Long Beach Poly junior Alexis Moore knows his role as the team's point guard.
"My job is to lead my troops into battle night in, night out," Moore said.
But Moore says his responsibility doesn't end there. The 6-foot-1, 170 pound leader wants to get the Jackrabbits' basketball program on par with the school's football team, which is one of the top programs in the country.
"Our mission this year is to exceed expectations," Moore said. "A lot of times the football team overshadows our basketball team. We want to go out and prove to everybody that Poly's basketball team is for real."
An obvious leader, Moore is well-spoken and mature, something colleges around the country have taken notice of. So far, Portland State is the only school that has made a formal offer, but programs such as Arizona and Arizona State are very interested. Moore has already taken a visit to USC's campus and has unofficial visits to Cal and Stanford planned over his spring break
With a 3.7 adjusted GPA (Moore is enrolled in advanced placement classes), Ivy League schools Penn and Yale have also shown considerable interest early on.
"We try to make sure he's articulate and educated," Alexis' father Barry Moore said.
That maturity has paid off on the basketball court as well, as Moore is proving good on his mission statement. The Jackrabbits (23-3, 12-0) finished the regular season in first place in the Moore League, something Poly hasn't done since Moore arrived three years ago.
Moore's stats won't blow you away, as he's averaging an even 10 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals per game. But since senior guard Shelton Boykin went down with an injury at a game in Texas in late December, Moore has become more of a scoring threat, putting up double figures in seven of the 11 games since Boykin's injury.
"Last year was my first year starting, and I had to gain the trust of my teammates," Moore said. "I had to prove to them I could play, so most of last year I was a facilitator. This season coach (Sharrief) Metoyer came to me and told me he needs me to score more, so that's what I'm trying to do."
Moore is a solid driver with the ability to finish around the basket with either hand. The biggest knock on his game coming into this season was an inconsistent jump shot, something a good student like Moore knows can only be remedied by hard work.
"I go to a shooting coach a couple times a week, I'll come in the gym at lunch and take shots, I'll come in before practice and take shots. I want to make sure each day I take as many shots as I can," Moore said.
And these shoot-arounds aren't a time of reflection and relaxation for Moore, whose shooting coach runs him up and down the court and in between cones to simulate in-game shots.
"He stresses to me that I have to practice real-time shots, with a guy closing out on me or a hand in my face," Moore said. "I don't have all the time in the world to sit back and relax and shoot in a game like I would in an empty gym."
That hard work is expected to pay dividends when the playoffs start next week. The Jackrabbits are going to have to rely on Moore to pick up his game in the postseason, something Moore thinks he's ready to do.
"We have a lot of talent on this team, and I think I'm ready to take another step forward as a player," Moore said. "We can't wait to go out and show everyone that we're a force to be reckoned with."