By Robby Atkinson / Special to The Star
The Meridian Star
Football season is quickly coming to an end for most of our local teams and the gyms are starting to become active with the beginning of basketball season. MCC honored Coach Jim Redgate a few weeks ago by naming the basketball court in his honor and that got me thinking about some of the more famous players that have played at MCC. In the past couple of months I have written about some of our famous baseball alumni at MCC, but we do happen to have several players from our basketball program that have gone on to successful careers.
The first player that comes to mind of course would be Jamario Moon who played only one season at Meridian Community College during the 1999-2000 season. I remember watching Moon during his one season at MCC and was just floored at how talented a player he was. Moon was the talk of the town during his one season at MCC and finished that year by averaging 20.8 points a game, to go along with 8.7 rebounds a game.
Moon entered the 2001 NBA Draft as an early candidate, but was not drafted by any team. However, he was drafted twice in the NBA D-League. In the 2003 NBA D-League Draft, he was drafted 43rd overall by Huntsville Flight. Moon then played for the Harlem Globetrotters during 2004. He also played 16 games for the Kentucky Colonels of the American Basketball Association.
Moon also helped the Rome Gladiators to the 2005 World Basketball Association (WBA) Championship, directly followed by a 2005 Southeastern Exposure Summer League (SEBL) title. He later played for the WBA's Marietta Storm in 2006, as well as the Albany Patroons of the CBA. He also played in the LNBP in Mexico.
He had definitely paid his dues at this point in his career and on July 10, 2007 the Toronto Raptors signed him to a two-year deal. Moon won the coaching staff for Toronto over in a three-day minicamp that was held and he ultimately won a spot on the club. Moon had finally realized his dream of playing in the NBA and didn’t disappoint in his first career game.
In his first start against the Chicago Bulls, he had 12 points, six rebounds, and three steals. Moon remained in the starting lineup over the next few games, recording 15 points, nine rebounds, six blocks and three steals in another game against the Bulls on November 25 of that season. Two days later, Moon broke a club record by recording at least one block in twelve consecutive games. On February 1, 2008, Moon was named NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month. He had a career-high five steals on January 18 against the Atlanta Hawks, and scored a career-high 17 points against the Cleveland Cavs the next night.
During the 2008-2009 season Moon started moving from several different clubs in the NBA which included stops with the Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavs, Los Angeles Clippers, and Charlotte Bobcats. Moon was acquired by the Los Angeles D-Fenders of the NBA D-League earlier this month.
The best memory I have of Moon’s career came during the 2008 NBA All-Star weekend in New Orleans. Moon was invited to participate in two events during the weekend which included the Rookie/Sophomore Challenge Game and the Slam Dunk Contest. Moon scored 13 points for the rookies in the game, but made a large impact on the Slam Dunk Contest. Moon made a splash in the event, but finished by Dwight Howard and Gerald Green for the dunk title. The best part of the night was hearing Meridian, MS in the same sentence with Jamario during the broadcast.
It was fun to read some great stories about Jamario this week and next week I will look at another legendary player in our men’s program at Meridian Community College, Ronald “Flip” Murray.