How Kansas guard Charlie Moore is working to improve this summerView 2 photos
By Jesse Newell firstname.lastname@example.org
While 30 grade-schoolers formed an autograph line in front of Kansas center Udoka Azubuike, teammate Charlie Moore sat a few feet away, having already completed all his signing requests.
The scene, which took place at Washburn coach Brett Ballard's basketball camp on Monday morning, is to be expected. KU's recent run to the Final Four — and also Azubuike's 7-foot stature — has turned him into a recognizable figure.
Moore is not that ... at least not yet.
A 5-foot-11 transfer from Cal, Moore admits sitting out last season was difficult. That was especially the case when he was on the bench — but not able to play — during KU's Final Four game against Villanova.
"That stage is pretty big," Moore said. "And who wouldn't want to be out there competing?"
His time will be here soon enough. Moore, who averaged 12.2 points and 3.5 assists as a freshman with Cal, will battle for point-guard minutes along with incoming freshman Devon Dotson this season.
Last week, Moore said earning a starting spot was "no big deal" while emphasizing that his biggest focus was helping the team.
He reiterated that belief Monday.
"I'm just going in and going to compete hard in practice," Moore said. "Whatever happens happens."
That doesn't mean he's been taking it easy.
In addition to weightlifting and individual workouts this summer, Moore has focused on two areas in particular. One has been becoming more vocal, as he's heard, "Make sure you're communicating" from KU's coaches often.
"Just gaining that chemistry so we can be the best team we can be when the season comes around," Moore said. "That's big for a point guard. They just keep emphasizing that in my head, and I just keep working on it to get better."
Moore also says he's devoted specific attention to his jumpshot. With help from a shooting machine, he's set a goal of making 250 threes each day, with many of those attempts coming from NBA range.
"The coaches thought I should do it," Moore said of the routine. "I've been doing it, helping my game."
KU certainly could use that particular skillset. The Jayhawks lost their top four three-point shooters from last season, and Moore — he made 35 percent of his outside shots at Cal — will go into the year as one of the team's top threats from the perimeter.
"His shot got better," KU assistant coach Kurtis Townsend said, comparing Moore to when he first arrived on campus. "I thought he was unbelievable (in practice) at getting by his man and then finding an open guy and passing the ball. He needs to get a little bit better defensively, but I think (fans) will be surprised at how good he is at getting in the lane coming off ball screens, then finding open guys."
Just before leaving Washburn's camp Monday, Moore joined Azubuike in a group photo with campers. While Azubuike towered above those around him, Moore nearly blended in, smiling as Ballard snapped a few pictures with his phone.
"It was fun being out here with the kids," Moore said. "That's what it's all about."
More than likely, Moore won't be as anonymous when attending summer camps a year from now.
"When I get out there, we'll just see how it goes," Moore said of the upcoming season. "Just looking forward to playing."