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Moss’ daughter Sydney eyes professional basketball

Photo courtesy Thomas More College
St. Albans native Sydney Moss (40), daughter of DuPont, Marshall and NFL football star Randy Moss, was the unanimous Division III women’s basketball player of the year three years in a row at Thomas More College in Kentucky.

Sydney Moss’ college basketball career was an odyssey that took her from the SEC to Division III. It included two knee surgeries. It also included two national championships at Thomas More College and three years as the unanimous Division III national player of the year.

A St. Albans native and the daughter of former Dupont High, Marshall and NFL star Randy Moss, Sydney Moss has cast her eyes forward to a professional career after concluding one of the most decorated tenures in women’s college basketball.

Moss’ college hoops life was unique. It began at the University of Florida, where she signed after winning Kentucky’s “Miss Basketball” at Boone County High School in Florence, Kentucky, just south of Cincinnati. As a Gator, she was named to the SEC all-freshman team and the WNIT all-tournament team. Yet she wanted to transfer closer to home after her freshman year, and Florida blocked her from transferring to SEC rival Kentucky.

Moss knew Thomas More coach Jeff Hans from talking in the Boone County High hallways, as he was recruiting some of her teammates. So she started looking into joining them. The college was just 6 miles away from her high school.

“There were eight to 10 girls I knew on the team,” she said. “They were all kinds of local kids. I came in about three or four days before school started my sophomore year and saw the campus. I talked to Coach Hans and got a feeling for the girls and the campus life and stuff.”

Hans never imagined in those high-school hallway conversations that Moss would one day wear a Thomas More uniform.

“No,” he said. “Never even thought of it.”

Of course, he would have loved to have her. He just knew her ceiling was the high-Division I level. When she did join Thomas More, Hans believed the team had a chance to rocket up the Division III rankings and that Moss had a chance to earn national renown. He’d learn soon just how right he was. What he realized right away was that the player and person he knew in high school hadn’t changed.

“I think the best thing about Sydney is her character and how she was able to mesh with everyone,” Hans said. “She doesn’t do all that by herself and she’ll be the first person to tell you that.”

Moss’ sophomore season was cut short by an ACL tear in her right knee, but she still was named Division III player of the year by the WBCA, and Women’s DIII News. She repeated as player of the year as a junior and senior with all three organizations, even after further knee surgery between those seasons. And the Saints went 66-0 over those two seasons with two national titles.

In three seasons with Thomas More, Moss scored 2,309 points (24.8 per game) and pulled down 727 rebounds (7.8 per game). Her 63 points against Waynesburg in the PAC tournament semifinals broke the NCAA Division III single-game scoring record.

Just as important for Moss, she was able to enjoy the student-athlete experience at Thomas More, rather than spend the vast majority of her time focused on being an athlete. She was able to participate in events like the school’s Student Research Forum, where TMC students present and discuss research projects.

“It’s good,” Moss said. “I get to focus more on schoolwork and get involved more in the Thomas More community and get that student feel.”

Moss has enjoyed an exceptional basketball career for a self-proclaimed late bloomer. She didn’t get serious with the sport until seventh grade, but her athletic genes run deep. Her late maternal grandfather, Frank Offutt, is in the Williamson High School athletic hall of fame for baseball and basketball. She remembers watching anything basketball-related with him, and shooting hoops with him in the driveway. Her father is second on the NFL career list for receiving touchdowns and third for receiving yards.

Moss said she hasn’t talked to her father in “a few years,” though she does stay in contact with her four siblings from her father and mother, Libby Offutt, and other members of her father’s family. They tell her she’s just like her dad, which may be the reason for the strained relationship. Through the years, she said she’s tried to carve her own place in the sporting world, not just as Randy Moss’ daughter.

Sydney Moss hopes that, as the two grow older, they can get back on a good page.

“I think every person wants both their parents in their life,” she said. “I’m pretty self sufficient and try to do my own thing and hopefully learn from my mistakes. I want my hard work and dedication to the game to pay off with being my own person.”

Moss’ name was not one of the 36 called in the WNBA draft, and she wasn’t invited to a WNBA training camp. Yet she still hopes for a professional basketball career and isn’t afraid to take her basketball odyssey overseas. Moss will head to Atlanta in early June for a combine to be held in front of some international coaches, and she’d love the chance to play in a different country.

“Growing up, you hear NBA, NBA, NBA, then, wait, there’s a WNBA?” she said. “And then you look into that and then you’re like, wait there are teams overseas that will pay you to come play? And I get to travel the world and see the world? That would be a dream come true.”

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