Just when senior Craig Moore found his groove on the basketball court, the NCAA changed its rules to make his job even harder.
Last year Moore annihilated Northwestern's single-season record for most 3-point baskets made, hitting 97, which also led the Big Ten Conference. (He hit a school record eight 3-pointers, including the game winner, in a victory over the University of Michigan.)
This season, however, the 3-point line will be pushed back by 1 foot in an effort to more closely recreate NBA dimensions. Moore spent the summer practicing the new setup and notes that most of his shots last year were from well beyond the 3-point line anyway.
"I'm used to hitting deep shots," said Moore, a 6-foot-3 guard from Doylestown, Pa. "I just need to make sure I stay consistent."
Consistency challenged Moore his first two years, as his shooting percentage dropped significantly once conference play began. Prior to his junior season, though, he focused on conditioning, dropping 15 pounds and increasing his stamina. The work paid off as he averaged more than 13 points per game throughout the season.
"He's really grown up," Wildcat head coach Bill Carmody said. "It took a lot of self-discipline to cut his body fat in half, but he's also grown in his improved body language on the court. He's become a true leader, a captain, for this team."
And he'll be leading a much bigger Wildcat squad this season. Carmody lured several big recruits to Evanston to help the undersized Northwestern squad.
Headlining the five-person freshman class is 7-foot center Kyle Rowley, who chose Northwestern over powerhouse programs at the University of Wisconsin and Indiana University. Three other recruits stand at least 6-foot-8-inches tall, including John Shurna, who averaged 12 rebounds per game during his senior year in high school and won the Illinois statewide dunk contest.
— Ryan Morton (J08)