BOLINGBROOK —He could do things most players couldn't.
He could post up in the paint, pull up for a mid-range jumper or drive the lane and finish with a thunderous dunk. Rob Brost has said Ben Moore is the best player he's coached, but Moore won't have any of it.
For the Bolingbrook senior, the team's accomplishments are a much higher priority than personal accolades. He easily learned humility and took the lesson to heart. He constantly deflected praise to his teammates and let others talk about his skills as a player.
"He affected the game in so many ways, and it goes beyond what he does on the floor," Brost said. "He does all the right things off the floor, too, and he is so humble. There is no arrogance, and that's rare in a player of his caliber."
"My family taught me that," Moore said. "My parents taught me about being humble."
Though Moore would never discus his skills — even after games like he had against Lincoln-Way Central (24 points, 14 rebounds, five blocks), Rich South (23 points, 10 rebounds, four blocks, four assists) or Lemont in the playoffs (10 points, five rebounds, five assists) — Brost lauded them.
“He has the skill set of wing. He’s a matchup nightmare for anybody because he can handle the ball so well," the coach said. "He can really handle the ball. He very skilled in and around the basket, but what got him 25-plus scholarship offers was his ability to handle the ball on the perimeter and break people down off the dribble.”
Brost believes part of Moore's humility stems from the fact he gained recognition a little later than many elite players. He had a few scholarship offers by the end of his junior season, but major college coaches flocked after he had a solid summer with the AAU D-Rose All-Stars and stellar open gym workouts before his senior season.
"He was a relative unknown all the way to last summer, so he always had to work hard for what he got and had to prove he was that type of player," Brost said. "He didn't get all the attention he deserved right away, which, for some kids, it can go to their heads."
That wasn't a concern with Moore, who never cared for basking in the spotlight, even after the season ended with a regional championship game loss to Oswego March 1.
"We had a lot of fun this year," Moore said. "It was fun playing with everybody. I tried to help the team win a few games, but I have to give credit to my teammates because I could never do it alone. I have to thank my family, the coaching staff, my teammates, and everybody who supported the team throughout the season."
Moore's high school career is over, but he won't waste much time getting ready for his college career at SMU. He plans to get back in the gym soon to work on his jumpshot and fundamentals, and he also wants to get in the weight room in order to add some bulk to his 6-foot-8 frame.
"He's all-around one of the best kids you could meet — on the floor, in the classroom, in the hallways at school and in the community," Brost said. "He's a well-rounded kid and he's fun to be around because he's such a good person."
Ben Moore's basketball favorites
Current player: Paul Pierce
All-time players: Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Paul Pierce, Bill Russel
Movie: "Space Jam"
Meet the 2012-13 All-Area Boys Basketball Team:
Juozas Balciunas School: Lemont Year: Senior After transferring from St. Joseph, this guard had quite the impact in his two years on the court for Lemont. Helping to lead the Indians to 48 wins over that span, Balciunas saved his best for last. This winter, the senior averaged a team-high 19.9 points per game to go along with 5.0 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 3.2 steals per outing.
Robert Mara School: Downers Grove South Year: Senior A stalwart at both ends of the floor for the Mustangs, Mara's post play was a nice complement to the guard play of Danny Spinuzza and Jordan Cannon. The West Suburban Gold all-conference selection averaged a double-double with 10 points and 10.5 rebounds per game and was third on the team at 72 percent from the free throw line.
Pat McInerney School: Benet Year: Senior A four-year varsity player for the Redwings, the 6-foot-5 McInerney did it all. Ostensibly a forward, he often brought the ball down the court for Benet and was just as deadly from outside the paint as in it. The East Suburban Catholic all-conference selection averaged 12.5 points and 11 rebounds per game and will play baseball at Illinois.
Ben Moore School: Bolingbrook Year: Senior After committing to SMU before the season, a lot was expected of Moore this winter. He delivered. A force in the paint who was able to create on his own off the dribble, Moore averaged a team-best 16.5 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks per game. SouthWest Suburban Blue all-conference, he is also an all-state nominee and finalist for Illinois Mr. Basketball.
Larry Motuzis School: Hinsdale South Year: Junior Probably the Hornets most consistent player at both ends of the floor this winter, Motuzis finished as the team's leading scorer at 11.9 points per game and got to that level by hitting both from the paint (43 percent) and from long range (38 percent). The West Suburban Gold all-conference pick also grabbed 2.5 rebounds per game.
Prentiss Nixon School: Bolingbrook Year: Sophomore Already on the radar of several college programs throughout the country before the season started, Nixon only added to his reputation by averaging 14.5 points, four rebounds and three assists per game. Named to the all-tournament team at Joliet West's Thanksgiving tourney, he was also SouthWest Suburban Blue all-conference.
Nick Norton School: Downers Grove North Year: Senior An athletic guard, Norton could slice to the basket seemingly at will but also brought a smooth long-range stroke to the floor. He scored more than one-third of the Trojans' points this season, averaging 15.5 points per game. The West Suburban Silver all-conference selection also led the team with 5.5 rebounds per game.
Sean O'Mara School: Benet Year: Junior Teams seemed to relish getting physical with the 6-foot-9 O'Mara, and he had no problem absorbing the blows and hurting teams with his play. The East Suburban Catholic all-conference selection averaged 16 points and eight rebounds per game, and also affected games with his passing out of the post.
Brian Owens School: Hinsdale Central Year: Senior The Red Devils' primary ball-handler, Owens was more than just a distributor (though he did lead the team with 102 assists). The West Suburban Silver all-conference and multiple all-academic honoree averaged 11 points per game while shooting 52 percent from inside the arc, 41 percent beyond it and 81 percent at the free throw line.
Jean Pietrzak School: Westmont Year: Senior A three-year varsity player for the Sentinels, Pietrzak was a physical 6-foot-5 forward with a variety of post moves yet also able to extend the defense with his range. He averaged a team-high 17.8 points and 8.7 rebounds per game while shooting 55 percent from the field, and the Interstate Eight all-conference selection also nailed 16 three-pointers.
Matt Rafferty School: Hinsdale Central Year: Sophomore The only underclassman on the Red Devils' roster, Rafferty was a centerpiece at both ends of the floor. The 6-foot-7 forward led the team with averages of 15.4 points and 10.6 rebounds per game, and he also averaged better than two blocks and two assists per contest. He was named West Suburban Silver all-conference.
Lamont Ross School: Lisle Year: Senior A transfer from Romeoville, Ross had an immediate impact for the Lions. His athleticism made him tough to handle near the rim, but he also displayed solid mid- and long-range games on the way to earning Interstate Eight all-conference honors after averaging 10.4 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.
Mike Wisz School: Lemont Year: Junior Coming off a solid sophomore campaign for the Indians, this sharp-shooting forward took his game to a new level this winter. Second on the team in scoring with his 14.9 points per game average, Wisz made 64 three-pointers on the year. He also notched 4.6 rebounds and 2.7 steals per contest.
Honorable mention Benet: Jack Euritt, Eddie Eshoo, Robert Haemmerle, Jack Toner
Bolingbrook: Kendall Guyton, Kenny Williams
Downers Grove North: David Edwards, Myles Farley
Downers Grove South: Jordan Cannon, Scott McNellis, Danny Spinuzza
Hinsdale Central: Jared Eck, Chase Hamilton, Alec Hutcherson
Hinsdale South: Barrett Benson, Marcel Phillips, Jerry Stoltz
Lemont: Marty Einikis, Joey Hehir
Lisle: Dawon Burrell, Cody Monson, Jonny Parillo
Westmont: Danny Dwyer, Kris Pierce