Ex-Hawk Moore still has Prime Time game

BY TRAVIS VARNER | JUNE 24, 2009 7:21 AM

Former Iowa basketball player Darryl Moore has played in the Prime Time League for more than a decade, but this season may be his last.

A past Prime Time MVP, and a key Hawkeye contributor in his junior and senior seasons (1996-98), Moore is now 33 and contemplating retiring from the summer league. He’s worried the day he does decide to throw in the towel, he’ll regret it too much.

“For the last couple of years, I’ve been saying this is my last, but I think this year actually might be it,” he said. “But everybody tells me as long as you’re still in shape, why not do it. … I won’t say I will play next year, and I won’t say I won’t.”

Moore is wavering so much because he just loves the game. He said thinks it’s a blast to play in the league because it’s competitive basketball. Because he is one of the oldest players, he has tried to be a positive influence and role model for his teammates.

“Basketball is a game where if you’re smarter, you can win. I try to teach those guys how to play the smart way,” he said. “I’m out here as an older guy … so it’s easier for me to build that relationship with those guys, and they listen to me because I’m out there playing hard and leading by example.”

Drafted this season by Vinton Merchants coach Ray Swetalla, Moore has not disappointed fans, averaging double digits in points. Swetalla targeted him early in the draft because he has been such an amazing player for the league. Moore also has a sense of humility that few possess.

“Darryl’s older now, so his ego is out of it — he just wants to play basketball and have fun,” Swetalla said. “He’s very easy to coach with, and he’s very good with the younger players. Just a great young man. The legs are going, but he doesn’t have any break away dunks yet, but by July he will.”

Growing up in the projects of Chicago’s South Side, life wasn’t easy during his childhood. Moore was able to keep his head on straight with the help of a very positive family influence, and he refused to disappoint them. He also participated in sports almost year round.

Moore has lived life making decisions that never disappointed him. He has always led a life believing that if you try your best, that’s all that one can ask. Walking on the Iowa basketball team as a freshman was a nerve-racking experience for him — he had to prove he was capable of being at a Division-I program. He wasn’t nervous about the tryouts per se, because he was confident in his game, but trying out against individuals who already made the team was the hard part.

“I was just the guy out of the blue,” Moore said. “You just go out there, play, and try your hardest — let the chips fall where they may. I was more worried, nervous about, Will I get the opportunity to play?”

Moore made the team, and he went on to have a successful basketball career. His days may be winding down as a competitive basketball player, but he still has skills. Incoming Iowa freshman Eric May faced off against him Monday in a Prime Time matchup and was shocked by his speed.

“I maybe had a step on him, and all a sudden, he recovered and put my shot right in the backboard on a block,” May said. “He’s still good; he’s athletic, too.”

With plays like that, Moore may not be done just yet.

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