McCollum's Column: Conway youth gets a shining moment from CBS

In a viral world, CBS wanted Moore.

Conway seventh-grader Adrian Moore, whose dunks became a national attraction on YouTube last year, will have a segment on CBS’ NCAA championship preview show that begins at 2:30 this afternoon.

The network plans a salute to the best dunks in college basketball this season. As a companion piece to that, it plans to highlight the dunk by Moore in which he took off near the foul line, the most explosive effort by a youngster of his age many had seen.

“I had posted a dunk against Morrilton and one against Bryant that got a lot of attention,” said his father, Dennis Moore. “CBS called me and asked if I could send it to them with the possibility of using it on the show. They called a couple of weeks ago to say they were going go with it. It’s exciting to see your son in that type of segment, but I also thought it would be good exposure for our school district and community.”

Adrian Moore is a seventh-grader at Carl Stuart Middle School who played on the eighth-grade team this season. He also plays on the Louisiana Select Nike team.

“He’s naturally excited about being recognized on CBS, but we talked to him and he wants to stay grounded,” Moore said. “He is good for his age group. I think he has a chance to be great. If he continues to put in the work, he could be something special to be talked about in the future.”

For several years, Adrian played both baseball and basketball and played youth league a member of the DQ Crushers, a highly successful local competitive baseball team.

“Both basketball and baseball are year round sports nowadays. He’s enjoyed both,” his father said. “But he’s reached the age he needs to pick and choose and it seems like his best chance as far as getting his schooling paid for in college is basketball.”

The elder Moore has seen the upside and downside of work ethic and basketball development. He was a teammate of Scottie Pippen’s at the University of Central Arkansas.

“Scottie had a lot of talent but the key was his work ethic on the basketball court,” Moore said. “He was always working to be better. Scottie has talked to Adrian about that. He didn’t get to be where he was on talent alone. Adrian has also worked with Archie Goodwin (a top high school recruit from Sylvan Hills). He knows he has a lot to learn and he’s learned from working with a good older player that he has to keep working.”

And that also means the classroom.

“Academics are really important in our household and he doesn’t play unless he keeps his grades up,” Moore said. “We’ve told him that to be able to get a good college scholarship, he’s got to keep up with the books.”

Dennis Moore has a real-life perspective. He’s been a Little Rock police officer for 24 years. He’s seen plenty of the darkside and the consequences of youngsters with promise who didn’t make it, couldn’t make it or refused to try to make it. He doesn’t appear a pushy parent as much as one who is committed  to setting boundaries because he’s seen the results of falling outside them.

“Right now, Adrian has potential,” Moore said. “A lot of kids have potential. But if he doesn’t have the work ethic and put in the work, he can end up like a lot of kids — with just potential and nothing to show for it.”

There’s also another aspect of Moore. He has served as a bodyguard for Jermain Taylor for all of the Arkansas boxer’s fights since 2001.

He knows about being in the arena, about training, about taking and throwing punches and about the ups and downs of sudden success.

Even when life is a slam dunk, the launching pad is based on fundamentals.

(Sports columnist David McCollum can be reached at 505-1235 or