Q&A // Eddie Moon, Annapolis, basketball

Every successful basketball team could use a player like Annapolis senior Eddie Moon. The 6-foot-4 forward works hard in practice and brings positive energy to the game, always coming with a team-first approach that is infectious. In his second year of varsity and first as a starter, Moon is averaging five points and seven rebounds a game to help the Panthers get off to a 5-1 start.

While Moon is focused on basketball right now, his true athletic passion is football. He played three years of varsity at linebacker for the Panthers and plans to play in college. Still undecided on a college, Moon is interested in majoring in business or accounting.

He sings in his church choir and is an avid sports fan, supporting the Washington Redskins and Florida Gators in football, and the Miami Heat and North Carolina Tar Heels in basketball.

How big an adjustment is it starting this year?

There's a lot more responsibilities. Last year, when our big men got in foul trouble and we needed some extra energy off the bench, I was there. This year, it's kind of reverse. I try to keep myself on the floor as much as I can. Coach [John] Brady tells us to go hard and we can sub ourselves out and sub ourselves back in.

What has been the key to the team's good start?

We got a transfer from Spalding, Del Howard - he's a big key - and we have a lot of returning players from last year. We wanted to get off to a better start than last year. We went 15-8 and we got put out in the first round of the playoffs. We want to get to states this year.

What's it going to take?

A lot of hard work, dedication and everyone coming together. Last year, we had a couple of individuals on our team and there wasn't a lot of teamwork. This year, everybody is together.

What's it like starting this season after coming off the bench last year?

It's exciting and a lot different. You hear your name when you're introduced and stuff, it's great.

What's it like playing linebacker?

Playing linebacker is fun. I love playing defense - I'd rather hit then take hits. I've always had a passion for football. I like the rush, the energy when you're playing in a game. It's a whole different atmosphere.

What was the best moment you enjoyed on the football field?

We played Meade and they drove down the field when we were up four or five. They needed to score a touchdown and I sacked [second-team All-Metro quarterback] Raymond Cotton on the last play and we won. It was a rush, so much excitement hearing the crowd scream, teammates screaming for you.

What's it like being a senior captain?

You have to set an example for the younger guys. If I get in the game and I'm not doing anything and if I'm down, everybody gets down. You've got to keep yourself up and keep the others up. Even when you're on the bench, you have to support your teammates. It's like being a big brother.

What is the best advoce you've ever received?

My linebacker coach once told me: "The game takes blood, sweat, tears and pain, and you have nothing to lose and everything to gain." In everything, you have to work hard for anything you want.

What's the best Christmas present you ever receiver?

My car, a Mazda Millennium I got last year. My dad went to go get the car without me. I was downstairs playing a game with my friends, and my mom came down and gave me the keys. I didn't know what to say. The car was outside. It was great.

Who is your biggest role model?

My dad, and that all goes back to hard work. He's a barber. He was cutting hair for a woman, and one day she decided she didn't want the shop anymore, so she sold it to my dad. He really turned it around.

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