Ex-Purdue G E’Twaun Moore tries to impress Pacers

E’Twaun Moore has always been a star – just not ‘the’ star.

Moore was one of the most productive players in Purdue history,

yet he often was overshadowed by JaJuan Johnson and Robbie Hummel.

In high school, Clippers guard Eric Gordon was Mr. Basketball, even

though Moore’s team beat Gordon’s in the state final.

Now, the guard who was the team’s leading scorer in three of his

four seasons as a Boilermaker is on his own, still trying to prove

himself as he prepares for the NBA draft.

”I’ve always been an underdog, ever since I was in high

school,” he said. ”Somebody always said you’re second best to

him. No one ever thought I was the man. You just keep

working.”

Moore was one of six players who worked out for the Indiana

Pacers in front of team president Larry Bird on Tuesday. He is

projected as a mid second-round pick at best, but he feels

confident about his chances of catching on with an NBA team. He has

worked out for seven teams and has seven more workouts planned.

”I think my chances are great,” he said. ”I think I can go

out and help teams. I think it’s more just going out and showing

what you can do, not doing anything that’s out of your game.”

He sees himself as a combo guard and feels his all-around game

and defensive prowess will help him at the next level. He scored 18

points a game as a senior, but also averaged 5.1 rebounds and 3.2

assists.

Moore considered leaving Purdue after his junior year, but he

returned to school and feels he improved significantly in the past

year.

”Getting stronger, shooting better, being able to shoot more

consistently, longer shot, and just mentally, a better person,” he

said.

Moore showed an increased ability to create off the dribble as a

senior, and he was a more explosive scorer. In his best effort, he

scored 38 points and made seven 3-pointers in a win over No. 2 Ohio

State. It was one of three games in which he scored at least 30

points in his final season.

”It just comes with confidence in your ballhandling skills and

work in the offseason,” he said. ”When the season came, it just

felt good and it was a matter of going out there and making

plays.”

He had more on his shoulders when Hummel, widely considered one

of the nation’s best players, was injured in preseason practice.

Moore said his role didn’t change much, but he had to do more of

what he was known for.

”I just went out and played,” he said. ”I just took my game

to another level and played harder.”

Moore said part of the reason he improved so much was that coach

Matt Painter showed him what it took to keep improving. Painter

rode Moore hard during his Purdue career, often saying he was at

his best when he was dialed in defensively and let his offense come

to him.

”Coach Painter did a great job of preparing me, not only for

the college level, but for the pro level, showing me how to work

hard every day,” Moore said.

Moore said most of the feedback he’s received since the end of

the season has been positive.

”They basically said just tune up the things you’ve got, make

sure your shot is consistent and get your ballhandling as tight as

you can.”

Cliff Brunt can be reached at

http://twitter.com/cliffbruntap.