When asked if he thinks he could win the Atlantic Ten Conference Player of the Year Award, redshirt-senior guard Ramone Moore smiled and avoided the question.
“I let my game speak for itself,” Moore said. “I don’t want to get into a battle for who’s better and who’s not. I just want to come out and play for my team and try to win.”
Moore’s game has been saying some pretty good things this season, especially of late. Moore leads the A-10 in scoring with an average of 18.8 points per game and has averaged more than 22 points per contest during Temple’s eight-game winning streak.
Moore scored 30 points, two shy of a career high, and hit five threes to lead Temple (19-5, 8-2 A-10) to its 85-72 win against Xavier on Saturday night. Moore has led the team in scoring in seven of its past eight wins and has emerged as a leading candidate for A-10 Player of the Year.
“I’ve been in a nice groove,” Moore said. “I’ve been shooting the ball well. My teammates have been finding me in open spots and have allowed me to score the basketball.”
Coach Fran Dunphy said that while he’s not the one who decides on end-of-the-year awards, he’s certainly happy to have Moore on his team.
“That’s not very important to me,” Dunphy said. “What’s important is that [Moore’s] playing basketball at Temple and doing a terrific job. He’s having a very good season. That’ll be for somebody else to determine, not me.”
In front of a home crowd donned entirely in white for a “white-out,” in a game televised nationally on ESPN2, Moore’s game on Saturday adds to a list of some of his best performances that have come in big-game atmospheres.
Moore scored a then career-high 30 points against No. 9 Georgetown last year in Temple’s 68-65 upset win. He topped that earlier this season against Villanova, scoring 32 points in a 78-67 win in front of a sold-out crowd in another ESPN2 game.
Those two performances, along with his 30-point game in front of a national audience on Saturday, are the lone 30-point games of Moore’ career.
“I think [Moore] is terrific in big-game atmospheres,” Dunphy said. “I think he’s taken it upon himself to play really well. He’s a terrific player, a good man and I’m very happy for his success.”
“I know I have to come out and be a contributor to my team,” Moore added. “I knew how much the [Xavier] game meant for our team to win, so I just came out and tried to be the best basketball player that I could be.”
Moore’s unselfishness and consistency may be a reason as to why he’s not gaining more national attention. He’s one of Temple’s best passers and rebounders, tied for second on the team in assists and third on the team in rebounds. He’s more likely to drive and kick the ball out to an open teammate than attempt a play that might end up on SportsCenter.
Moore said his focus is on helping his team win, and not on any individual achievements.
“I’m not really a fan of my numbers,” Moore said. “I just want to go out there and be the guy that helps my team win. I think I did that [against Xavier].”
Moore has also proven himself to be one of the team’s hardest workers. He leads the A-10 in minutes per game and played 39 minutes in the win against Xavier.
“We need him on the floor,” Dunphy said. “He’s smart enough to come to me and tell me he needs a [rest].”
Moore also has worked hard on improving a particular aspect of his game in his three-point shooting. After shooting 5-for-40 from beyond the arc in his sophomore campaign, Moore’s numbers from three have improved during the past two seasons. He was second on the team last year in three-point percentage, hitting 41 treys, and his .418 percentage this year leads all shooters that have had at least 10 attempts.
After finishing one shy of his career high with five threes on Saturday, Moore said he has focused on improving his three-point shot since the team finished building its new facility at Pearson and McGonigle Hall.
“Ever since our new practice facility was built, I’ve been in there a lot working on my shot,” Moore said. “I’m gaining confidence with each game.”
Though he has elevated his game to a level not many expected from the Philadelphia native who received very little recruiting attention coming out of Southern High School, Moore said he’s keeping his focus on Temple’s remaining six games and winning the A-10 Tournament in March held in Atlantic City, N.J.
“We just have to finish out these last six games and hopefully go to Atlantic City and win it,” Moore said.
An expected response from a guy so humble he makes you think he doesn’t know just how good he is.
Joey Cranney can be reached at email@example.com.