Reggie Moore held no punches weeks ago during an insightful and entertaining interview with the Washington State junior. He admitted last year he was “going through the motions” at times and graded his overall performance harshly despite playing most of the season while recovering from a fracture in his left wrist.
He missed the first five games — all WSU wins – due to the injury and questioned if he’d disrupt the chemistry when he returned.
The 6 foot 1, 180-pound point guard is hoping to rebound in 2011-12. His scoring (9.1 from 12.7) and assists (3.4 from 4.2) averages dipped last season compared to his standout freshman debut.
He’s expected to play a larger role role because Klay Thompson has moved on to the NBA. And he’s excited to reunite with Fresno State transfer Mike Ladd. They teamed at Rainier Beach High, guided the Vikings to a 29-1 record and won the 3A state tournament title in 2008. Ladd won the tourney MVP award and Moore was the 3A state Player of the Year.
Moore spent most of the summer in Seattle working out with Jamal Crawford and Nate Robinson who told him he needs to play like Kemba Walker, the dynamic guard who led Connecticut to a national championship.
Moore also played in the Seattle Basketball Summer League at North Seattle Community College. His team won the championship game and posted a 5-3 record.
He talked about the importance of winning and his strong desire to beat UW players, including his good friends Isaiah Thomas and Tony Wroten Jr., whenever he plays against them.
Here’s the interview.
(How is your summer going?) “The summer has been good. I’ve been working out and playing with all of the pros here. That’s been fun. I feel like I’ve improved my game a lot.”
(You look like you’ve lost weight and toned up a bit.) “Yeah I kind of trimmed up. I really didn’t lift that much this summer because I wanted to trim up and be slim. I haven’t really eaten that much McDonald’s. McDonald’s is my favorite place. I tried to stay small. I was like this in high school. I was ultra fast. Last year, I felt a little slow.”
(So how much weight did you lose?) “Not much. Last year during the season I was probably 180 and I’m like 175 right now. Not much. Just the extra stuff has come off.”
(Was there one thing that you wanted to improve upon this summer?) “Jamal and Nate have been telling me about my scoring mentality. The past two years I’ve been playing with Klay on the court and he’s a great player and with him gone, I’m going to have to do a lot more scoring.”
(Taking a look at next season, there’s no Klay. No DeAngelo Casto. What are your thoughts going into the season?)
“We got a couple of JC dudes coming in and of course Michael Ladd, who I went to high school with, he’s coming in. So we’re going to be a good team. I think we’re going to be better as far as chemistry. We’ll be a more balanced attack.”
(When you loose somebody like Thompson that’s a lot of points. Who picks up the slack?) “Me and Faisal (Aden) and of course Mike Ladd can score too. And Brock Motum is going to have a huge year. I’ve always been a big fan of Brock. I think he’s going to do real well too.”
(I look at Wazzu and I ask, where is the inside game?) “Brock is not really an inside player, but he’s going to provide some inside stuff for us. He’s from Australia so he kind of plays Euro-style. He’s not really a banger, but we got D.J. Shelton coming in and he’s kind of a banger. Charlie Enquist he’s kind of a banger. It’s just going to be balanced.”
(How much if at all have you had a chance to see the new guys, play with them and learn their games?) “I played with them a bunch this summer. We’ve had a couple of open gyms. I haven’t played with Brock, but I’ve talked to him and he’s said he’s gotten a lot bigger and added some muscle. Our new guys are looking good so I’m excited.”
(How hurt were you last season?) “(Laughs) A lot of people know I like to go left and that’s the hand I broke so I couldn’t really go left. And then once I got the wrap off, I still wasn’t really comfortable with it. But I didn’t make any excuses and I don’t want to make any now about it. I decided to play so people expect you to play your best when you do play.”
(Did you come back too soon?) “I wouldn’t say too soon. I’d say I came back when I had to.”
(How is it now?) “It’s 100 percent. All good.”
(Looking back, how would you grade your season and the team’s season?) “For me I’d say in terms of grades, I had D last year. My freshman year I did pretty well. Last year I was down as far as points and assists. I’d give myself a D because I expect a lot from myself and I set really high goals. For our team, I think we did probably a B minus. We could have done better, but we still did great. We went to the Final Four of the NIT.”
(I saw the non-league schedule. It’s doesn’t seem too tough, but that opener at Gonzaga should be a good one.) “Yeah I looked at the schedule. My mom actually printed it off for me. Playing at Gonzaga is fun. It’s real loud and it’s a lot of fun. I know we got that preseason tournament in Anaheim, which is going to be a lot of fun. We got a chance to play some really good teams. It’s going to be a good test for us.”
(What should fans expect from the Cougars?) “A lot of people are kind of doubting us because of last year and I don’t blame anybody. Last year I played like crap so they probably don’t expect anything from me at all, but I plan to have a lot better season. Faisal was new to the team so he’s playing with much more chemistry. Marcus (Capers) is back and his jumper is a lot better. I know Abe (Lodwick) has a lot more confidence. And then Michael Ladd, you’re going to see how good Mike is.”
(How good is Faisal?) “He can be real good. In practice, him and Klay would go at it bucket for bucket. People (saw) him at UCLA when he came in and hit the first 5-6 shots. He can be real good. It’s just a matter of him learning our system and playing with our guys. That’s something he has to get a lot better at.”
(How excited are you to team up again with Ladd?) “I’m so excited. That’s my best friend. We grew up together. We played with each other since fourth grade. We played in high school together. Won a state championship together. We roommates and everything. That’s my boy. He’s got a 44-inch vertical. For real. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
(We’re in August, but how do you think things will shake out in terms of the starting lineup and rotations?) “I don’t even know. In the summertime we just kind of lift and workout and have open gym. Just stuff to get to know the guys. When we go back to school we’ll find out more about that other stuff.”
(Obviously you have chemistry with Mike and I’d imagine with the two of you on the court, there’s symmetry and your games complement each other.) “Oh yeah definitely. He knows what I’m thinking and I know exactly what he’s thinking. I know exactly when he’s cutting. He knows when I’m going to pass to him or shoot it. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
(I read an interview from coach Ken Bone and he said you need to work on your defense. How do you do that in summer games when hardly anyone plays defense?) “Defense is all mentality. Of course it’s scheme too, but it’s mostly mental. If I want to lock somebody up, I can lock somebody up. The past two years, last year especially to be honest I was just out there. Coach always talks about I was going through the motions and I kind of was. Sitting out the first half and then coming back was kind of weird for me. I remember talking to coach about it. Klay was killing it. He was scoring 30 (points) a game and how do I come back into this. And (Bone) was like just be you. It was kind of hard. But defense is all mentality. I know I can lock up somebody if I want to.”
(What should fans expect from you?) “Just being a leader. A lot of people around town, Jamal and Nate, they always tell me you got have a Kemba Walker type of season. That’s not saying I’m going to average 30 (points) or we’re going to win a national championship, but just being that type of player. If I got to score, then I got to score. I need to be a better leader.”
(What do you get from playing in the summer league games at North Seattle CC?) “For me it’s really to get my swagger back. You see me playing loose out here and that’s kind of how I want to play during the season. Just play loose. Last year I was too uptight and just thinking too much. I want to get my swagger back a little bit. And then for everybody else it’s to have somewhere to run and play. We can’t play in the Jamal Crawford Pro-Am because that’s not (NCAA) sanctioned. So this let’s us play against somebody. It’s a game-type of atmosphere. We can stay in shape. It’s good. I like it. It’s a lot of fun.”
(How important is winning?) “Winning is the No. 1 thing. Jamal always tells me that. If you want to go to the NBA or be a first-round pick, you have to win.”
(But how important is winning summer league games?) “For me it’s important because I want to beat UW every time. I see a lot of UW fans in the crowd and I want to show them who I am. A lot of people come here to support Tony and Isaiah and they’re two of my best friends. I like winning. I like to win just to stick it to them.”
(You still have that chip on your shoulder?) “Yeah. Always. I want it a little bit more this year. I remember Alec Burks from Colorado talking about that. About how he had a chip on his shoulder. He always had a chip on his shoulder because he felt like he was underrated and that’s how I want to play.”