it put me in the career I want to do for the rest of my life.
How did you move from being a high-level male athlete to finding inspiration working in girls basketball?
The purity of the sport ... you know, I won a lot of games with the boys on pure athleticism. With the girls, there’s so much more teaching and training and working with developing the IQ for the game. It drew me in from my playing days; I was a pure point guard, and I’m not as interested in just “wow” moments. Don’t get me wrong … my girls will throw alley-oops up … but the high-level skill of those girls to play (outside of) athleticism reeled me in.
What compelled you to start your own business with Bounce Nation?
I trained girls to get ready for D-I basketball, so I was OK with the (high-level) environment, but coaching them was more of a gray area. If I got very in-your-face, stern, hold you accountable … I wasn’t sure if that would be something that pushed girls away. But that wasn’t a problem, and it’s been great.
What do parents and players have to be aware of to thrive in AAU basketball?
It’s a mindset we make them develop. We are a program built on competitiveness and production. You have to come in and compete against whoever every day, and that’s something we pride ourselves on. And everything in life is about production; if you’re at your job and not producing, you’re going to get fired. If you’re out here with us, you don’t get to shoot 30 shots and say you’re an all-American. You have to produce. Every opponent, every drill, every time you walk on the floor.
What’s your take on the evolution and growth of the skills in girls basketball since Bounce Nation began?
The modern female player has amazing skills; what these girls can do, the ones at the top level, they are just amazing. There are a lot of boys who can’t do those things with a basketball. And the piece everyone still sleeps on is the athleticism. In our practices, we have dunk contests and we aren’t lowering the rims. And they’re not just seniors who are 6-foot-4. Girls hitting reverse layups, jumping high in the air, chasing down a girl and blocking a shot off the backboard … these things are through the roof in just the past three or four years.
What keeps you going year in and year out with the game, dealing with the travel and parents and other demands?
Changing the lives of families … helping break generational curses of poverty by sending girls to college. What drives me is seeing that kid who goes to college and no one in that family has ever gone before. For that kid to get a big-time scholarship, and to get (an education) when you’re done outside of basketball … you are changing that generational curse for a family, not just a kid. I look at it from that standpoint, and it motivates me every day.