SAN ANTONIO – Seguin boys basketball coach Dwayne Gerlich was preparing for another workday early Wednesday when he got a phone call that left him stunned.
Brady Wyatt, his former assistant coach at Roosevelt, was calling Gerlich to tell him that Cameron Moore, a standout post player for the Rough Riders eight years ago, had died Tuesday during a basketball workout in Macedonia.
“It was very shocking,” Gerlich said Thursday. “Probably the biggest thing I remember about Cam is where he came from as a player and where he was at now. He was out there building the dream. He always wanted to play college ball.
“He had a dream to keep that going on and on, and possibly be in the league (NBA). By playing over there in Europe and in the (NBA) Developmental League, he wanted to catch on with an NBA team.”
Moore, 25, died during his first workout with AV Ohrid in Skopje, Macedonia. He was diagnosed with cardiomegaly, or an enlarged heart, in May 2015 after collapsing and going into a coma.
After sitting out the 2015-16 season, Moore was ready to make a comeback with AV Ohrid. Moore had signed a preliminary deal with the Ohrid team, according to the Associated Press, and had arrived in Ohrid from Venice, Italy, late Monday night. He was expected to sign a formal contract after undergoing medical contests. Moore reportedly collapsed in practice late Tuesday and was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.
A 2008 Roosevelt graduate, Moore started on the Rough Riders’ varsity as a junior and senior. He averaged 19.3 points, 10.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.0 blocks during his senior season.
“When Cam was a sophomore and a junior, he was very young,” Gerlich said. “He graduated at 18 and didn’t turn 18 until November. I don’t think he was even shaving when he left. He really started growing and maturing in college and even after college. He was only now starting to grow into his body. He was 6-6 and weighed only about 175 pounds as a senior.”
Moore signed with South Alabama, but never played for the Jaguars. He enrolled at Alabama-Birmingham instead and made the basketball team as a walk-on. By his senior season at UAB, Moore stood 6-foot-10 and weighed 230 pounds.
“He got serious about his career and started hitting the weight room,” Gerlich said. “He got bigger and stronger. Cam was a good kid. He made good grades and came from good family.”
Moore’s older brother, Charles, also played for Gerlich, who was boys basketball at Roosevelt for nine seasons (1999-2008). His final season with the Rough Riders was Cameron’s senior year.
Moore went on to earn four letters at UAB, and ended his career second in school history in double-doubles (28) and blocked shots (137). He also finished fourth in total rebounds with 747 and scored 1,060 pounds. Moore was only one of three Blazers in school history to record at least 1,000 points and 700 rebounds.
Moore averaged 16.1 points and 10.5 as a senior at UAB in 2011-12, and was named Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year. Undrafted in 2012, he had NBA Summer League stints with the Los Angeles Clippers (2012), New Orleans Pelicans (2013) and New York Knicks (2014). Moore also played overseas in Italy and with Bakersfield in the NBA D-League.
Former Spurs guard Antonio Daniels met Moore through a trainer last summer and took a shine to the young player. Before long, Moore was working out with Daniels.
“I got a chance to kind of get to know him,” Daniels said. “I didn’t know him before that. Basketball in general, is a very small fraternity, a very small community. When I heard the news – and, you know, it’s crazy – you never realize how much impact you have on other people’s lives. I read all the Facebook posts from all the different people in the basketball community and how much he had touched them. I’m not talking about people in San Antonio. I’m talking about people outside of San Antonio. That tells a lot about the young man that he was.”
Moore’s death affected Daniels on a personal level that went beyond his friendship with him. Daniels had an older brother who died in 1996 from complications of a cardiac arrhythmia.
“When I heard the news, the first thing I thought about was his family,” Daniels said. “I don’t know his family, but I remember being in that situation with my brother. I remember the news and how I felt when I heard that. When I heard about Cam, my heart just hurt so much for his family and what they’re feeling right now.
“My Facebook post is more about praying for them, for the family. They need healing. We need to pray for healing and understanding because it’s difficult to understand why things happen. The family has a wound that needs to be healed.”
Daniels, 41, played four seasons (1998-2002) with the Spurs and was a member of the franchise’s first NBA championship team in 1999. He played in the NBA for 13 seasons before retiring from the league in the summer of 2011.
“He used to always pick my mind,” Daniels said. “He was always asking questions.”
Daniels recalled the last conversation he had with Moore this summer when Daniels went to speak to kids at a camp run by Oklahoma City Thunder player Andre Roberson, a Wagner graduate.
“Cam was working the camp,” Daniels said. “When I was talking to the kids, I talked to them about making the most of every day because tomorrow is not promised. I told them about Cam’s story. He had had heart failure a while back, and he was in the hospital for a while in a coma. I told the kids, ‘You guys have a coach here that has gone through it and the Lord chose him to bring him back.’
“When it was over, I sat down with Cam and briefly talked to him. He was like, ‘Man, the Lord saved me for a reason. The Lord brought me back here for a reason.’ That was the last time I talked to him. He was a great kid.”
(© 2017 KENS)