Once injured, Moore now bruises WVIAC rivals

One blue-sky, mid-October football Saturday afternoon about six years from now, Shepherd basketball player Chad Moore will be at midfield at Ram Stadium.

It will be halftime of a football game between the Rams and a Mountain East Conference opponent.

Moore will have begun a walk from near the Boone Fieldhouse and moved along the sideline to midfield. He will continue on to the middle of the field and then turn and face the home stands filled with a crowd expecting a Shepherd football victory.

Public address announcer Paddy Alter will introduce “The Shepherd University Hall of Fame Class of 2019” and begin extolling the virtues and the career statistics of “Cha-a-a-d Mo-o-o-o-re.”

Moore will be placed in the Shepherd athletic Hall of Fame.

Chad Moore has scored more than 2,000 points and claimed more than 1,000 rebounds in his three-plus years at Shepherd.

Chad Moore has scored more than 2,000 points and claimed
more than 1,000 rebounds in his three-plus years at Shepherd.

It’s only a matter of time.

What once was an injury-clouded future for the 6-foot-5, 220-pound senior forward, has become a Moore career decorated with all-conference honors and some sort of All-America recognition here at the close of the 2013 season from the NCAA Division II groups that select such things.

Chad Moore will leave Shepherd as the school’s fifth all-time scorer.

Only Dave Russell, Antoine Makle, Mark Palmer, and Rodney Sewell (all Coach Bob Starkey Era players) scored more than 2,000 points in their four-year careers of playing at Sara Cree Hall. Moore has just become a 2,000-point scorer. In any case, he will have only those four prolific scorers in front of him when this season closes.

The John Handley High School (Winchester) graduate will rank even higher on the Shepherd list of career rebounders.

After 22 games this season, Moore had 997 rebounds in his three-plus seasons of playing for Justin Namolik at Shepherd.

Only Mark Palmer (1,322) and Dave Russell (1,201) had more rebounds than Moore.

But there was a time when Moore’s basketball-playing future was in doubt.

After Handley had been 22-4 in his senior year, Moore had been named to the all-state team for the second time. During that final 22-win season, he had averaged 19.1 points, 11.5 rebounds, 3.1 steals, and 2.2 blocked shots per game.

The 2007 Handley graduate had traveled to Hagerstown Community College to participate in a tryout for that junior college’s coaches.

While trying to impress that school’s basketball people, Moore suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and was informed by doctors that his recovery and rehabilitation would take 11 months before he might play again.

No injury had slowed or stopped Moore when he was at Handley playing for longtime Coach Tommy Dixon.

Moore, a player whose work ethic and on-court drive are the topics of as much conversation as are his obvious basketball skills, was back ready to play in only seven months.

The perpetual-motion, inside player might have been understandably apprehensive when he visited Shepherd for a tryout that was similar to the one in Maryland where he was badly injured.

Moore and 18 others were at the tryout before Namolik and others. He opened enough eyes and made such a positive impression that he earned scholarship money from Shepherd.

When Moore enrolled at Shepherd in the fall of 2009, the Rams had eight basketball lettermen returning.

Wearing a pliable brace on the knee that had to be rehabilitated, Moore was a starter no matter how many returnees Namolik had. He scored 14 points a game while shooting 52.1 percent from the field and averaging 8.9 rebounds a game.

The WVIAC placed him on its All-Freshmen team.

As a sophomore, Moore had 14 double-doubles and earned second-team All-WVIAC honors while scoring 17.4 points and getting 9.4 rebounds a game. He made 55.9 percent of his 345 field goal attempts and 72 percent of his 150 foul shots.

Last season as a junior, Moore scored a career-high 47 points in a game and had 15 double-doubles. He was given All-WVIAC first-team recognition while making 51.4 percent of his field goal tries and 73.4 percent of his 214 free throws. He averaged a league-leading 10 rebounds a game.

Following Shepherd’s 14-14 season that had two games in the league tournament, Moore was named to the all-tournament team and was selected to the second-team All-Atlantic Region squad. His 20.8 scoring average was fifth-best in the 15-team conference.

This season, he has led the Rams in scoring in 12 of the first 22 games and in rebounding in 16 of those games. He was making 50.3 percent of his shots from the floor and 73 percent of his 178 free throws.

The team’s tri-captain was averaging 21 points a game and 9.4 rebounds.

Moore holds Butcher Center records for most free throws attempted in a game (19) and most rebounds in a game (24).

Shepherd has never had a winning record in Moore’s first three seasons. And it has won only one conference tournament game, that one at West Virginia State last season.

Moore’s last regular season appearance at the Butcher Center is on Thursday, Feb. 21 when West Virginia Wesleyan visits for a 7:30 p.m. game.

The Rams have never hosted a home game in the WVIAC tournament in Moore’s first three seasons. If it can finish in the league’s top eight teams, Shepherd will qualify for a first-round tournament game.

For those who have seen Moore play, they can surmise what his list of impressive statistics are. For those who have seen him play, they are more taken by his drive and energy-giving style of scoring, chasing rebounds, and testing the mettle of Shepherd’s opponents.

Moore is one of the six-best players ever to play at Shepherd.

And it almost didn’t happen because of a torn knee ligament that threatened to end his competitive basketball nights.

That ligament won’t keep Moore from striding to midfield at Ram Stadium where he will be introduced some time in the near future as a new member of the Shepherd athletic Hall of Fame.

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