Take two for Julian Moore
Appearing for the first time in his career as a Nittany Lion at Penn, just 18 miles from his native Fort Washington, Pa., Julian Moore registered two points, two rebounds and a block in 15 minutes of action.
The third game of Penn State's 2013-14 campaign, Moore would appear in six of the Lions' next seven games, giving every indication that he'd play a role for the rest of the season.
Yet, as Moore now reflects, his year was "a little bit all over the place."
Breaking his nose in practice leading up to the Princeton game in December, Moore had surgery to repair it in the aftermath. Recovering from it, Moore suffered another setback when it broke again, requiring another surgery and eliminating any chance at returning before the end of the year.
"The mask that's supposed to protect your face, it got hit and of course my nose got hit by the mask and it got pushed out of place. I was done. I couldn't breathe through my nose," he said. "They just sat me down with Saz the trainer and Coach Chambers and we just thought it would be best for me to redshirt last year."
The setback may have been a blessing in disguise.
Having enrolled at Penn State as a 6-foot-10, 215 pound forward, Moore was able to spend the time away building muscle and bulk in the weight room while crafting his game. Now listed at 235 pounds, the Germantown Academy product says the year was far from being a wash.
"Obviously, I wanted to play, but I did get some time and I got a little bit of time off to work on my body and my game, getting mentally prepared to play and everything," he said. "So I think it was beneficial."
Specifically pointing to his work in the weight room, Moore can now acknowledge that, at the time anyway, he wasn't exactly physically or mentally ready for the challenges that accompany a true freshman's first year of Big Ten basketball.
"I know for a fact that I had to get stronger. I was really underweight for my position," he said, noting his desire to reach 240 pounds before the start of the season in October. "From a basketball standpoint, I had to tighten up and really solidify my game throughout the floor. I guess I was a little bit raw all around when I first came here, but working with the coaches and everything really helped me get my game together."
In a better place physically, mentally and developmentally, Moore now looks and acts the part.
Recently granted a medical hardship waiver by the NCAA for his tribulations last year, Moore now has four years of eligibility left in his career at Penn State.
Still realizing the challenges that are ahead against the bigger bodies of opponents in the Big Ten, Moore notes that he "should be playing the four" but is happy to compete at any position head coach Patrick Chambers places him. Not shying away from the opportunity now within sight for the Nittany Lions, the feelings left by a year that wasn't have been replaced by complete and heightened anticipation.
"I can't wait, personally. I know there's going to be a ton of contact and a ton of fun," he said.