Bloomington – What others might see as a mess, Daniel Moore sees as an opportunity.
That's why the 5-10, 165-pound point guard from Carmel (Ind.) H.S. wasn't turned off by the state of the IU program and decided to accept an offer to walk-on…twice.
Moore's first opportunity came courtesy former coach Kelvin Sampson, who saw Moore play at a pair of his Elite summer camps and decided to offer him a spot on the roster last summer. After Sampson's stormy exit Moore knew his spot on the bench was no longer guaranteed, but new IU Coach Tom Crean saw plenty to like as well and reaffirmed the chance to join the team in the fall.
"With Coach Crean being new and the fact he had never seen me play I was worried that the chance might not be there," Moore said. "But luckily he talked to a lot of people that had seen me play and heard about me. He said he still wanted me and it all worked out."
While Moore is fulfilling a lifelong dream to play for the Hoosiers, he had to pass up a scholarship offer from Boston University to make it happen. But tuition and board wasn't enough to keep him from seizing an opportunity to play in Bloomington.
"IU is where I've always wanted to be," Moore said. "Both my parents went to IU, so I've always followed IU basketball. I've watched so many games I can't count. As difficult as it was to turn down a place where I might have made a bigger impact, I've always wanted to be a Hoosier."
While it's rare for freshman walk-ons to make much of an impact, Moore knows the opportunity might be there to provide immediate assistance next fall. Indiana only has eight scholarship players in the fold thus far with two weeks remaining during the spring signing period. Of the 10 players currently slated to be on the 2008-09 roster, seven will be first-year players.
Moore has some noteworthy credentials. He averaged 13.4 points, 3.4 rebounds and 7.6 assists as a senior, leading Carmel to state championship game. He was also recently tabbed as one of 14 players selected to the Indiana All-Star team.
"I'm going to have to be someone who can help in anyway I can," Moore said. "I don't think I'm going to have a starting role or anything, so I'm going to have to come in and give minutes whenever I can."
The opportunity to play at IU was a big draw for Moore, but he was probably more intrigued by the chance to come in and be a part of rebuilding the program. Next season promises to be a challenging one thanks to the recent NCAA violations and the mass exodus of players, but Moore sees brighter days ahead.
"I'm got a special opportunity," Moore said. "It's going to be a special feeling when it's all done. It's exciting to be a part of IU basketball and I get to be a part of the rebuilding phase, and hopefully I can be a piece to help it. It's a rewarding opportunity in a lot of ways."
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