‘Stat stuffer’: Former Handley star Moore etches name in Shepherd’s record book
SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. — When Shepherd University men’s basketball coach Justin Namolik recruited former Handley High School standout Chad Moore, he said it was critical to have firepower in the high-scoring West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Fast forward four years and Moore has delivered more points, rebounds and steals than almost anyone else that’s ever worn a Shepherd uniform.
The former Judges standout and two-time Winchester Star Boys’ Basketball Player of the Year will play his final regular season home game on Senior Night against W.Va. Wesleyan at 7:30 tonight in what’s been a sensational four-year career.
After the 6-foot-5 Moore earned West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference All-Freshman team honors following the 2009-10 season where he averaged 14 points and 8.9 rebounds, he steadily improved those numbers each year. Moore ranks fifth all-time in scoring (2,015), fourth in rebounding (1,024) and third in steals (224) — and his 65 steals this year are just three shy of the Rams’ single-season school record.
On Monday night, Moore etched his named into Shepherd’s record books, scoring 14 points in the first half (and 29 in the game) to become just the third player in school history (joining Dave Russell and Mark Palmer) with 2,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds.
“When I first recruited him, I knew he was going to give us some athleticism and some size and he could rebound for us,” Namolik recalled. “But if you would have told me four years ago that he would accomplish what he’s done I don’t know if I would have believed it.”
Moore leads the Rams in scoring (22 points), rebounding (9.3), steals (2.6) and blocks (0.9) and he has a team-best 11 double-doubles (which pushes his career total to 51).
“He’s really blossomed as our go-to guy in the last two years,” Namolik said. “You look at sheer numbers, it’s really impressive. He’s going to finish as a 2,000-point scorer and [over] a 1,000 rebounds and there’s only two guys in the history of Shepherd basketball that have ever done that. I think one of the things that’s overlooked is him making steals. Last year he was top five in the conference and he’s up there again this year. He’s a stat stuffer.”
When Moore first left Handley he planned to play at Hagerstown Community College (Md.), but he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee while playing a pick-up game in Winchester. That injury put his collegiate career on hold, but he was able to rehab his knee and take classes at Lord Fairfax Community College.
Moore said that injury might have been a blessing in disguise because it allowed him to work on his shot and his strength and conditioning. He bulked up from 195 pounds during his playing days at Handley to 215 by the time he tried out for coach Namolik at Shepherd.
Moore admits that it took some time to adjust to the pace of the game at the Division-II level as a freshman, but he said working hard in practice helped ease that transition.
“It’s been a learning experience every year,” said Moore, who was named to the Basketball Times Division II Preseason All-America team. “The first year I know I didn’t come practice hard every day and coach [Namolik] stayed on me about that. I think that was the biggest help, just taking practice more serious.
“[The game] has slowed down a lot since I first got here. Now I can feel like I’m not rushing everything and letting the game come to me.”
Although Moore’s grown tremendously as a player, Namolik said another reason for his development that can’t be overlooked is his personal growth. Namolik said Moore’s turning point came during his sophomore year when he had a 24-point (9 of 11 from the free-throw line), 10-rebound performance in 92-88 win on the road against California (Pa.) on Dec. 30, 2010.
“I think for him it’s just been a mindset,” Namolik said. “He’s really matured. Another example of that is how he deals with adversity on the court. Early in his career in his freshman year, if he was struggling he’d get down on himself and his production would suffer.
“I think one of the games that stands out for me is when we went to Cal his sophomore year. It was probably the first game he played really well on the road and it’s kind of a breakout game. Ever since that moment I feel like he’s handled adversity on the road — or when he’s not playing well — much better. I think that’s a testament for him to achieve what he’s achieved.”
Moore became just the fourth player at Shepherd to eclipse the 1,000-rebound mark with game-highs of 24 points and 13 rebounds in the Rams’ 68-61 loss on the road to Seton Hill last Thursday.
Handley boys’ basketball coach Tommy Dixon, who coached Moore when he was The Star’s Player of the Year in 2006 and 2007, said back in 2007 that very few players had come through Handley with Moore’s type of skills.
Dixon said the fact that the same can be said of Moore at Shepherd is a testament to his determination after his knee injury and his drive to improve his game throughout his career with the Rams.
“Chad has worked hard, showing what he could do and he’s performed at a very high level at Shepherd,” Dixon said. “Chad had goals when he left [Handley] and he worked hard, and we’re all proud of what he’s accomplished on the court.”
Moore trails only Mark Palmer (1,322 rebounds), Dave Russell (1,201) and Larry Boomer (1,039) on the Rams’ all-time rebounding list. He is just 15 shy of tying Boomer for third, and his 2,015 points ranks him fifth on the Rams’ all-time scoring list.
Moore said finishing in the top five in both scoring and rebounding on the Rams’ all-time lists is something he never dreamed of when he came to Shepherd.
“I guess [the point and rebound totals] will mean more to me later, but now I’ll trade it all in for winning a ring [in the WVIAC tournament],” said Moore, a first team All-WVIAC selection last year. “I’ve just wanted to [help] take that step toward being a top-of-the-pack team [in the WVIAC] and just try to make that change. It’s been great. This [team] is like my second family.”
Moore hopes to help the Rams (14-11 overall, 11-10 in sixth place in 15-team WVIAC standings) make a run in the conference tournament that starts with first-round games on Tuesday.
“We’ve been competing,” Moore said. “I don’t feel like we’re doing what we should be doing [in terms of wins and losses lately] but it’s the WVIAC and it’s tough from top to bottom. I’m looking forward to the postseason and hopefully we can be playing our best basketball then.”
After garnering first team all-conference and WVIAC all-tournament honors as a junior last season, Namolik predicts that Moore might receive a few more accolades because he’s performed at such a high level once again this year.
“He fills up the stat sheet every night,” Namolik said. “Last year with him being first team all-conference kind of speaks for itself. He’s definitely going to be a first team all-conference player this year. It will be interesting to see if the coaches pick him as the player of the year — which I think he has a chance to do.”
— Contact Robert Stocks at firstname.lastname@example.org
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