Feb. 15, 2013
RALEIGH, N.C. - When assigned a senior project at Burlington’s Williams High School, Kaley Moser wanted to do more than get a good grade.
She wanted to do something special, really special.
So Moser -- who joined the NC State women’s basketball team as a freshman walkon this season -- devised a plan that generated $12,000 for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.
That was the most money a high school student raised last year to support the fight against breast cancer and it also earned Moser a trip to the women’s Final Four in Denver last April.
This Sunday she will be part of another fund raiser at Reynolds Coliseum when the Wolfpack plays Georgia Tech in a 2:30 p.m., Hoops 4 Hope game, the eighth installment of the event that began back in 2006.
Moser has special feelings about the charity and its mission. Both Yow, State’s late Hall of Fame coach, and Moser’s aunt died of breast cancer.
“Kay was one of my role models,’’ said Moser, who attended Yow’s basketball camp as a young girl and admired Yow's strong faith. “ I wanted to help her legacy and my aunt’s legacy.’’
When Moser presented her philanthropic project idea in high school, there were skeptics doubting that it would succeed.
Undaunted, she persisted, much as she does on the basketball court. Once her idea was approved, Moser aggressively embarked on the charitable endeavor.
She collected $4,000 from on-line donations via the Play4Kay website. Her uncle, Gary Hinson, donated T-shirts to sell with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the cause. Then there was a fund-raising basketball game that netted additional contributions from fans and opposing team Eastern Guilford.
“It was awesome,’’ Moser said.
To be suiting up now in a Wolfpack uniform and wearing pink sneakers at Reynolds Coliseum Sunday seems surreal to Moser.
“It will be special,’’ she said. “I have attended this (Hoops 4 Hope) game three times. I was sitting in the stands wishing it could be me down here (on the court) one day.
”When Moser arrived at State last fall, she hadn't planned to play basketball, even though she had enjoyed a productive prep career.
She was a basketball team captain and a NC Preps All-State selection and helped Coach Tommy Cole's squad reach the State 3-A finals one year. She also made all-conference in soccer, excelled academically with a 4.7 GPA, and was active in her youth group at Burlington’s Front Street Methodist Church.
But as State basketball faded to the back of her mind until her father, Brad, and Wolfpack women’s team manager Chris Sullivan encouraged her to attend fall tryouts. Moser decided to give it a shot, impressed Coach Kellie Harper and became the lone walk-on to land a spot on this year’s roster.
“It’s a dream,’’ said Moser, who smiles easily, talks freely and appears comfortable running with the Pack.
Like most first-year, non-scholarship players, her playing time has been sparse. She has seen action in six games, logged a total of 17 minutes, and scored one basket.
Forget the numbers. Harper’s glad to have Moser on the team, saying: “She’s a great addition to the program, period. She has a great attitude, is everything you want in a walk on.
“I’m here to encourage my teammates, to help make them better,’’ said Moser, who battles hard in practice. “If I’m playing defense better, the better they will be on offense.”
In turn, she receives encouragement from the coaching staff and teammates. Also there's plenty from home, her Dad Brad, Mom Mel, sister Abby, brother Ellis and her church family. The Burlington Front Street Youth group came to one game, a surprise Moser called "cool."
A 5-11 wing player, Moser keeps striving to improve. On a recent day off for the team, she was in Reynolds Coliseum, dribbling and shooting alone.
Harper exhorts Moser to focus on her strengths, shooting and utilizing her size on the wing, instead of lamenting about her weaknesses.
"She gives me confidence,'' Moser said of Harper.Moser's goals rise higher than the 10-foot rim. She plans to earn a degree in engineering and wants to continue helping raise money for the Play4Kay Fund.“
(Coach Yow) said it’s not about her, but what we can do to help other people,’’ Moser stressed.
By A.J. Carr