February 11, 2017 Atlanta - Georgia Tech's guard Justin Moore (0) brings the ball upcourt past Boston College's guard Ky Bowman (0) in a basketball game at McCamish Pavilion on Saturday, February 11, 2017. Georgia Tech won 65 - 54 over the Boston College. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC/hshin@ajc.com
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC/hshin@ajc.com

Justin Moore explains transfer decision

Georgia Tech sophomore guard Justin Moore said he wants to transfer to a school closer to home and is not leaving because of his reduced playing time.

“I’ve gone through a lot the last two years,” Moore told the AJC. “It’s been a long two years.”

Moore announced his plans to transfer Thursday, two days after the Yellow Jackets’ season ended in an ACC Tournament loss to Boston College. Moore called it a tough decision to leave Tech because of his friendships within the team.

But Moore, from San Diego, said he was depressed being away from home. It didn’t help, he said, that former Tech assistant coach Darryl LaBarrie was not with the team this season. In 2016, LaBarrie recruited Moore to Tech when Moore was released from his letter of intent with Tulane after its coaching change.

LaBarrie was put on paid leave in November and then resigned in February as an NCAA investigation into an alleged rules violation extended well into the season. Before Moore came to Tech, the two had a relationship through a close friend of Moore’s who had played for LaBarrie when he was an assistant at Georgia State.

“He was the reason I came 3,000 miles from home,” Moore said. “It was difficult to me. That was another part that was hard on me.”

Moore’s playing time was significantly reduced this season. He played 34 games and 639 minutes last season, averaging 4.4 points, but only eight games and 110 minutes this season, averaging .9 points. He did not play in the final 21 games, even as point guard Jose Alvarado was lost for the final seven games because of an elbow fracture. Moore said that coach Josh Pastner did not give him a reason why he wasn’t playing him.

“I know the type of player I am; I know what I bring to the table,” Moore said. “They’ve got their reasons.”

Pastner said that he has given Moore an unconditional release in his transfer options.

“We appreciate what Justin brought to this team,” Pastner said in an email. “He is a fine young man. We support him in his future plans and wish him all the best.”

Moore is the second Tech player to transfer from the school since Pastner’s hire in April 2016. Christian Matthews left Tech after last season.

Moore said he’ll stay through the end of the semester. He said a school in California would be ideal, but he is open to “anywhere out West.”

“I’ve got to tell everybody I appreciate everything,” Moore said. “I’m thankful for everything I’ve been through. It has bettered me.”

Tech has one open scholarship.