E’Twaun Moore returns to EC, teaching hoops, hope at camp
By Michael Osipoff 648-3137 or firstname.lastname@example.org June 29, 2012 11:32PM
Clifford Waxton, 10, of East Chicago, (left) runs a drill with E'Twaun Moore (right) during Moore's basketball camp at East Chicago Central High School in East Chicago, Ind. Friday June 29, 2012. This is the first year for the two-day camp offered by the former East Chicago and Purdue player who just completed his rookie season with the Celtics. | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 1, 2012 6:17AM
EAST CHICAGO — The campers were attentively listening to the introductory speech from Bobby Miles, the former East Chicago Central basketball coach and athletics director.
But the youngsters began to stir when they caught a glimpse of E’Twaun Moore preparing to make his entrance into the high school’s gym.
And they broke into a loud round of applause as the former Cardinals and Purdue star made his way to center court to address them on Friday at the “E’Twaun Moore 1st Annual Skills Camp.”
“This is going to be a special day,” Moore, who recently completed his rookie season in the NBA with the Boston Celtics, said via microphone. “It definitely means a lot.”
He talked about having a lot to cover during the two-day camp, but it was going to be fun, first and foremost, and the participants would get better.
“I wanted to do something for the kids,” Moore said after the camp ended. “I saw sometimes they didn’t have a lot to do — kids don’t play outside any more, we should have a camp for a couple days; it’ll be fun, give them something positive to do.
“Especially the people around, I just wanted to give them hope and let them know they could do something successful.”
Most campers appeared to be almost in awe of Moore as they shook hands with him or exchanged a pound, as they filed out of the gym to the football field to take a group photo — about 132 strong from fourth grade through ninth, each wearing a gray T-shirt with the camp’s name emblazoned on the front.
Jermaine Couisnard, Keishawn Lewis and Sydrick Sinclair, all 13-year-olds from East Chicago, have known Moore since he was in junior high, when they were essentially toddlers.
Couisnard and Lewis agreed seeing Moore reach the NBA has motivated them to work even harder.
“It was fun and exciting today,” Sinclair said. “We had a good time. I learned a lot from him.”
The fast-paced, upbeat day included warmups, drills and games, led by a distinguished group of more than a dozen counselors — the staff members wore either those gray T-shirts or blue short-sleeve collared shirts with the camp’s name over the heart — most of whom had played at East Chicago, most of whom had gone on to play in college, several of whom had played professionally at some level. And Moore was right in the middle of the action, whistle around his neck — and looking comfortable in that role.
“Just to take something away, if they could learn just one thing, just give them a chance to hang around and see some people doing something positive, and make them want to do well,” Moore said. “Hopefully I can inspire some kids.”
Moore’s former Purdue teammate Marcus Green was among the counselors; and JaJuan Johnson, another former Boilermakers teammate, was the guest speaker, also interacting with the campers.
Moore introduced his fellow Celtics second-year-player-to-be in this fashion: “We both watched a lot of games together, from the bench. Hopefully we can do better next year.”
Johnson addressed the campers, telling them to pursue their dreams.
“Whatever you want to do, whatever you want to be, don’t let anyone ever tell you you can’t do it,” he said. “You can be whatever you believe you can be.”
To conclude the day, the campers and counselors huddled around Moore and Johnson, with Moore instructing everyone to break with “Hard work!”
The camp’s second and final session takes place on Saturday.
“It was something we talked about when he was at Purdue,” said Ezell Moore, E’Twaun’s brother, with their sister, Ekeisha, also involved, with their parents, Ezell and Edna, attending on Friday. “We thought the timing was right, so we wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to do this for the kids.”