Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Aalim Moor's diary -- first installment

(very top photo is Aalim holding trophies for his selection to the Scattini All-Tournament team and for St. Mary's winning the event -- second photo is of Aalim shooting a jumper during the tourney)

Aalim Moor III is one of the three high school seniors who signed with Coach Nessman and San Jose State in November. Aalim attends St. Mary's High School in Berkeley and plays the point for Coach Manny Nodar. Here is his initial diary entry:

Well my senior year is officially here and the hype is in full effect. I signed my N. L.O.I. to attend San Jose State University, appeared in ESPN's Rise Magazine, was selected by Rivals as one of the“Top Dogs” and the top point guard coming into the WAC in the recruiting class of 2009, and our team got ranked by the San Francisco Chronicle as the #3 team in the Bay Area. That was all really cool. After all that being said, it’s time to get past all that hype and get down to business.

Coming into the season, I have big expectations for my team and myself after last year’s 33-2 record and getting to the state championship game.

The season started off with me having two great back-to-back games. Galileo was our first game and we handled them pretty easily winning by 27 points. I had 13 points, 8 assists, 6 rebounds and a two-handed dunk in limited minutes because of the amount we were winning by.

The next game was against a good but young Bishop O’Dowd team in front of a sold-out crowd at St. Mary’s. The atmosphere was electric and I was extremely fired up! We were at full strength and played hard, we were determined to prove that we were the better team. The whole game was close until 1:15 in the 4th when I hit a three-pointer at the end of the shot clock and a fast break dunk from Dominique Lee. We won the game by a score of 64-57. I had 19 points. 6 assists and 5 rebounds.

Our next test was against a very big and physical Sheldon team from Sacramento. We came out to a slow start but picked it up going into halftime. After a buzzer-beating 3 pointer I hit from a couple steps in front of half court, we went up 43 to 39. We came out the second half and went on a 8-0 run extending the lead to 12 with about 6 minutes left in the 3rd quarter. Sheldon cut the lead to 3 going into the 4th. The game went back and forth until Sheldon began to pull away late in the 4th. We ended up losing our first game 62-57. I had 13 points. 4 assists 4 rebounds and 3 turnovers. I really needed to play harder and rebound more this game.

The next 3 games were all down to the wire. First we played a big Miramonte team. I think we as a team underestimated this game and just scratched it off as an easy win. We went back and forth and I ended up fouling out with 1:02 left in the game but my team showed maturity and ended up pulling out the win 77-74.

Our next two games would be without one of our captains and best players Chris Brew because of a bad groin injury. We played Sacred Heart next and their best player and fellow future WAC player (Fresno State), Jerry Brown. We came out very slow and went down 12 to 2. But one of our best qualities is our willingness to stay with our system. We cut the lead and went into halftime up two. We then came out and showed why we are ranked where we are and why we get the love and respect we do. We won the game 62 to 59.

Castlemont was the next game. This was a homecoming for me because if I had gone to public school in Oakland that would be the school I should have attended. Again we came out slow early and picked it up later. The game was close but the last 3 plays decided the game. With about 1:13 left in the game, I hit a three pointer, next came a backdoor lay-up from Dominique, and finally a putback lay-up from me ended it. We won 51 to 46.

These were great wins for our confidence as a team especially with Chris being out. I averaged 12 points. 5 assists. and 4 rebounds over these three games.

Our next games were in the Scattini Tournament in Salinas, California, hosted by Palma High School. Our first game was against Archbishop Mitty. It was an ugly game filled with a lot of turnovers and bad plays by both teams but we ended up pulling away winning 56 to 47.

The next two games we got back to playing Panther basketball -- running up and down the court, pressuring the ball and making sure we didn’t take any plays off. Our coaches were extremely pleased with our effort and really let us know during timeouts by encouraging and having fun with us. My primary focus during this tournament was (obviously) winning and my secondary focus was really concentrating on my defense. My uncle (William Brew) has really been giving me some good information and been in my ear about that aspect of the game. Being a lock down defender is really important to me and I'm working hard on trying to take that part of my game to the next level. I was named to the All Tournament Team along with my teammates Dominique Lee (Jr.), Glenn Baral (Fr.) and Chris Brew was named MVP.

We are 7-1 and looking to go into this week’s game against Justin-Sienna with a lot of focus on the little things.

I will write again soon.

Aalim Moor, III

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