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Finding the nation’s most underrated college basketball player would be an impossible task. Is it a role player? An unsung starter? The star who’s been around forever and gets taken for granted?
The last player’s a different kind of underrated. Perhaps a guy like Purdue’s E’Twaun Moore. Gary Parrish explains:
Read me enough and you know I don’t care much for players who post numbers on bad teams because, the way I figure, every team scores points, grabs rebounds and records assists, so even bad teams have guys with nice statistics. Drives me crazy when a 20-point scorer from a last-place team makes all-conference for no other reason than that he averaged 20 points. That’s why I’ve long prided myself as someone who tries to routinely recognize and annually reward difference-makers on great teams as opposed to box-score heroes on bad ones.
And yet even I’m guilty of taking Moore for granted.
Moore is the only player named to one of the three CBSSports.com All-America teams last season who actually returned to school for this season, and yet I did not mention him a few months back when I suggested a list of preseason All-America candidates. I instead focused mostly on guards who used notable efforts to lead their teams deep into the NCAA tournament (Baylor’s LaceDarius Dunn, Butler’s Shelvin Mack, Duke’s Nolan Smith and Kansas State’s Jacob Pullen) while failing to realize that Moore almost certainly would’ve been in the same group had Hummel never torn his ACL last February at Minnesota.
I can’t argue with any of that. Moore’s a fantastic college player. He does a little of everything well, except for his 15-foot pull-up jumper after some dribble penetration. (He excels at that.)
But is Moore really taken for granted? Sure, he may not get the pub of Dunn or Smith or Pullen, but that’s because those guys are better – and it’s not like everyone ignores Moore. He was a first-team All-Big Ten selection last season, honorable mention all-america and Purdue’s only reliable scoring option when Robbie Hummel got hurt.
The impetus for Parrish’s article – he’ll join Steve Smith as the only Big Ten players to score 2,000 points, snag 500 rebounds and dish 400 assists in a career – is enough to write about the need to appreciate guys like Moore a little more. Much like Texas’ Damion James last season, Moore’s stuck around long enough to be regarded as one of the game’s best. Those guys deserve plaudits.
But does Moore need any more love? I’d say it’s about right.
Mike Miller’s also on Twitter @BeyndArcMMiller, usually talkin’ hoops. Click here for more.