“P.H.A.S.E. 1’s “Athlete of the Week” race has heated up with all our athletes responding extremely well to the level of intensity and goals we have mutually set for them. This past week, 6’9” IUPUI graduate senior, Maurice “Mo” Kirby, separated himself from the pack with his efforts inside and outside of the gym, including his strong nutritional habits. Many athletes gain and lose weight, but the discipline to do it can vary depending on one’s metabolism. Mo, unfortunately, wasn’t gifted with a fast metabolism, and like many college athletes, their nutritional habits are the result of trying to survive the busy training and class schedule while on campus. This kind of lifestyle makes meal prepping an absolute must. Still, it’s extremely difficult to keep up whether living off-campus on a slim budget or sorting through a whole lot of poor options in school cafeterias.
After witnessing what Mo was able to accomplish in one week, we realized his career to date was not a reflection of the dedicated basketball player inside. Born in Flagstaff, Arizona, Mo spent his first year of high school at Flagstaff H.S., then moved over to Poston Butte H.S. It was then that Mama Kirby made the decision to move Mo and his brother Devin to Phoenix, Arizona. She knew this move gave them the best chance possible to develop as basketball players. Mo spent his final two years of high school at Basha H.S. in Chandler, Arizona. The Bears would make playoffs and Mo would finish as the team’s MVP.
The opportunities for AAU ball were very difficult in Flagstaff. Prior to moving to Phoenix, Mama Kirby would make the two and a half hour drive from Flagstaff to Phoenix twice a week, plus many times over the weekends. All this for Mo and Devin to play for the Arizona Gym Rats. On many occasions, Mo made the journey by himself by bus. This commitment to his basketball development prepared Mo for even greater opportunities that would follow.
One day while at basketball camp, Mo met an AAU Coach from California who invited him to Los Angeles, California to play for the “I Can All Stars”. For two months, Mo had to leave home to stay and train with his new coach. It would prove to be a pivotal move for him. Mo trained daily through June and by July, he went on tour throughout California, Houston, Chicago, and Kansas, where his team won the Jayhawk Invitational Tournament. The end results of his commitment would be offers from Brown U., Northern Arizona U., Virginia Tech, Loyola Chicago, and more. Despite a verbal commitment to Arizona State University when he was only 15 years old, Mo chose to start his collegiate career in the ACC at Virginia Tech University.
Mo’s collegiate career experienced many ups and downs leading to a couple transfers and a not so illustrious end. However, Mo being a very good academic student and a redshirt in his Freshman year created a window of opportunity. His 3.5 GPA the first two years of college combined with his redshirt year at Virginia Tech made him immediately eligible after graduation to play a final graduation year at any school interested. Mo reached out to few schools that recruited him in the past. Main U., Longwood U., and Nicholls State University all had interest, but it was Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis (IUPUI) that would be Mo’s final choice. IUPUI Head Coach Jeff Gardner was the former assistant at Loyola University in Chicago that recruited Mo.
Even with a new start ahead of him, Mo still has the challenge of only a single season to reach his goal of becoming a professional basketball player. For Mo, he has overcome many obstacles already in his basketball life and this is just another hill to climb on his “Journey of an Elite 1”.
“My goals are to help my team get to the NCAA Tournament and for me to become the best player possible. I have already started honing my skill sets and developing a good go to and counter move on the post. Then once school is done, I will pursue basketball on a professional level overseas or in Canada.” – Maurice Kirby
Mo’s connection with P.H.A.S.E 1 was through his younger brother Devin “DK” Kirby, a 6’11 freshman at Montana State University. DK had great success with P.H.A.S.E. 1 in high school after a serious injury left him with poor mobility and in need of increasing his muscle mass. In less than three months, P.H.A.S.E. 1 was able to help DK greatly improve his mobility and add 20lbs of lean muscle to his frame.
“I saw what P.H.A.S.E. 1 was able to do for my brother, DK, so I knew they could help me. I wanted to not just be trained, but to have an understanding of my weaknesses and strengths in order to better take control of my development as an athlete. Also, I really wanted to learn about better nutrition in order to drop weight for this season.” – Maurice Kirby
Within the first 10 days of training and staying in P.H.A.S.E. 1’s athlete residence, Mo quickly lost 4lbs and almost 2% body fat. He learned his athleticism was being affected by poor mobility and strength in his hips and how to continue to improve it on his own. In the residence, Mo was able to work directly with P.H.A.S.E. 1 staff on how to shop and meal prep in an effective way for a college athlete.
Mo’s story is another example of how even a dedicated lifelong athlete still has room to improve. P.H.A.S.E. 1 was able to take Mo’s clear passion to be a pro and find new and practical ways to bring him closer to his ultimate goal.