His family members and neighbors call him "Man." His teammates call him "Easy E." Opposing coaches and players simply call him "Bad."

Perhaps a slick nickname has eluded Earl Moore, the heart and soul of Cardozo's struggling basketball team, because his play often has been little more than an afterthought usually associated with a losing team.

The Clerks have lost 37 of 47 games in Moore's first two seasons, including a 4-6 mark this season going into this week's games. But anonymity no longer shadows the 6-foot, 155-pound Moore.

Moore is now leading the Interhigh in scoring, averaging 27.5 points per game on 55 percent shooting from the floor and 80 percent from the line. He has had four 30-plus games with a high of 36. He is also averaging six rebounds, six assists and four steals a game. At the Jefferson tournament, he scored 53 points in two games and was voted most valuable player despite his team's 15-point loss in the final to Jefferson.

"I used to worry about recognition but not anymore," Moore said. "I played well during the summer camp in Princeton and I think people know who I am now. Before that, I felt I was underrated. When you play on a losing team, people tend to overlook you. But as long as I go out each game and play as hard as I can, I'm satisfied. We might not win all the time but I know my teammates and I give that little extra every time."

Moore's efforts have not gone unnoticed. Despite the assortment of double-team and gimmick defenses, Moore continues to give opponents trouble. In back-to-back losses to league powers Dunbar and Coolidge, Moore scored 31 points in each game.

"Earl Moore is one of best guards anywhere," said Frank Williams, coach at Coolidge, where Moore almost attended. "He can do anything on the court."

Cardozo Coach Henry Lindsey said Moore is one of the best point guards on the East Coast.

"Earl is capable of scoring 50 points but he's a great passer, too," Lindsey said. "He always gets the ball to the open man but because of our (lack of) size and inexperience, he has to do so many things for us to stay in the games."

Moore, whose looks, size and basketball skills are reminiscent of former NBA guard Nate (Tiny) Archibald, has the green light on the court. But shooting 40 times a game isn't his style.

"I just don't want to shoot every time downcourt," said Moore, whose placid expression never changes during a game. "I get self-conscious when I put up too many shots. I want everyone to get their share. I pass to my teammates when they are open and I expect them to pass to me when I'm open.

"I remember when (Lyndon) DeBellotte (currently at UDC) was here, people would say this is DeBellotte's team. Now people say, this is Moore's team," Moore said. "I don't want to be remembered like that. I want people to say, 'Earl Moore went out every game and played as hard as he could. Earl Moore is a good team player.' "

Moore spent countless hours alone on the playgrounds, working on his dribbling and shooting. "I couldn't pass to myself so I had to shoot a lot," he said.

Moore was slow to be noticed. His Lincoln Junior High career (19 points a game) didn't turn anyone's head but his coach, Mel Turner, knew Moore would become a fine player.

"He had natural instincts for the game," said Turner. "He was a good ballhandler, passer and played good defense. Shooting was easy for him. Even though we didn't win all our games, he always gave 100 percent."

Moore enrolled at Coolidge but stayed only one day.

"I didn't like it so I left," Moore said. "I thought about going to Dunbar but decided to come to Cardozo. I only live down the street. I'm glad I came to Cardozo."

Quiet and unassuming, Moore languished on the junior varsity for half his sophomore season, averaging 25 points until moving up to varsity, where he played in only one game. Last year as a junior, he averaged 19.8 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals.

Moore is often compared with Spingarn all-Met guard Sherman Douglass, who is averaging 27.6 points for the Green Wave, which was 13-0 and ranked second starting this week.

"Sherman is very good and he's on a great team," Moore said. "But I feel I'm just as good as any guard around. I'm comfortable at the one or two guard spot and like anyone else, I want to show what I can. I like to hear the crowd yell when I'm out there. But I'm not going to make a fancy pass or throw up anything just to hear them."

Moore said he has visited Oklahoma and Virginia Tech but is undecided what college he plans to attend.

"I just want to enjoy this last year," he said. "I don't want to choose a college and later regret it. I'll take my time and pick one. Right now, I'm doing all I can to help us win some games."