HARMELING: Talking hoops with Reggie Moore

POP QUIZ: WHICH Cougar leads the team with 1.99 pps (points per shot)? It's not scoring machine Klay Thompson. And it's not dunk-crazy Marcus Capers. Believe it, it's the frosh from Seattle, Reggie Moore. Indeed, lost in the shuffle of Thompson's scoring and WSU's Alaska Shootout Championship, some are overlooking the incredible season being authored by the young, talented Cougar point guard.

Just take a peek at the stat line of Reggie Moore - 13.5 points, 4.5 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game, plus an efficient 2:1 assist-to-turnover ratio.

And he's scored in double figures in 9-of-10 games for Ken Bone's Cougs. Now, if they only kept a stat on how many times he's crossed over his defender..

WHILE THE COUGS took a week off from games for finals week, Moore and I chatted about why he's a Coug, who really is the best dunker on the team, a glimpse at the future and more.

It must be noted that my first call went straight to his voicemail. Huh. Probably studying for finals. So when he called back 20 minutes later, sure enough, he said he was buried in the books. Believe him? Keep reading…

CF.C: A lot of people probably thought you were crazy for turning down an offer from Memphis and canceling your trip to UCLA. Why did you chose WSU?
Moore: Well, I already knew a bunch of people at WSU and I know they loved it. Casto was one of them and on my recruiting trip he showed me a good time. But more than anything else I really liked coach Bone.

CF.C: It seems like everyone on the team loves that whole coaching staff. Are there any assistants that you are especially close with?
Moore: Definitely, coach (Curtis) Allen. Sometimes we'll talk about basketball- but most of the time it's just "life" stuff.

CF.C: You were my odds on favorite to win the dunk contest at Midnight Madness. I know Marcus Capers took the crown, but let's be honest here -- who's the better dunker, you or Marcus?
Moore: Me! I'm shorter and it looks way better.

CF.C: But who has the higher vertical?

Side note: I'll never forget watching the new incoming freshman play for the first time as Moore snuck away on a fast break. The result? A monster 2-handed windmill. I turned to one of the managers and said, "I don't think we ever had anyone that could do that!"

CF.C: What was in like playing in the Kennel for the first time?
Moore: The Kennel…that's Gonzaga right? Man that was a lot of fun…it got me pumped hearing the fans. And the music was great too. I think it being such a crazy environment actually helped us because it got us pumped.

CF.C: I think anyone watching that game saw you weren't afraid of that kind of environment. In fact, you seem like a fearless player no matter what court you play on. How did you develop that fearlessness?
Moore: When I was a kid, like 11 or 12 years old, I always played against much older guys. So now, when I play against juniors or seniors, it doesn't seem like that big of a deal to me.

CF.C: Your cousin is Aaron Brooks from the Houston Rockets. Ever get to play against him back in Seattle?
Moore: "Yeah, we used to have some pretty good games when guys would come back and play at my high school. Aaron, Jamal Crawford, Terrence Williams, Nate Robinson, Tre Simmons, guys like that.

CF.C: You do a lot of things very well on the court. What's the biggest thing about your game you want to improve?
Moore: Definitely, off-ball defense. I really need to focus more. Defense is about effort, not talent. So I'm really trying hard in practice to focus on it and make it a habit for the games.

CF.C: Finish this sentence: This season will be a success if..
Moore: We bring our defensive effort for 40 minutes a game.

CF.C: Fast forward two years. Where do you think this team has the potential to go?
Moore: Pac-10 Champs. It's going to be tough to get there, but that's ultimately where we want to get to. Also, make a run deep in the NCAA tourney...like the Elite 8. Maybe even further.

CF.C: I like the sound of that. So when's your last final?
Moore: Oh, I'm already done.

CF.C: You said when you called me back that you were busy studying..?
Moore: Laughter. More laughter. Some indiscernible words. Well you know, gotta stay ahead of the game. It's never too early to prepare for next semester, right?

Now that's the definition of getting caught with your hand in the cookie jar.

Kinda like when defenders reach for Moore's cross-over.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Daven Harmeling was a mainstay on the Washington State basketball team – and a fixture on the Pac-10 All-Academic team – during the most successful three-year stretch in Cougar history. Part of Dick Bennett's stellar recruiting class of 2004, this Grand Junction, Colo., product completed his eligibility last season and now is in Vancouver, Wash., running clinics for Dan Dickau Basketball, coaching high school ball, and working as a substitute teacher. He is writing a regular column for Cougfan.com this season.

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