Sydney Moss doesn't draw the connection between herself and her father. Other people do that for her.
But she's hopeful that time and success can give her a reputation of her own.
She's gone a long way toward accomplishing that goal. Moss is the star player for little Thomas More College, a Division III school whose women's basketball team is undefeated entering the NCAA tournament. Moss was the Division III Player of the Year last season and is likely to retain the crown this year.
As featured by The New York Times, Moss is an anomaly at the D-III level. At 5-foot-10, she plays all five positions on the court. During the regular season, she averaged 24.4 points while ranking second on the team in assists.
In two seasons at Thomas More, her team hast lost just one game. And during this year's NCAA tournament, Moss has been playing at a different level, scoring 43, 40, 37 and 35 points, respectively.
With each game and each accomplishment, Sydney Moss hopes she claims a little bit more of her own identity. Her father, Randy Moss, is a legendary former NFL receiver. He's also someone with whom she has butted heads. The two currently aren't on speaking terms, and Randy Moss does not attend his daughter's games.
"Through high school, I was known as ‘Randy Moss’s daughter, Randy Moss’s daughter,’" Sydney Moss says. "I feel like if we win a national championship, it would get me farther out of his spotlight and kind of make me into my own person, my own name."
Moss has had an unconventional career, transferring away from Florida after her freshman year and suffering an ACL tear. When she came to Thomas More, many expected that such an impressive basketball talent would simply play one year at a lower level before transferring back to a Division I school.
That didn't happen. In rural Kentucky, where the school is located, Moss is comfortable, close to her family and to where she attended high school. She is a sports oddity in that sense, content to succeed and be happy at a lower level when she clearly has the gift to compete at the Division I level.
But the willingness to play at a lower level doesn't mean she isn't competitive. And it isn't just the on-court experience that matters -- Sydney Moss is competitive about how others choose to define her. She's hopeful that the label of "Randy Moss's daughter" will soon be a thing of the past.
Says Sydney Moss: "I feel like you have to win a national championship to leave people remembering your name."