It was tough to tell who was more excited on Friday, Golden Valley senior Delia Moore after signing her national letter of intent to accept a basketball scholarship to Cal State East Bay or her future college coach Shanele Stires.
For Moore, it was a special moment. Especially when you consider her journey through high school, which included two surgeries to repair torn anterior cruciate ligaments in the same knee that cost her the bulk of her sophomore and junior seasons.
Surely along the way there were doubts that she'd get the opportunity to play college basketball.
"When I verbally committed it was very emotional to me," Moore said. "I've been through a lot with the injuries. It shows there's a place for everyone. Hard work does pay off."
Stires can't wait to welcome Moore to Cal State East Bay.
"We felt like we won the lottery," Stires said. "We couldn't be ... happier with her joining us."
Moore was an all-Central California Conference first-team selection this winter for the Cougars. She averaged 15.4 points, 9.7 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 5.8 steals per game.
Moore recorded four triple-doubles this season and finished one point shy of a quadruple-double on Dec. 9 against Venture Academy.
"The thing we love about Delia is the way she makes players around her better. That's a rare talent nowadays," Stires said. "Her attitude and perseverance are things we looked at. We recognized that she's a tremendous basketball player, she's a tremendous kid and she has great character.
"She embodies where we want to go with our program. We look at her as a cornerstone type player. She can help the foundation of our program for however many years."
Delia becomes the third Moore sister to play college basketball. Her oldest sister Valerie, who is now a teacher at Golden Valley, played at Saint Mary's in Moraga. Her older sister Stephanie just finished her sophomore season at UC San Diego.
Cal State East Bay and UC San Diego are in the same conference (California Collegiate Athletic Association), which means there will be future matchups between the Moore sisters.
"I've never played against her," Delia said. "I mean we played one-on-one when were kids, but not like in a professional setting. She knows the type of player I am. But I know the type of player she is. I'm not sure who has the advantage."
While rehabbing from her knee injuries and working with her physical therapist Christie Bryant, it became clear to Delia what she wanted to major in. The kinesiology program is Cal State East Bay was a big reason she was attracted to the school.
"At first I wasn't sure if I wanted to go there," said Moore, who has a 4.3 GPA. "Then I went on my official visit and the coaches were super duper nice. The players made me feel like they wanted me on the team. It's a smaller school so there are smaller class sizes and the kinesiology program is really great. And it's a high-level Division II program. It just seemed like a really great fit for me."
It didn't take long for Stires to recognize Moore's talents on the basketball court. The more she got to know Moore off the court, the more she wanted her in her program.
"We've been in complete awe of her maturity," Stires said. The way she's handled adversity that has befallen ... her. She's shown a real resilience and toughness to her and that's hard to find. The way she's dealt with her knee injuries really exemplifies the type of person she is."
Stires says she wants Moore to come in and be ready to contribute right away as a freshman. She feels she'll be a great compliment to the returning players the Pioneers have coming back next year, including all-conference selections Morgan Greene and Elayshia Woolridge.
Moore is ready for the challenge.
"I'm really excited," Moore said. "My coach told me she doesn't want me to come in with a freshman mindset. She wants me to come in with a winning mindset. I can tell this is going to be a good fit for me. I love the coaches, the school and my teammates."