Feb. 5, 2009
By Keenan Bowen, EWU Sports Information
Eastern Washington University junior center Brandon Moore was victorious in the last post-season basketball game he played. The only problem with that was that it came four years ago in March 2005.
In quest of another taste of the playoffs this season, the 6-foot-9 Moore is hoping for a strong finish for himself and the Eagles. That starts tonight (Feb. 5) when the Eagles try to snap a six-game losing streak when they host Sacramento State at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash. That game begins at 7:05 p.m. Pacific time, as well as Saturday’s (Feb. 7) home game versus Northern Arizona.
Moore learned to play the piano as a youngster and calls it his "hidden talent." His basketball talents, however, were what helped Bethel High School win the 2005 State 4A Tournament as the Braves compiled a 76-10 record in his three seasons.
But after arriving on the EWU campus in the 2005-06 season, he has not played in a playoff game since. He redshirted his first season when Eastern appeared in the Big Sky Conference Tournament for the ninth-straight time in 2006. That streak equals the fifth-best in the 46-year history of the league.
But since then, Moore has had to persevere through numerous player and coaching changes as he works toward his mechanical engineering degree at EWU. As a result of the turnover, Eastern has failed to qualify the last two years as one of the top six teams in the regular season standings.
This year, after a promising 6-2 start to the season, the Eagles find themselves eighth in the Big Sky with just six league games to play. Currently, 3-7 in the league and 9-13 overall, the Eagles had the same conference record a year ago before winning three of their last six to just miss out on a berth.
The only Eastern player to start all 22 games this season, Moore is averaging 10.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game to rank 19th and third, respectively, in the Big Sky Conference. In his 79-game career (39 as a starter), Moore has averaged 7.8 points and 5.3 rebounds while making just under 50 percent of his shots from the field.
Last week, he scored 27 points and had 10 rebounds combined in a pair of losses, including 17 points in a four-point loss at Montana State. He has scored in double figures in his last three outings heading into the Sac State game.
Moore had his third double-double of the year with 22 points, 13 rebounds and a career-high three assists in EWU’s 90-87 win over Evergreen State on Dec. 22. Moore made 6-of-12 shots from the field and 10-of-13 free throws against the Geoducks, and seven of his rebounds came on the offensive end. He came just one point from his career high of 23 points set as a freshman against Evergreen State. His assists tied his career high from that game.
Moore’s other double-doubles this season came against Idaho (14 points, 10 rebounds) and Texas Arlington (16 points, 11 rebounds), giving him five in his career. He had a near-miss at Boise State on Dec. 29 when he finished with 12 points and nine boards. He also has seven double figure rebounding performances as an Eagle.
Q: What is your favorite basketball memory?
A: "It would have to be my senior year at Bethel High School when we won the state championship."
Q: What parts of basketball do to you like best?
A: "The atmosphere. I love playing in front of people and playing with my teammates at the same time. The camaraderie that we have is great."
Q: What do you feel is your best attribute on the basketball court?
A: "It would have to be my low post presence. I make people have to come inside and guard me, allowing me to kick it out to open teammates. Also, my rebounding ability."
Q: What needs to happen in tonight’s game for you guys to come out with a win and end your six-game losing streak?
A: "We have to come out ready to play from the start and we can’t have any lapses during the 40 minutes we are out there. We have to come out with some passion and the drive to win."
Q: If you could pick one person, past or present, to play one-on-one with who would it be and why?
A: "That is a hard question. It would be fun to play against Magic Johnson. He is a 6-foot-9 point guard so that would be an interesting matchup."
Q: If you had to pick one teammate to take a game-winning shot, who would it be and why?
A: "You know everyone wants to say themselves, but it would probably have to be Benny Valentine. He is used to those types of situations -- having the ball at the end of the shot clock and getting off a great shot."
Q: What are your goals for the remainder of the 2008-09 season?
A: "I want to win the rest of our games and make the Big Sky Tournament, and from there see what we can do."
Q: What do you think makes you so successful on the boards?
A: "I’m strong and the coaches always get on me about tracking the ball after you block someone out. That is probably a big reason why I am good on the boards."
Q: You are a piano player, does that give you any advantage on the court?
A: "None whatsoever. You don’t need quick fingers out there on the court. It would have been better if I was a dancer -- better coordination!"
Q: Your favorite pro team has always been the Detroit Pistons. Why is that?
A: "I’ve liked the Pistons since back in the day when they were the bad boys of basketball; I started following them back then. And now, also because my former teammate Rodney Stuckey plays for them."