This is the first in a series of reports showing the impact of your philanthropic giving on EKU student-athletes! The University of Eastern Kentucky’s Giving Day 2021 will take place on Wednesday, April 14. This 24 hour online challenge is designed to increase donation participation from the entire EKU community. Also known as #GiveBigE, the goal of the event is to receive support from 1,000 donors within 24 hours. Please consider a gift to the Colonel Club or the sport program of your choice on EKU Giving Day.
Family and basketball were the two most important things Michael moreno life as far back as he can remember.
When it was time for the highly sought-after rookie to make his college decision, the Georgetown 6-foot-7 forward opted to stay close to home. Three-time all-state draft pick in Kentucky M. Basketball’s first team and finalist in 2019, Moreno recently completed his second season for the University of Eastern Kentucky men’s basketball team.
His prep career at Scott County High School was a record, as he broke the school’s rebound record in 40 years and finished with 1317 boards. He has also scored 2,383 career points, assisted his team in the KHSAA State Title game in consecutive seasons and had a perfect 4.0 grade point average.
Moreno’s appreciation for the fervor with which basketball – the game he started playing at age four – is viewed in the Bluegrass State has only grown since he wears brown and white.
“By playing Kentucky in high school, you kind of live and breathe,” Moreno said. “It’s not something that’s a side hobby, it’s a part of who everyone is. It’s really important. To pass that tradition on to the university and to be surrounded by people who understand the importance of what it means to play basketball in the state of Kentucky, it’s just not an opportunity that a lot of people have. “
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Having the opportunity to be mentored by someone who shares the same set of life experiences is incredibly rare.
But that was the exact circumstance in which Moreno came to Richmond. EKU Head Coach AW Hamilton is also a native of Georgetown and was a featured player on the Scott County State Championship First Team in 1998. Hamilton is also a member of the school’s Track and Field Hall of Fame.
“He was kind of the standard who came before me,” said Moreno. “So it was very important for me to live up to these standards as a child and meet the expectations of others around me. It’s hard to find someone to play for who fully understands where you are from and doesn’t there really is no better example than someone who grew up 10 minutes away from you. This is something that I have found really fascinating and which has only strengthened our relationship as a player. – coach today. “
In Hamilton’s system, Moreno has found an environment that challenges him to grow and improve on a daily basis. Attention to detail in all aspects of the game made him a better player.
“It gave me a whole new vision of myself as a player,” said Moreno. “The style the coach wants us to play requires top notch conditioning. You have to play hard, you have to be able to play well on defense and that has to be consistent. He really likes doing it without position. He likes it. where we have three to four guards that can bring it down and lead the attack. The positions you’re going to play are interchangeable. As far as defense goes, it’s the same. “
The results are already bearing fruit. In 62 career games over the past two seasons, Moreno has started 50. In 26.2 minutes per game in his EKU career, he is averaging 9.4 points per game and 5.5 rebounds per game . In the summer of 2020, Moreno was named Male Newcomer of the Year at the Colonels Choice Awards.
“To play in your system you need rigorous conditioning,” said Moreno. “It’s not the fun part of playing basketball, but that’s what you signed up for. There were times this year that we played and there were five or six minutes left in the game and there were times. ‘other team was absolutely out of breath and we’re just hitting. our stride. It paid off. I hated it at the time, but it was absolutely delayed in gratitude. “
Moreno’s growth while in eastern Kentucky, coupled with the knowledge he gained in Hamilton, enabled him to potentially pursue his basketball career once his playing days for the. Colonels finished.
“I feel like this is preparing me for another opportunity to play professional basketball,” he said. “I will be able to fit into any system.”
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Regardless of his basketball success, family is the central aspect of Moreno’s life.
His parents, Sarah and Enelio, laid the foundation for what has become of him. He takes seriously the responsibility of being a role model for his younger brother, Malachi.
“The proximity to my home was something that became very important to me later in my recruiting,” said Moreno. “I thought what I wanted was to go and have this experience in college, but I decided it was more important to see my brother grow up and be here with my mom and dad.”
Attending school in eastern Kentucky means Moreno is only a short drive to I-75 from the house he grew up in. It also means that his family can easily attend his games at the McBrayer Arena.
“EKU kind of gave me this feeling of family away from home,” he said. “I’m just far enough away – about 45 minutes – where I can be far away but I can still go home and make it a day trip if I want to.”
Moreno also wants to set an example for his brother as a person.
“Seeing my little brother grow up kind of changed me a little bit just because I try to put everything I have in him,” he said. “As a man, as a student, as a person and even as an athlete, I wish he could say, ‘I did it better than my brother. I learned from his mistakes and I was able to avoid them on the way. ‘ I hope he gets this opportunity one day. “
Moreno, who credits his mother for establishing much of what he values today, knows there will always be ups and downs. But he finds it reassuring to know that his family will always be a constant for him.
“Whatever happens, you will always have your family in your corner,” he says. “They will be there to make sense of you and they will be there to love you at the same time. Whether adversity hits you or you are successful, they will always be there.”
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It’s no surprise that Moreno is considering a future career, which she revolves around basketball and giving back. He wants to train and mentor the next generation of student-athletes.
“It has been a dream of mine to coach for a long time,” he said. “With the way my life has been in basketball from childhood until now, I have had the chance to travel the world and the country, and have been able to network and build many relationships. I love basketball, it’s kind of what I do. The knowledge that I have, I don’t want it to be wasted. And it keeps me in the game for as long as I can. “
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The University of Eastern Kentucky’s Giving Day 2021 will take place on Wednesday, April 14. The 24 hour online challenge is designed to increase donation participation from the entire EKU community.
Supporting eastern Kentucky athletics means giving student-athletes the opportunity to compete in the sport they love and earn their bachelor’s degree – something they might not have had the opportunity to. doing otherwise. It means helping them achieve their dreams in life.
“It’s a great opportunity to be able to play at Eastern and go to school at Eastern,” said Moreno. “The resources that I have been able to use while I am here have been incredible. I grew up in a situation where I never really had to desire anything; I had what I needed. But when it comes to college, my family was unable to support me for college. It gave me a chance to leave college without having to worry about being buried up to my neck in student loans and student debt. Preparing people for life after college is really important. “