WEST LAFAYETTE—When coming up with another way to describe the achievements of his two seniors, Matt Painter pointed to a bit of an usual place.
After all, JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore were not even on this list.
"If you go look back at the McDonalds All-American game you see some one and dones," said Painter, referring to the game which features the best in high school basketball. "You don't see some, you see a lot of them."
Indeed you do. There's Blake Griffin, Derrick Rose, Kevin Love, Michael Beasley, O.J. Mayo, and Patrick Patterson-all standout players in college who moved on before their four years were done in school.
The same cannot be said for Johnson and Moore, who each has hung around West Lafayette for their full four-year commitment.
In fact when the two played their final home game on Tuesday-beating Illinois 75-67-the road throughout college seemed like a journey.
"Its seems like we're a long way from people calling us the 'Baby Boilers," said Johnson, referring to the name given to him, Moore and Robbie Hummel when they nearly won the Big Ten in their freshman season of 2007-2008.
Since then the pair have stayed on board with Matt Painter and his program, proving to be vital contributors to an era that includes a pair of Sweet 16 appearances, a Big Ten regular season and tournament title.
As it did with Johnson, the fact that it was winding down hit home for Moore, as he prepared to end his time at Mackey Arena.
"Right before the game I was nervous," said Moore with a chuckle following. "I was like 'Man, this is my last time going out there and play.'"
"I tried not to think about it."
Actually the pair have before about ten months ago, when both Johnson and Moore put their names in for NBA Draft consideration. Moore admitted that it was a chance to gauge his talent for scouts, but for Johnson there was actually a chance that he might go-just as many in his high school class did.
Instead, he opted to return to West Lafayette, where he has averaged 20.4 points and 8.1 rebounds per game and is a top contender for a first team All-American selection and Big Ten Player of the Year.
"It definitely feels good because there was a time last year where I didn't even know if I was going to come back to school or not," said Johnson. "It was a great decision, I feel like."
For Moore it was as well, as he joins Johnson in All-American talks by averaging 18.5 points a game himself. Together the duo has helped the Boilermakers overcome the loss of fellow senior Robbie Hummel to have a 24-5 record-including a 13-3 mark in the Big Ten.
"How much they've grown up," said Painter when asked about the seniors Tuesday night. "You come in as a freshman and you think you're a long way away from leaving. At the institution you just have some tough days and you just keep battling.
"With these guys, they've continued to battle, they've continued to get better, and they've had tough days and they never made excuses, they've just continued to work and they've been a pleasure to coach."
But don't forget that it's not over yet, and that fact stuck with Moore even as he went through the senior ceremonies following the win over Illinois.
"We still have a chance for a Big Ten Championship," said Moore. "It would be great to win it two years in a row, and that's great for the program."
One in which he and Johnson saw all the way through.