East Chicago's Moore chasing NBA dream with both feet on the ground

2011-05-22T00:00:00Z 2011-06-09T19:10:24Z East Chicago's Moore chasing NBA dream with both feet on the groundBy Al Hamnik, (219) 933-4154

Edna Moore will gladly admit it and without regret.

Her son, E'Twaun, has made her cry several times.

Good tears. Happy tears. The kind of tears that make parents' hearts pump with pride.

Edna and Ezell Moore Sr. love their three children, but E'Twaun is their "baby," she says, and you know how that goes.

"Others do what I do as a parent but I really give a lot of credit to E'Twaun, too, because you have to have a mind of your own," she said. "I'm not there with him 24-7 to guide him.

"Our children already knew right from wrong from their upbringing."

E'Twaun Moore graduated from Purdue University on May 14, leaving behind a legacy both on the basketball court and in the classroom.

Purdue's No. 3 career scorer averaged 18 points and 5.1 rebounds per game last season -- both second best on the team. He also finished as the program's career leader in 3-pointers made.

As a junior, Moore earned Academic All-American honors and barely missed repeating in 2011.

East Chicago even erected a billboard in his honor. And yes, Edna got all misty once again.

"Oh, yes. Oh, yes. Oh, yes. It was a blessing. I would pass it every day on the way to work and look at it every day. I loved it," she said, quick to add that every child with good grades should be applauded, not only those who are athletes.

"You come home from school and do your homework. Extracurricular activities are secondary. E'Twaun knows academics are very important to me and I'm gonna be up on him, even in college, to get good grades.

"If he slipped, I'd be there like: 'OK, what's happening? What's going on? Got a problem? Need a tutor? Talk to your counselor?'"

Like a blindside pick, E'Twaun got a reality check, quite a jolt, early in life.

"To know I brought something positive to the city, from watching our basketball games on TV to an academic billboard you don't see too often, it's great I could give people something to look up to," he said.

Is it tough to be E'Twaun Moore?

"No. I just be myself and stay straight, try to be the best person I can be," he said.

Always time for a family hug

E'Twaun's brother, Ezell Jr., is working on his master's degree at the University of Indianapolis, where he is also employed.

Sister Ekeisha is working on her master's at Indiana University-Northwest.

See a trend here?

"My family, we always have good times," Moore said. "You come to my house right now and you'll laugh quite a bit. You gotta have fun after all the hard work during the day.

"So you go home and smile and laugh it off."

From classroom to the courts

Moore was among 54 college stars who participated in the NBA Draft Combine Thursday and Friday in Chicago.

There were extensive shooting, rebounding and ball handling drills, followed by one-on-one meetings with scouts, coaches and general managers from the league's 30 teams.

"I guess it's like a job now with the interviews you've got to take," Moore said. "Be yourself, give them the best answers that you can to their questions, work your hardest, and hope it pays off.

"I'm chasing my dream now."

Moore said he has team workouts planned with San Antonio, Miami, Orlando, Minnesota, New Jersey and Indiana. He's already worked out for Houston.

Leaving West Lafayette and the Purdue experience has been bittersweet for the 6-foot-2 1/2 guard.

"Wow. All the fun times I had at Purdue," he said. "Freshman year, the first time I played in the NCAA Tournament, we're traveling first-class and it was a big shock to me then.

"We had a lot of other great moments, like winning the Big Ten championship. But the NCAA Tournament was surreal."

Sizing up his game, his chances

Moore didn't draw much of a media crowd during player interviews at the downtown Westin Hotel, nor was he seen or talked about on the televised two-day workout at ATTACKS Athletics, carried live on ESPNU.

"I can be a good defender, a good guy to knock down shots," he said. "It depends on which situation you go to. You can go to a team that's bad and they need you to score, then all of a sudden, you look like you're the man."

Moore compares his playing style to that of a healthy Gilbert Arenas.

"My goal is to go in the first round and I'm definitely going to do what I can and work hard to make it happen," he said.

Last year, 27 of the 30 first-round picks participated in the Chicago NBA Draft Combine and 48 of the 53 who were invited played in the NBA.

E'Twaun Moore will learn his fate on June 23, draft night.

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