E’Twaun Moore puts focus on fun at his hoops camp in EC
EAST CHICAGO — There were plenty of smiles and high-fives to go around.
And those were just the ones involving E’Twaun Moore.
It was pretty obvious the former East Chicago Central and Purdue star, and current Orlando Magic guard was genuinely enjoying interacting with the kids at his second annual basketball camp. And it was equally obvious the feeling was reciprocated, between the kids and Moore and the rest of the counselors.
“It is fun,” Moore said on Friday at the E’Twaun Moore Skills Camp at his high school alma mater. “We’re just trying to have a good time with them, and show them something positive. Basketball’s a great tool to do that.”
About 100 campers from fourth grade through ninth participated, with an emphasis on developing fundamentals and friendships, focusing on the importance of academics and hard work. And the overarching theme for the two-day camp? Indeed, have fun.
Holding the sessions means a lot to Moore and his family.
“Just try to inspire them a little bit, give them a little motivation,” said Moore, whose brother, Ezell, is the camp director, with their sister, Ekeisha, also involved, with their parents, Ezell and Edna, in attendance on Friday. “Just try to let them know that they can accomplish anything and be successful in life — not just in basketball, but in life. And if they do pick up some things from basketball, I’m trying to show them some little things that they can take home with them and get better at.”
Guest appearances included Rusty the RailCat, and former Valparaiso and Purdue star Robbie Hummel, who said it was “cool” to be back in the Baratto Center for the first time since watching Moore play a game when the two were high school seniors. He told the campers how he met Moore — then a taller-than-everybody post player who teams, including Hummel’s, could not stop — in a tournament in seventh grade, before they became AAU teammates with SYF and college teammates with the Boilermakers.
“With E’Twaun, you guys have an unbelievable role model,” he told the campers. “He’s somebody that grew up in East Chicago, went to college, got his degree and he has that for the rest of his life — that can never be taken away from him. Now he plays in the NBA. You can learn from him, because he’s a really special person.”
Moore and Hummel hadn’t seen each other in about a year, before they watched the NBA Draft together on Thursday night.
The Magic selected Indiana guard Victor Oladipo with the No. 2 overall pick. Moore’s contract becomes fully guaranteed on Monday, and his words — including about the draft — demonstrate his outlook.
“I played against him, seems like he’s a cool guy,” Moore said of Oladipo, noting “it’s kind of funny” to have a player from Purdue’s archrival as his teammate. “I think we did a good job in the draft.
“Everything should be fine (with Moore’s status with the Magic). I have no worries.”
Hummel has been preparing to play with the Minnesota Timberwolves — the team that selected him No. 58 overall in 2012 before he spent last season in Spain — in the Las Vegas summer league that runs from July 12 to 22. Their Thursday draft class included UCLA swingman Shabazz Muhammad at No. 14 and Louisville big man Gorgui Dieng at No. 21, after they traded Michigan point guard Trey Burke at No. 9 to the Utah Jazz.
“I know they drafted a bunch of guys, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens,” Hummel said. “But I’m optimistic about it (making the Timberwolves’ regular-season roster). It should clear up more in the next couple weeks. The only thing you can control is getting ready for summer league and playing as well as you can.”
Hummel’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, has received encouraging feedback from the Timberwolves, with new president of basketball operations Flip Saunders.
“He’s been positive,” Hummel said of Bartelstein. “He said they’re really interested. They were waiting to see what happened with the draft, and go from there. I feel good about it.”
Hummel held his first youth camp earlier this month, and he and Moore have talked about the possibility of the close friends running a joint one at some point.
But on this day, Moore was concentrating on everyone savoring this experience.
“It’s always fun to come home and see my family and friends, and be on this campus,” he said. “Just have a good time, and try to teach the kids something.”