"A Super Teammate"

Christian Moody's former high school coach Rich Sizemore spends some time sizing up the KU senior's game, and reflecting on how much the Jayhawk fan favorite has changed since arriving on campus.

When Christian Moody posted a career high 18 points on Wednesday night at Colorado it was not just a big night for the Kansas senior – it was also a huge night for “Moody Maniacs” everywhere.  One of Moody’s biggest fans back home in Asheville, NC couldn’t watch the game, but proudly followed every play on his computer.  As Moody scored from all over the floor and racked up his highest point total since high school all Rich Sizemore could do was smile.

“We are just so pleased,” said Moody’s high school coach.  “There are so many people (in Asheville) that follow him.  We are aware of what he’s doing and we set up here last night and watched it on the internet on CBS.SportsLine.com…He is a model kid and any success that he can get (makes us) just so pleased here.”

The former T.C. Roberson High coach has had plenty to smile about these past four years.  Sizemore followed Moody and the Jayhawks to both Anaheim and New Orleans during KU’s Final Four run in Moody’s freshman year.  He’s been to a “Late Night” at Allen Fieldhouse and watched Moody play a significant role on last year’s senior laden team.  Now as a senior, Moody is taking on a new role as a veteran leader and Sizemore thinks Christian fits the part because of his drive to see continued success at Kansas.

“The best thing about him is that he wants Kansas basketball to do well,” explained Sizemore.  “That’s the bottom line.  He just wants to do whatever he needs to do or has to do for that team to succeed. He’s a super teammate.”

Sizemore always knew Moody could be a super teammate at Kansas.  When he and another former T.C. Roberson coach Buddy Baldwin (who coached Roy Williams at Roberson) first started talking about Moody potentially walking-on at Kansas their goal was for Christian to be a hard working teammate that would eventually make an impact by the time he was a senior.  Little did Sizemore know that the journey that would begin in the fall of 2002, would include 25 starts in the 04-05 season and a career high 18 points in Moody’s first conference game of his senior campaign – not to mention CBS announcer Billy Packer wondering out loud if Moody might be the best walk-on ever during the telecast of a KU win at Kentucky in Moody’s junior season.

It’s already been quite a ride for the Kansas senior and his final year is far from over.  The former T.C. Roberson star now has fans across the country and will always be remembered at Kansas as a player who made the most of every opportunity, turning a walk-on chance into a scholarship and becoming a fan favorite that won’t be soon forgotten.  As proud as Sizemore is of the player that Moody has become, the former coach still fondly remembers the scrawny kid that helped him win many games back home in Asheville.

“We lost in the regional finals his senior year and I think that night, I’d say he weighed 185 pounds and I would bet that when he arrived at Kansas he was about 190.  I think that the people that see him now – he’s about an inch taller – I think they are most impressed by probably the thirty pounds he’s put on. And I think the other thing is his confidence.” 

Sizemore attributes Moody’s growth to hard training and good coaching.

“I think the confidence and the size and the strength (is the biggest difference).  He’s been very fortunate to play under two great coaches,” Sizemore said of Williams and current coach Bill Self.  “He’s had so many good experiences out there and I think that its just helped him blossom and I think we are starting to see the end result of the coaching and the experience that he’s had for the past four years.”

So, what will be the ultimate end result of Moody’s career at Kansas?  Time will tell that answer, but one thing that Sizemore can share about the future is a special place for Christian in the T.C. Roberson Athletics trophy case.

“When he graduates, what we’re pushing for is that I want to put his jersey up there.  I think in that trophy case – that’s what I want to see happen – is that jersey up in that jersey case somewhere.  It would be fitting.”

Sizemore will get a glimpse of that jersey up close on Saturday when he travels to Lawrence to take in his first ever, regular season game at Allen Fieldhouse.  With an old friend in the stands and coming off the best game of his career, who knows what Moody might do next?  Ask Sizemore and he’ll tell you the main thing on Christian’s mind each game day is “helping Kansas win” – an attitude that makes “Moody Maniacs” proud across the country, from Lawrence to Asheville and everywhere in between.

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