At seven feet tall, John Moon stood as the tallest player on Oklahoma Christian University’s basketball roster for four years. Now, a year after graduating, Moon continues to stand above the rest by being honored with the highest award in the Heartland Conference.
The Heartland Conference inducted Moon into the Heartland Conference Hall of Fame March 4 as part of the 2018 class of 10 athletes.
Moon becomes the first Oklahoma Christian athlete to be inducted into the Heartland Conference Hall of Fame after the Eagles joined the conference in 2012.
During his high school basketball career at Crescent High School in Crescent, OK, Moon played in the Oklahoma All-State game, but he never played in the state playoffs.
Oklahoma Christian’s then-Head Coach Dan Hays offered Moon a scholarship after watching Moon play at Cage Camp, the basketball camp hosted by Hays.
“Oklahoma Christian was the only school that offered me, and I had to come to Cage Camp to actually get an offer,” Moon said. “I was in Coach Hays’s office and he was asking me to fill out the recruiting questionnaire. I told him I sent that a couple of months ago. He totally forgot about it. I thought I was going to come to Oklahoma Christian, redshirt and not play much. I didn’t know really what to expect, because I came from a small school, so I didn’t really know if I could play at this level.”
Although Moon said he had doubts about his ability to play at the collegiate level, he graduated Oklahoma Christian with a record-breaking career.
Moon played in an Eagles jersey from 2013-2017. He currently holds the school record for most blocked shots at 237. He also holds top-three positions for two other records. He finished second in rebounding with 812, and for points scored, he finished third with 1,881.
Moon also holds the school and conference record for most points scored in a single game with his 50-point performance against Oklahoma Panhandle State University when he went 20-of-20 from the field his junior season.
With his record amount of blocks, Moon earned the Heartland Conference Defensive Player of the year twice, after his junior and senior seasons. Moon said he felt he played better on the defensive side of the ball during his career.
“I feel like I impact the game more on the defensive side, because there was so much attention paid to me on the offensive side to take me out of that part of the game,” Moon said. “If they’re not going to let me play my game on offense, I should try harder on defense to help us win that way.”
At Oklahoma Christian, Moon was one of only six players in the Heartland Conference to make an All-American basketball team. He received honorable mention his junior year on selections made by the Division II Conference Commissioners Association and Division II Bulletin. During his junior and senior seasons, the conference honored Moon as a first team All-Heartland selection.
As the HERO Sports’ Division II Hero of the Year, Moon received honorable mention after his senior year. In 2016, Moon was named as Oklahoma’s Division II Player of the Year.
In 2017, after his final season at Oklahoma Christian, Moon was named the Heartland Conference Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Also because of his academic accomplishments, Moon became the first player in the Heartland Conference to be named to the Academic All-America first team list by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
Of all his accomplishments, Moon said he considered the CoSIDA Academic All-American selection as his greatest accomplishment.
Moon graduated Oklahoma Christian in 2017 with a 3.937 GPA. He said his advice to young college athletes struggling to balance academics and athletics is simple.
“Just go to class,” Moon said. “My dad always joked about that with me, but that’s really the biggest part—waking up to go to class. It’s just time, drive and wanting to be good at what you do.”
After not being recruited by any other colleges, Moon said the Hall of Fame honor proved he finally earned the respect he deserved.
“My first couple of years, it was more of these guys didn’t recruit me, they don’t respect me or what I can do,” Moon said. “[Being inducted], I felt like they gave me some respect for the work that I did and how I represented the conference.”
Moon said the future looks bright for the Oklahoma Christian men’s basketball program in the years to come.
“They’re adjusting to Division II basketball more and more,” Moon said. “Coach Cole this year was in the Championship of the Heartland Conference. The more the recruits and the more it takes to play on this level—I think Oklahoma Christian is starting to find out. Coach Cole is instilling his culture, and it’s really working out for them. If everyone buys in, they’ll all be pretty good.”