Morrilton’s Moore ‘leads locker room’

by Mark Oliver

In his final season at Morrilton, senior point guard Juwan Moore has many goals that he’s working toward. One of those goals is becoming a better role model for his team.

“I want to be a leader, not a follower,” Moore said. “As a senior, it’s my responsibility to keep everyone on track. I like to be the floor general. I’m always pushing my team to keep going and never give up. I’m always telling my team that the game isn’t over until the clock runs out.”

Moore was selected to this year’s 501 Basketball Team — 34 players representing the best the 501 has to offer both on and off the court. The senior was nominated by his head coach, Keith Zackery. The team is sponsored by First Service Bank and First Security Bank.

“Juwan has a good IQ and feel for the game,” Zackery wrote. “He is becoming a fearless competitor on both ends of the floor. He is very coachable, and that sets a good example for the other players. He does the right thing on and off the court. He’s a guy you can trust and depend on. He leads the locker room.”

After falling in the first round of the Class 5A state tournament a year ago, the Devil Dogs (11-8, 5-1 5A West) have their sights set on returning to the state’s biggest stage.

“Our goal this year is to win conference and to go deep in the state tournament,” Moore said. “Coach Zackery believes in us and he thinks that we have all the pieces to the puzzle to help us get there. We need to keep trusting the process and leave all selfishness off the court.”

“I expect for Juwan to be my leader on and off the court,” Zackery wrote. “He has truly matured and transformed his game from his sophomore year as well as the responsibility of running the team and getting everyone involved. We have been grooming him for the last two years and feel really confident that he can get it done.”

Moore’s leadership doesn’t end on the court. The senior also greatly values his academics.

“Juwan makes really good grades and is always at school,” Zackery wrote. “He never gets in trouble in the classroom. He’s a guy you can trust to do the right thing and not have to worry about whether he will be eligible or get in trouble.”

When he’s not playing for the Devil Dogs, Moore improves his game through AAU basketball.

“I’ve been playing AAU basketball since fifth grade,” Moore said. “It’s been a way for me to improve my ball-handling efficiency and my shooting. One of my [Morrilton] teammates, Laken Dillard, plays with me. Playing with him for the past three years has really helped our chemistry on the court at Morrilton.”

Off the court, Moore gives back to the 501 by assisting the elderly.

“I like to get involved with the local nursing homes,” Moore said. “I’ve helped out in the Alzheimer’s unit and played dominoes, checkers and cards with most of the residents.”

“Juwan is a well-mannered and respectful young man,” Zackery wrote. “He comes from an awesome family, and it shows. He treats people the right way. He is very active in church and has done various projects to give back. Most recently, visiting the local nursing home and spending time with the elderly.”

After high school, the senior plans to pursue a career in physical therapy.

“I like helping people,” Moore said. “When I graduate, I want to go to Arkansas Tech University, and I want to become a physical therapist.”

“Juwan will be a kid I will talk about to my future players for a long time,” Zackery said. “The maturation of him as a player and person is just enormous. He is the example of the kind of men you want to be in your program. He is Morrilton Devil Dogs basketball.”

Morrilton plays host to Searcy on Friday, Feb. 3.