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Moore sticks to rising

UC Irvine senior guard, inspired by Spider-Man tattoo, has stepped up to lead 4-4 Anteaters.

December 09, 2010|By Barry Faulkner, barry.faulkner@latimes.com
(Don Leach / Daily…)

He doesn't wear glasses, prefers sociology to science, and his super powers are limited to the supremely athletic movements of a Division I men's college basketball standout.

So, when it comes to comparisons, UC Irvine senior guard Darren Moore is aligned much more with Peter Parker than the slightly nerdy comic-book everyman's more famous alter-ego: Spider-Man.

But thanks to growing exposure of the tattooed image of a spider perched atop a web on the front of Moore's muscle-rippled upper torso, some fans have begun referring to the Anteaters' scoring leader and co-captain as "Spidey."

"The nickname is starting to stick now," said Moore, who is averaging 18 points, a team-best 6.9 rebounds and 2.4 steals, and is shooting a super-hero-like 57% from the field heading into his 4-4 team's nonconference clash with Wyoming tonight at 7 at the Bren Events Center.

The spider tattoo, bordered by images of Spider-Man villains Venom and Carnage, is, in fact, an homage to the Marvel Comics and blockbuster-movie franchise, in which the bespectacled Parker transforms into the masked, super strong and agile Spider-Man to fight the forces of evil. It is also one of dozens of pieces of body art, most of which nearly completely cover Moore's arms and legs.

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"I've always liked the whole story of Spider-Man," said Moore, who grew up frequenting a comic book store down the street from his Chino Hills home. "The story about Spider-Man really grabs me, because there are two parts to him. There's Peter Parker, and the actual Spider-Man. Everybody thinks Peter Parker is a nobody; he thinks he's a nobody. But when he changes into Spider-Man, he has the utmost confidence and the utmost abilities."

The transformation is analogous to Moore's ascension at UCI, his third college program after starring at Ayala High.

UCI, Loyola Marymount and Northern Arizona were among those who recruited the two-time All-CIF Southern Section performer out of high school. Instead, he chose to attend Northern Colorado.

But as a lean 6-foot-3, 160-pound freshman, Moore found the physical demands of the Division I game as harsh as the frigid Colorado winter. So, after averaging 2.9 points and 1.7 rebounds while playing in all 28 games and starting three for the Bears, he came home and earned all-state recognition while helping Citrus Community College go 35-1 and win the 2008 state championship.

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