Johnny Moran’s play on the basketball court always belied his age.
As a freshman at Jacobs, he stepped right in to the Golden Eagles’ starting lineup and averaged 16 points a game.
Four years later in Cedars Falls, Iowa, Moran stepped into the University of Northern Iowa’s starting lineup, where he stayed for 135 games, second-most in Panthers’ history by one game.
Moran scored more points in his high school career than only two players ever in Northwest Herald area history (1,918) and now is headed to the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
The IBCA released its list of new inductees Tuesday and Moran, one of three two-time Northwest Herald Player of the Year winners, is the only person from the area going in for any of the categories (player, coach, friend of basketball, media or team).
Moran learned he had been selected for the IBCA Hall of Fame when he received a letter last week. Former Jacobs coach Jim Hinkle nominated Moran for the honor.
“It’s a great honor. It’s something I never really though about much,” Moran said. “I was definitely surprised, I wasn’t expecting it. It’s a very cool thing for sure, something to be proud of. It started bringing back memories.”
Moran was the Northwest Herald Player of the Year in 2007 and 2008. Johnsburg’s Zach Toussaint (2018, 2019) and Woodstock’s Maury Leitzke (1990, 1991) are the other players to win it twice.
Toussaint, who finished his career with 2,249 points, and Crown’s Gary Gliesmann (1981 graduate, 2,011 points) scored more points than Moran in their careers. Moran missed a seven-game stretch as a sophomore with a hip injury that likely kept him from reaching 2,000 career points.
Moran was the third of four brothers (Jim and Kevin are older, Tim is younger) who played for former coach Jim Hinkle during one of the Eagles’ best stretches in school history. Moran’s high school teams were 85-28, his college teams were 73-30.
One of the highlights of Moran’s high school career was getting to play with all three brothers. Jim was a senior and Kevin was a junior when Moran was a freshman. Tim was one year behind him and played with Johnny for three seasons.
“I would say that (I am proudest) that the teams I played on were successful,” Moran said. “That was really important to me. That’s all I cared about when I played. That, and that people think I played my hardest every game is something I’m really proud of.”
Moran, a 6-foot-1 point guard, played in the NCAA Tournament as a freshman and sophomore. In 2010, his sophomore season, he was part of the Panthers’ greatest NCAA Tournament win when, as a No. 9 seed, they beat No. 1 Kansas in the second round of the Midwest Region.
Moran made the All-Missouri Valley Conference Freshman Team and finished his career fifth on the UNI list for games played. His 201 3-pointers rank third in school history and his 152 steals put him No. 6 on that list.
Moran and his wife, Kelsey, live in Cedar Falls and have a daughter, Riley, who is 1 1/2. Moran works as a project manager for an architectural sheet metal company.
Other notable inductees this year will IHSA assistant executive director Kurt Gibson and recently retired IHSA assistant executive director Scott Johnson, both who will be in as Friends of Basketball. The IHSA also will be inducted as one of the IBCA’s Organizations of the Year.
Also, Elgin broadcaster Jeff Myers will be inducted as a media member. Myers does play-by-play with South Elgin's Beacon Academy webcasts at Jacobs' Hinkle Holiday Classic each year, as well as many other high school games in the Elgin area.
Gibson played at Belvidere and coached basketball at several schools before joining the IHSA staff in 2002. He oversees basketball, boys golf and bass fishing, while also directing education and corporate sponsorship efforts.
Johnson joined the IHSA staff in 1994 and oversaw its IT programs until his retirement last year. He put the IHSA at the forefront of technology with his efforts in website integration. Also, Johnson and his wife, Julie Kistler, wrote the book “Once There Were Giants” to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Alden-Hebron’s 1952 boys basketball state championship.
The Giants, with 98 students, became the smallest school to ever win the title under the one-class system when they defeated Quincy, 64-59, in overtime.