IOWA CITY– Darryl Moore is one of the great stories of Hawkeye basketball.
He was playing a pickup game in the Iowa Fieldhouse when assistant coach Rick Moss spotted him in action.
“He was over there playing with some of the guys and we ended up playing against him and he liked the way I played so he said, ‘you should try out,’” Darryl remembered.
Coach Moss told Head Coach Tom Davis and Darryl was invited to walk on.
Darryl made the “Gray team” and red-shirted his first year, 1993-94. His next two years he played in three games in each season.
In his junior year, 1996-97, the Hawkeyes opened at the Maui Invitational in Hawaii.
“It was kind of weird,” recalled Darryl. “We always met in the hotel lobby before the game and Ryan Bowen and Kent McCausland (both starters) didn’t come. Those two guys got shipped to the hospital. Then in the first half of the game (against California) Jess Settles got hurt. I guess I was the last guy left.”
Darryl’s first start came against LSU in the next game in Hawaii and he scored 13 points with nine rebounds and four assists.
He played in all 32 games in 1996-97 and had 13 starts.
Darryl averaged 5.2 points, 4.6 rebounds and shot 46 percent from the field. He also had 36 steals and made 21 straight free throws during the season.
“I didn’t know it until it was over,” said Darryl about the free throw streak. “I would have focused more if I knew what was going on.”
The Hawkeyes finished that season 22-10, 12-6 in the Big Ten – which tied them for second place.
Iowa had some good talent on the team led by Andre Woolridge, Jess Settles, Ryan Bowen and Kent McCausland, who led the nation in 3-point shooting.
“Everybody benefited from Andre,” said Darryl. “He made everybody better. He made the defense play honest.”
In Darryl’s senior year, the Hawks were 20-11, 9-7 in the Big Ten and tied for fifth place.
Darryl played in every game, had 20 starts averaging 7.1 points, 5.0 rebounds with 46 assists and 35 steals.
Ricky Davis and Dean Oliver were freshmen on that team.
“I got to see him every day,” said Darryl about Ricky. “I knew he would eventually get there but it was a surprise when he left early (to the NBA), but I wasn’t surprised when he got picked up.”
Darryl played his high school ball at DuSable High School, where he was two-time all conference and team captain his senior year.
He averaged 17 points, six rebounds and six assists in his prep career but he wasn’t offered a scholarship to play in college.
“It probably was my size,” Darryl said. “I didn’t play any AAU ball at all. That probably was the biggest thing because nobody knew who I was. Shoot, I averaged 26 points when I was a senior.”
Darryl has played in the Prime Time league for the last 11 years, winning the MVP award at least once.
“You know what, I just like being out here having fun,” said Darryl about playing in the summer league.
Randy Larson, who runs the league, has seen Darryl play as a Hawkeye and in the Prime Time.
“He’s one of those guys that can do everything,” said Randy. “He guards his man. He always goes to the boards, he’s a great fast break guy and he can shoot the three. He can drive the ball and makes the right decisions. That’s why we like him in the league, because he’s a good example for the young guys.”
Darryl lived in Des Moines for a while but moved back to North Liberty to help raise his four kids: Laural, 16, Brianna, 10, Darius, 9 and Nia, 5.
Brianna and Darius have followed their father’s footsteps and enjoy basketball.
“They play out in the North Dodge league and they love it,” said Darryl.
I’ve followed Darryl’s career since he played for the Hawks and even remember when he got his shot at the Maui Invitational, but this is the first time I’ve had a chance to talk to him.
He is one of those good guys that after you talk to him you feel like you have known him forever.
He’s a born again Hawkeye fan.
“Coming from Chicago, I grew up an Illinois fan and then once I got here I can’t stand Illinois,” said Darryl. “So I’m a Hawk fan, the fans are great and if you stay around here they treat you well.”
I also like the fact that Darryl said he wouldn’t do any more interviews with me unless I gave him another one of my world-famous Monster cookies– this guy has great taste.
With a couple of more basketball players in the family, I would say that if any of his kids have half the heart of their dad, they will be great at whatever they do.