The Xavier Musketeers returned to practice July 17 in preparation for next month’s trip to Spain. Here’s an early look at the roster
Adam Baum, firstname.lastname@example.org
A verse in the Book of Proverbs reads, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”
Author James Allen published a self-help book in 1903 that was influenced by that Bible passage, titled “As a Man Thinketh.”
Bryce Moore just read that book. And it wasn’t a school assignment for the Xavier University graduate transfer basketball player. He picked it up on his own.
Xavier Musketeers guard Bryce Moore (11) pushes the ball up-court during practice, Wednesday, July 17, 2019, at Cintas Center in Cincinnati. (Photo: Kareem Elgazzar)
“I like to read,” said Moore, who’s originally from Indianapolis, Indiana, and transferred to Xavier from Western Michigan. “I just picked up another book yesterday from the mailroom. I just try to stay busy and continue to grow.”
The 6-foot-3 point guard isn’t just a reader, he’s also an accomplished musician.
“I play tenor saxophone,” said Moore. “We had to take an arts class so I picked the tenor saxophone in middle school and I just stuck with it.
“I like to involve myself in other things outside of basketball so that when I get on the court it just makes it sweeter.”
It takes detail and discipline to learn an instrument. The same is true of basketball.
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Eric Moore and his wife, Vanessa, saw to it that all four of their children learned that a life well-lived is about the little things and the discipline it takes to remember that.
“People always seemed to focus on the big things,” said Bryce’s father, Eric, a 1988 first-round pick in the NFL Draft by the New York Giants. “I don’t think you focus on the big things. My wife and I raised our kids to focus on the little things.
“It’s the little things that add up and get you ready for the big things.”
There’s a power that comes from a lesson learned.
“I’ve always tried to take pride in what I do and just doing the right things on and off the court,” said Moore, who graduated from Western Michigan with an undergraduate degree in Accounting.
Bryce credited his father with that mentality.
“He played in the NFL with the Giants and he played in Cincinnati with the Bengals (for one season in 1994),” said Bryce. “Just the laser-sharp focus … he’s always instilled in me as far as getting up early, getting your work in, staying after late and studying film.”
It was the little things that led to Bryce joining the Musketeers for the upcoming 2019-2020 season.
“When I was asking Bryce, ‘What is it you want out of graduate school? He said his MBA. I said, let’s start there,'” his dad said. “Xavier had an outstanding MBA program. Coach Steele had recruited Trevon Bluiett at Park Tudor where Bryce and him won several state championships so he had known coach Steele through the recruiting of Trevon. Trevon is like a distant son almost. He stays over the house when he’s in town, they’re best buds.
“It really seemed like a great fit … I’m all about relationships and Trevon had a great experience at that university and with that coaching staff.”
Before he decided on Xavier, Moore needed to get his body right.
Five games into his junior season at Western Michigan, Moore tore his ACL. He didn’t find out, though, until after the season was over.
Moore played in 32 games that season and averaged 9.8 points per game and shot 39 percent from beyond the arc with a torn ligament in his knee.
He missed all of last season as a medical redshirt before taking the grad transfer route to Xavier. He hasn’t played a college basketball game since March of 2018 and you’d never know that by watching him compete in the Musketeers’ summer practices before their trip to Spain.
“My junior year I played on a torn ACL so I haven’t really been healthy,” said Moore, who looks more like a strong safety than a point guard. “Now I’m really healthy and feeling good and confident.”
It took all of five summer practices for Steele to see the work ethic and dedication that Bryce has been cultivating since he was a boy.
“He’s really mature,” said Steele. “He is a process-oriented guy. I think he knows what it takes to win and to compete at this level because he’s been in college basketball. He was well-coached by Steve Hawkins at Western Michigan. He’s won at Park Tudor.
“He’s a detail, discipline, process-oriented guy and he gets it. He values every rep. He’s the same guy every single day. He works really, really, really hard and he’s invested in our team.”
Bryce’s dad said, “I’m honored (coach Steele) sees my kid in that form. I’m honored that Bryce has brought his commitment to the university and to the basketball team. Those are the things you look at. We know he’ll be on the team, we know he’ll be out on the court, but what did he do and how did he carry himself as a young man with the coaching staff and with his team for that entire year that he’s there? Those are the things Bryce is gonna remember and what people are going to remember about him. My wife and I are very proud.”
Moore’s impact this season will be heavy at both ends of the court. He can knock down shots and he’s highly lauded for his suffocating defense.
“I don’t play football so it’s kind of like me playing football in a sense, just me locking down guys and making things tough,” said Moore. “Everyone has their own definition of tough but I really take pride in defense and making things really tough.”
Steele said, “He has the ability to dominate the ball. He can pressure and contain and he’s got a mentality and a toughness to him. Obviously, you can tell he’s physically strong just looking at him but he’s a mentally tough kid. I’m really, really excited about him.”
As for Moore’s early impressions of his new team, he said, “We have a lot of pieces. It’s good to have that because you need a lot of dogs to go where you want to get to.
“I think we’re really talented but I know there’s a lot of talented teams so we need to continue to have laser-sharp focus whether that’s in the weight room or in practice.”