High School Basketball

He helped Taveion Hollingsworth and Ryan Timmons become stars. Now he’s a head coach.

Taveion Hollingsworth’s record-breaking basket

Paul Laurence Dunbar senior Taveion Hollingsworth became Lexington's all-time leading scorer in boys' basketball after connecting on this jumper with 3:26 left in the third quarter of Dunbar's game at West Jessamine on Feb. 14, 2017.
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Paul Laurence Dunbar senior Taveion Hollingsworth became Lexington's all-time leading scorer in boys' basketball after connecting on this jumper with 3:26 left in the third quarter of Dunbar's game at West Jessamine on Feb. 14, 2017.

Jonathan Moore’s been around talented basketball players and teams.

He was an assistant on Paul Laurence Dunbar’s 2016 state title team and had a front-row seat to Taveion Hollingsworth’s record-setting Mr. Basketball campaign as a senior the next season. Before that, at Franklin County, he coached Vance Hall, who played at Wright State and Bellarmine University before a pro career overseas, and Ryan Timmons, who used his prowess in another sport — football — to earn a scholarship to the University of Kentucky.

Most recently he spent the last two years as an assistant at Clark County, one of the 10th Region’s top programs. Now it’s his turn to take the reins: Moore on Wednesday was announced as the new boys’ basketball head coach at Carroll County.

It’s his first head coaching job since coming on as an assistant under Scott Chalk at Franklin County during the 2008-09 season. Moore had applied for a few openings in recent years, and was a finalist for a couple jobs, but nothing ever materialized until this month. He was content biding his time.

“I didn’t want to get myself into a situation where I took a job just to say, ‘Oh, I’m a head coach,’” Moore said. “I wanted to go somewhere where I could be successful and can work and do things the way I wanted to.”

Carroll County met that description. The Panthers went 12-13 with a 9-9 record in the 8th Region last season, but return their two leading scorers, senior-to-be Wyatt Supplee (23.9 ppg, tied for 14th-most in the state) and junior-to-be Keishaun Mumphrey (14.4 ppg), from that squad.

“I’ve heard a lot of good things and they’ve got some talent, and I just think maybe a new face and some new energy being put into the program can really get them turned around, over that hump and get ’em where they want to be,” Moore said.

Carroll County hasn’t played in the All “A” Classic state tournament— an annual mid-season, unofficial state event for the smallest 100 or so schools in Kentucky — since 2014. Being a player in that event is one of Moore’s big goals out of the gate.

“I’ve been at programs where we’re competing for a state championship every year, but Carroll County, it hasn’t really had a lot of recent success, so when you have something like the All ‘A,’ you can really go in on that and make that an even bigger deal than it is,” Moore said. “You want to try and win that and get yourselves on the radar.”

He got some face time with his team during a meet-and-greet with students, parents and school staff on Wednesday. Moore’s future players did their research beforehand and asked him about coaching Hollingsworth at Dunbar.

Moore said he might go his entire career as a coach and never coach a player like Hollingsworth again, but having that experience — on the court and away from it — was invaluable.

“He’s special, and not just as a basketball player but as a human being. I can’t speak highly enough of him,” Moore said. “You don’t realize it until you look back, because the things that he did became the norm, and then when he’s gone and you don’t have that, you realize, ‘Y’know what, that wasn’t really the norm, he’s just special.’

“When you have a good relationship with a kid that’s had some success, it’s kind of like a validation for people. They’re like, ‘Hey, he coached a kid like that, he knows what it looks like and what it takes.’ ... You get kids like that and when other kids see that you’ve got a good relationship with those kind of guys, not just basketball-wise but off the court too, it validates you. I’ve been very blessed to come across some good kids and they’ve done a whole lot more for me than I could ever do for them.”

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