March 2, 2010

Moore reflects on senior class

MADISON - As a former player for Wisconsin in the early 1990's, UW assistant coach Howard Moore knows a thing or two about senior day. Following a recent practice, Moore took the time to chat about the annual event and the careers of Jason Bohannon and Trevon Hughes.

The following is a question and answer with Moore conducted by

I'm sure it's kind of a neat process when you look at Trevon and J-Bo. When they were freshmen, they probably learned a little bit from Alando Tucker and Kammron Taylor. Then they probably did the next year with Brian Butch and Michael Flowers and last year with Marcus Landry and Joe Krabbenhoft. Do you see all of that molded in when they become seniors?

Moore: Yeah, it's built into the program. That's how you go from a winning team every other year to a winning program year in and year out. It's because of the leadership and accountability and ownership that the older guys take into the program while passing the torch on and saying, 'Now it's in your hands, take care of it.'

That's been the message going back many years. Now it's at a point where the success is high and the expectations are high. The responsibility is at a high level as well. Our guys take a lot of ownership in that and they take that very seriously.

You can probably see that a little bit this year too, with guys like Jordan Taylor or Jon Leuer moving into the leadership roles next year, too.

Moore: Sure. Absolutely. Jordan's role was obviously expanded this year and he's earned that along with Tim Jarmusz, Jon and Keaton Nankivil. Those guys have stepped up. I don't see much of a transition period with those guys this spring and in the summer as well. It just keeps going and the torch just keeps getting passed down.

As a former player, I'm just curious what your senior day was like and did it really hit you that that was your last home game?

Moore: Yeah, it did. It was a tough one. We played a good Indiana team in the field house and unfortunately we lost in a close game. You feel the euphoria of this is it and you won't get to see, for me, 11,500 fans screaming and yelling. It has a little sadness because it's some type of closure to your life. But at the same time, there are a lot of great memories.

You think back to the teammates you've had, all the wins all the memories and all the things that help build you as a person along with being a player. It's a lot of emotion on those days, senior day. It's good and you just want to make sure it fuels you into the game.

As a coach when you see these two guys going into the same type of thing, do you tell them, 'hey, take a second to catch your breath and enjoy it.'?

Moore: I don't say anything. I just let them just go through their own experience. I think it's just important for them to go through it without much talking and making a big adieu about nothing. Everyone has got their own experience and everyone has got their own senior day. I think you just need to experience for themselves and relish the whole moment.

As a coach, and being here for the past four years through their career, is it emotional for you to see them go?

Moore: Absolutely. You go through the recruiting process and you work hard to get kids here. Then once you're here and you see them accomplish great things like these two have, they can probably leave here as the winningest senior class in UW history, if they want to keep playing late into the year. That's a great possibility.

But at the same time, what they've done to mature into players, that's the most important thing. The wins are great, but it's just how they've developed as men is fun to look back on.

Is that the biggest pride factor for you, just seeing how you guys molded these players into what they are and whatever they are going to do when they're done playing ball?

Moore: Absolutely. We are a part of it. Obviously their parents did a great job when they handed them us and allowed them to be under our wings a little bit. But at the same time, we just help to try to steer them in the right direction. If they're struggling in certain things academically or socially, we want to make sure that we're there to kind of help steer them in the right direction and give them some guidance. We've been through it and hopefully we've been able to give them some insight with their future plans.

A lot of basketball left to be played, though. It's not just Wednesday night.

Moore: Absolutely. You see the sand in the hourglass is starting to come down, but at the same time there is still a lot to be done so we're relishing in that moment.

They've kind of taken that approach too, right?

Moore: Absolutely. They know as it gets closer now to if you lose you're done, as it gets closer to these moments, everything is important. Every practice, every possession, every day there is something to be done and work to be taken care of.

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