In an age of specialization among blue-chip high school athletes, Evan Moore is determined to follow a less-traveled path.
Moore, a 6-foot-7, 235-pound senior at Brea Olinda, is a standout football and basketball player, evident by his commitment to Stanford, where he plans to play both sports.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Friday January 03, 2003 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 15 inches; 541 words Type of Material: Correction
High school basketball -- The nickname of the Los Angeles Loyola High basketball team is Cubs, not Lions, as was reported in a Sports article Monday.
"I don't want to close the door yet," Moore said. "I don't want to be watching a basketball or football game [at Stanford] next year, knowing I can still play at that level."
Moore, who turns 18 next week, played receiver and free safety for Brea Olinda in the fall, leading the team with 28 catches for 659 yards and 12 touchdowns in only nine games.
He's the leading scorer and rebounder for the Wildcat basketball team, which is off to its best start in school history. Playing forward, Moore is averaging 23.1 points and 6.1 rebounds through the first eight victories. His highest-scoring game was a 36-point effort Thursday night in a first-round game of the Brea Olinda tournament, when he made 14 of 19 shots.
The Wildcats (10-0), ranked seventh by The Times, will be seeking their third tournament title this season tonight at 8 when they play host to Claremont. The fast start is no surprise to Moore and his teammates, including 6-9 center Brent Smith. "We had high expectations going into the season," Moore said.
When Moore began high school, he believed his best opportunity for an athletic scholarship was through basketball. That belief grew stronger after his sophomore season, when several colleges began showing interest in Moore as a shooting guard. Moore began playing football his freshman season, but didn't believe he had much of a future until early in his junior season. At 6-5, he was about two inches taller than his sophomore season and began drawing the attention of college football scouts.
Despite sitting out seven games because of a broken collarbone his junior football season, Moore was determined to continue playing both sports until he felt he no longer possessed the ability to compete at the college level. Most recruiters seemed willing to oblige, but he wasn't always convinced they would honor their word.
"[Former UCLA football coach Bob] Toledo said, 'I'll let you do that,' " Moore said of playing two sports. "But I kind of felt like, if I went there, I would have to do basketball on my free time, and that's not something I wanted."
He didn't get that feeling when Stanford became interested. Moore was well aware of the accord Stanford coaches made with two-sport athlete Teyo Johnson, who recently gave up his last two seasons of eligibility to make himself available for the NFL draft. Johnson, a 6-7 receiver, led Stanford last season with 41 catches for 467 yards and eight touchdowns. He also played forward for the Cardinal basketball team the last two seasons.
"There's an agreement among coaches at Stanford to try and allow [two-sport athletes] to have equal time among their sports," Moore said. "They understand that if you want to play two sports, you should be able."
Gary McKnight of top-ranked Santa Ana Mater Dei became the winningest high school basketball coach in Orange County on Friday night. The Monarchs defeated Rocklin, 95-44, in the second round of the Orange tournament, giving him 619 victories.
McKnight, who has won 16 Southern Section titles in 21 seasons at Mater Dei, surpassed Tom Danley, who coached at Anaheim Katella for 33 years.
Long Beach Poly Coach Ron Palmer, who has said he will retire at the conclusion of this season, was slowed last week in his quest to reach 600 victories by two perennial small-school powers.
The Jackrabbits, the defending Southern Section Division I-AA champions, lost to defending Division V-A champion No. 18 L.A. Price, 55-49, in a Lynwood tournament quarterfinal Friday night. Saturday, Poly (5-6) lost to No. 15 L.A. Verbum Dei, 65-64, in overtime in a fifth-place semifinal, leaving Palmer at 594 victories.
Palmer said Long Beach Poly is in the midst of "kind of a building year for the next two years," after losing eight players, including all its primary starters, from last season.
Fourth-ranked L.A. Loyola advanced to the championship game of the Rotary Red Cross Classic tonight at Charleston, S.C., marking the first time a West Coast team has played in the title game in the history of the 10-year-old tournament. The Lions will play Lilburn (Ga.) Berkmar High, winner of two of the last three state Class AAAAA titles.
Oxnard Pacifica is playing its first season of varsity basketball, but that hasn't stopped the Tritons from advancing to consecutive tournament finals.
Pacifica (11-3) lost to Solana Beach Santa Fe Christian, 44-35, in the final of the Santa Maria Valley Christian tournament Saturday night, two weeks after winning the Goleta Dos Pueblos tournament.
Pacifica Coach Howard Davis couldn't point to a specific player that has given the Tritons such a fast start, but he said the 2-year-old school has one of the best gymnasiums in the region.
"It has 14 buckets, can seat 3,500 people and the stands go up 22 rows on both sides," Davis said.
The shot of the week belonged to Pico Rivera El Rancho's Rudy Navarette in a pool-play game Saturday night in the Montebello Cantwell Sacred Heart tournament. After Chino Don Lugo's Glen Powers made two free throws to tie the score, 47-47, with 1.5 seconds remaining, Navarette let the inbounds pass roll to midcourt, keeping the clock frozen, then picked it up 50 feet from the basket and banked it in for a 50-47 victory.
The Dons (8-5) play the championship game against El Monte Mountain View tonight at 7:30.
Correspondent Steven Herbert contributed to this report.