Moose signs with Brevard
By Mike London
CHINA GROVE ó Only time will tell, but Brevard likely got a steal when it signed 6-foot-3 Darius Moose, an efficient scorer and prolific rebounder who is headed for one of the best careers in Rowan County history.
Brevard, which competes in the Division II South Atlantic Conference, landed a player who will have 1,459 career points to his credit when he leads top-seeded Carson into next week’s Sam Moir Christmas Classic at Catawba’s Goodman Gym.
Moose was actually discovered by Brevard at Goodman Gym last winter. He was a spectator for the Catawba-Brevard game on Feb. 28 and basically recruited himself after he was introduced to Brevard coach Michael Jones.
“The next time I saw Coach Jones was at an open gym at Salisbury ó he’d come down there to watch me,” Moose said. “After that, he asked me if I’d be interested in visiting Brevard.”
When Moose visited the campus located 25 miles southwest of Asheville, he saw cascading waterfalls and towering mountains while spotting the first white squirrel he’d ever seen in his life.
He didn’t see any bears, but he did see a friendly school and a basketball program that’s getting better.
It wasn’t hard to make a decision after Jones offered a full scholarship.
“I guess you could say that it all just fell into my lap,” Moose said.
Brevard was a junior college for many years. Then it became a four-year NAIA program in the late 1990s.
Jones, now in his 12th year, guided the program in its transition from NAIA to D-II, and Brevard is now a full-fledged SAC member.
Brevard is getting more athletic and steadily progressing. The Tornados, 5-2 this season, beat Tusculum in their SAC opener.
One of Brevard’s big pluses for Moose and Carson coach Brian Perry is that 98 percent of Jones’ basketball players have earned degrees.
“I’m pretty dadgum ecstatic about Moose going there,” Perry said. “His education is paid for, and he’s getting a great opportunity in a good league with a team on the rise. He’ll make their basketball program better and he’ll get a degree.”
For now, Moose is making Carson’s program better.
Perry’s Cougars have slowly climbed a mountain since the school opened, with marks of 3-21, 6-18 and 12-15 before breaking out with a 10-1 record so far in Moose’s senior year.
Moose has been the face of the program since he was a freshman promoted to the varsity for the Cougars’ third game of the 2006-07 season.
Moose averaged 12.6 points as a freshman and bumped that figure to 19.3 and 18.0 the past two seasons. He’s at 20.9 as a senior.
A model of consistency, he’s scored in double figures 71 times in 84 career outings, including all 12 games so far this season. He’s scored 20 or more 29 times.
Moose holds school records for points in a season (487) and a game (36), although he’s not likely to ever have to score 36 again.
He doesn’t have to be a solo act. The supporting cast around him is pretty solid.
Each season, Moose has taken his offensive game a greater distance from the basket. Originally a pure post player, he still rebounds like a long-armed center, but he’s expanded his range to the 3-point line.
He’s a creative passer and his ballhandling has improved to the point that he’s a really difficult matchup for high school post men. He’s also made major progress the past two seasons defensively, as have most of the Cougars.
“We scored 12 points in the first half this year (against East Rowan) and still won the game,” Moose said. “That shows how much better we’ve gotten on defense.”
Perry, who starred at East Rowan and played at Catawba, believes Moose can be a serious factor in the SAC.
“He’s a very skilled player,” Perry said. “I think they’ll be able to use him a lot of ways offensively. He can create some things.”
Moose’s point total ranks 10th in modern county history. Assuming good health, he’s headed way up the chart.
He surpassed Price and Boyden legend Kenny Holt’s total with a 25-point outing at West Iredell on Tuesday, and he figures to move past Edwin Suber (North) and Jamel Carpenter (West) for eighth place in his first Christmas tournament outing.
The next targets would be Bobby Jackson (Salisbury) and K.J. Sherrill (West).
Moose is walking among the giants now and eager to lead Carson to its first 20-win season and potentially its first championships. After that, he looks forward to proving he was an under-recruited steal for Brevard.
“It’s going to be fun playing for Brevard,” he said. “They play a lot of schools close to home, and my friends will have a chance to see me.”