“I need to go to the gym every day and play basketball,” Moore said. “If I don’t, I can’t sleep.”
But rather than just “play” basketball for fun, Moore wants to play basketball professionally. After playing his last game for The Evergreen State College a year ago, Moore is still chasing his dream.
To keep his dream alive, Moore, a two-time all-conference forward at Evergreen, is starting at forward for the Olympia Reign, which will play its first full season in the International Basketball League.
Moore and the Reign begin their season at 7 tonight at South Puget Sound Community College with a home game against the Tacoma Tide.
In the fall, Moore was close to signing with a team from the NBA Development League.
“I got some calls,” Moore said.
But he didn’t get any firm offers.
He can’t let go of the dream. So, he’s putting his career on hold, working out in the gym, playing with the Reign and laying tile part-time to help pay the bills.
“It’s frustrating,” Moore said. “I definitely feel things building up inside me. There’s lots of anxiety.”
But Moore sees players he’s played against signing contracts to play in Europe or with the NBA Development League and he wants the same opportunity.
“I feel I’m better than they are, but they had a foot in the door,” Moore said.
Jeff Drinkwine, Evergreen’s coach, recently forwarded a query from a German team to Moore about playing. Moore also recently got an e-mail from a team in Greece. To help promote himself, Moore, with the help of his cousin, posted a video on YouTube of him playing basketball.
Besides playing with the Reign, Moore has played in a couple of tournaments, helping teams place third at Longview and win at Morton. During the summer, Moore will again play in a Seattle league sponsored by Jamal Crawford, a guard for the Atlanta Hawks. It’s a competitive league that includes occasional appearances by Nate Robinson, Brandon Roy, Justin Dentmon and Will Conroy.
“Just to get a chance to lace up with those guys is unbelievable,” Moore said.
At 26, the 6-foot-7 Moore knows his clock is ticking.
“I still feel I’m able bodied,” he said. “I know I can still play. I just want that opportunity.”
After one-year stops at Tacoma Community College and Lower Columbia College, Moore sat out one year, thinking his playing days were done. But he got an unexpected offer to play at Evergreen from his brother, Kaelen Moore, a Geoducks assistant coach.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Nick Moore said. “I had gotten another chance to play college basketball.”
Now, Moore, who practices twice a week with the Reign, is hoping for a chance to play pro basketball.
“He’s had an opportunity for some tryouts and he understands he can play at the next level,” said Steve Smothers, the Reign coach. “This is an opportunity for guys like Nick to keep chasing the dream.”
Smothers said players from the IBL have signed pro contracts with European teams.
“This league is a perfect opportunity,” Smothers said. “Scouts are at games looking. Guys are getting chances.”
Tonight, Olympia begins its inaugural 20-game schedule that includes games against Bellingham, Vancouver, B.C., China Shanxi and the Oregon Waves from Portland. The Reign will complete its regular season with a home game June 30 against the L.A. Lightning, a team with several former NBA players.
Other players on the Reign’s roster are All-American guard Nate Menefee, Michael Ward, Marcus Whittaker and Marcus Wright from Evergreen; Saint Martin’s Bill Richardson and Jimmy Anderson; Whitworth’s Antonio McClinon; and Framecio Little from Washington State.
“Picking up Nate was huge for us,” Smothers said. “He can flat out play. Everyone knows that.”
For the last two years, the Reign has played an abbreviated schedule as owner Mark Felton organized sponsorship. The Nisqually Tribe is the team’s primary sponsor and Felton is seeking more sponsors.
“We’ve been working on this for two years and we’re excited things are finally taking shape,” Felton said.
Felton said season tickets can be purchased by calling him at 360-790-5165.
Individual game tickets are $6 for adults and $3 for youth.
Gail Wood: 360-754-5443
Tacoma Tide at Olympia Reign, 7 p.m. at South Puget Sound Community College
Tickets: $6 for ages 18 and older; $3 for ages 17 and younger