February 14, 2016

Mostly cloudy

Wadsworth grad watches Cavs pick first

Members of the Cleveland Cavaliers delegation celebrate after winning the NBA draft lottery Tuesday in New York. That’s Tate Moore of Wadsworth with his hands in the air on the left. (AP PHOTO)

Those two extremely happy guys ESPN showed standing up and celebrating behind Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert after Cleveland won the NBA draft lottery Tuesday night?

The one on the right was sports radio talk show host Tony Rizzo, who happens to be a Medina County resident.

The young man next to Rizzo, the one with his arms raised high and index fingers pointed skyward in celebration, was 2011 Wadsworth High graduate Tate Moore.

“Once the Cavs got down to the final three, the room got a little tense,” the 20-year-old Moore said in a phone interview from ABC Disney’s Times Square Studio. “When it was the final two, we started locking arms. When the Cavs got the No. 1 pick, me and Tony Rizzo stood up. It might have been a little unprofessional, but we were excited.”

Moore, who recently completed his sophomore year at The Ohio State University, flew to New York City on Gilbert’s private jet after winning a Twitter contest that asked Cavs fans to produce a 30-second video on why they should be part of the organization’s traveling party for the lottery.

Also on hand as the Cavs won the lottery for the second time in three years were Gilbert’s son, Nick, who once again represented the franchise onstage, local rapper Machine Gun Kelly, and broadcasters Andy Baskin, Mike Snyder and Fred McLeod.

“It’s been absolutely incredible,” said Moore, who met NBA Commissioner David Stern, 2012 No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis of New Orleans and Minnesota power forward Kevin Love during his first visit to New York City. “I was so excited I was up at 5 in the morning and I haven’t slept since.

“Times Square is incredible. I saw where the ball drops (on New Year’s Eve), but we were here for the lottery, so we didn’t get around much.”

The Cavs’ traveling party left Cleveland at 2:45 p.m. The flight was only 50 minutes, but that was long enough for Moore and Nick Gilbert to beat Rizzo and Baskin 10-2 in euchre.

On the bus ride to the lottery, the entire group huddled around an instructional YouTube video while attempting to put on the franchise’s traditional lucky bow ties.

The group originally was slated to be back in Cleveland by 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, but that arrival time likely got pushed back a bit because the lottery-winning organization has to fulfill a number of interview obligations before departing.

That was just fine with Moore, a sports fanatic who expects the Cavs to be a playoff team next season.

“Dan Gilbert is a great guy,” he said. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I’m thankful he let me be part of it and I’m thankful to be a Cleveland fan.

“This is a new Cleveland now. This is our last year in the lottery.”

Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or rnoland@medina-gazette.com. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.

Rick Noland About Rick Noland

Rick Noland is the Cavs beat writer for The Gazette and the author of "Over Time," a compilation of stories he's written in more than 30 years as a journalist. He can be reached at 330-721-4061 or rnoland@medina-gazette.com. Like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.