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Hillcrest's Jovan Mooring (1) drives toward the basket against Thornton-Fractional South's Greg McClain. | Allen Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media
Jovan Mooring is generally a quiet kid.
The senior doesn’t say much on the court, regardless of how well or, in those rare instances, how well he’s not playing.
He doesn’t scream when he records a big basket, doesn’t wave his arms or search out a teammate for a chest bump.
Mooring prefers to let his play do the talking.
“I don’t get rattled up,” said Mooring, a three-year starter. “I just play the game to win.”
Just don’t misinterpret Mooring’s calm, casual demeanor for a lack of drive.
He intends to lead the No. 6 Hawks (15-5) to Peoria, site of the state finals.
“Between the lines he’s a competitor,” Hillcrest coach Don Houston said. “He’s quiet. He’s a laid back kid. But he’s very serious on the court and has a desire to be the best.”
Mooring has been one of the area’s most consistent scorers throughout his varsity career.
Whether it’s launching jumpers, driving to the basket or crashing the boards for a put-back, Mooring’s vast scoring abilities rank on an elite level.
He’s averaging approximately 17 points per game, a number that would be larger if not for his willingness to defer to his teammates.
It’s a trait — dishing the ball — he’ll likely have to carry with him to the next level.
At 6-1, he’s probably going to need to shift from shooting guard to point guard in college.
“I have to get my teammates involved and make them comfortable on the court,” Mooring said. “I can get my shot anytime I want.”
And from just about anywhere on the court. He buried two three-pointers well beyond the arc Friday during a 68-47 win over No. 7 T.F. North.
Mooring shoots the ball with little effort and with perfect form. It’s not by accident. He attempts 300 to 400 jump shots each day in practice.
“He’s one of the best scorers in the state,” Houston said. “He can score at will. When he was a little kid in eighth grade, he could shoot the ball like no other. He can put the ball on the ground, he can attack the basket and he can finish.
“And he’s a team player. He makes a lot of passes to his teammates.”
The one aspect of Mooring’s game Houston would like to see improvement is defense. Houston acknowledges his star player has performed much better on ‘D’ this season.
“I feel he still has more in him to give on the defensive end,” Houston said. “As soon as he gives us that, the rest of the team will follow. The sky is the limit for him and the team when that happens.”
Mooring is well aware how his teammates feed off his energy on defense.
“Yeah, I see it and If I don’t play defense, it seems like they don’t either,” said Mooring, with a slight grin. “I’m trying to lead by example.”
The Country Club Hills resident and Prairie Hills Junior High grad isn’t certain where he’ll play his college ball.
However, Houston says there is considerable interest.
“Akron and Miami of Ohio have shown the most interest,” Houston said. “UIC has too. So have a slew of junior colleges. He’s a special player. I want to see him playing on the big stage. He deserves it.”