Men’s Basketball: The Moore the better

Matt Forman

It comes as a surprise when Craig Moore is not somewhere on the court.

In the huddle, he calls the plays. After a missed shot, he’s there to pick his teammates up. And when the team needs a clutch shot, he is Mr. Big Shot.

It’s safe to call Moore Superman. And he doesn’t have a kryptonite.

“Craig Moore is really the rock that holds that ship down,” former Northwestern guard Tim Doyle said. “He’s everywhere on the floor and he just does everything.”

On the court, Moore may just be faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

But it wasn’t always that way.

As a freshman, Moore averaged 6.8 points per game in just over 27 minutes per contest. The next year, the then-sophomore from Doylestown, Pa., averaged 8.1 points in roughly the same number of minutes.

Struggling to find consistency at the end of his sophomore season, something clicked for the 6-foot-3 sharpshooting guard. He saw Doyle, then a senior, running sprints after every practice.

Moore knew what he had to do: Get in the best shape of his life.

“I just went to work,” Moore said. “I changed my eating habits, I went to the gym as much as possible and ran. I just went in my driveway and ran up and back as many times as possible.”

It paid off. Aside from two blowout wins this season, Moore has played at least 35 minutes in every game. Last year he played at least 26 minutes in the Cats’ 28 contests.

“He’s in such great shape that he never gets tired,” coach Bill Carmody said. “Other teams are after him the whole game and he never wears out. I take him out not because he needs a blow, but just so my assistants won’t bother me.”

As Moore got in better shape, the numbers began to show up in the box score. As a sophomore, he shot just .367 from the floor and .328 from beyond the arc. Now, Moore is shooting .451 from the field and .427 from long distance while turning the ball over less and dishing out more assists.

Everything came full circle for Moore. He gained the respect of his teammates and coaches and turned into the ultimate floor general.

“He’s definitely an extension of coach Carmody on the floor,” freshman center Kyle Rowley said. “He knows the offense as well as anybody. He finds ways to make everything work.”

Rowley added that Moore helped him get through a shooting slump earlier in the season.

But it’s not his shooting ability, leadership qualities or level of intensity that Moore wants to be remembered for as a player.

“I want my teammates to call me a killer,” Moore said. “I want them to know I do whatever I can do to win the game, whether it’s make the extra pass or make the 3-pointer. That’s what I’ll do. Just a killer.”

Moore has already proven to his teammates that he can take over a game, be there for them during tough times and pour his heart onto the hardwood. Now, his teammates want to repay the senior for his service time, starting with Thursday’s game against in-state rival Illinois at Welsh-Ryan Arena.

“We just want to pay him back for all the hard work he’s put into the program in the last four years,” Rowley said. “He really deserves it.”

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