“That’s just how it is with the fans. If you don’t win every year, they start calling for your job,” Rick Mosley said. “But you’re not going to win every year. Sometimes you’ll have a young team. Sometimes you have a down year. I’m still a big Gary Williams fan.”
The elder Mosley, in fact, would text message the coaching staff after every game, either congratulating them or telling them to ‘get ‘em next time.’ He and his son, who recently capped his senior year by becoming the No. 2 career scorer in the history of Maryland high school boys’ basketball, watched every game and have never wavered in their support.
Sean Mosley, who this week was named Baltimore Sun player of the year and Gatorade state player of the year, said the absence of the Terps in this year’s NCAA Tournament has lessened his interest level; he didn’t bother to fill out a bracket.
“Maryland’s not in it, so I’m just kind of watching,” he said.
He did, however, watch the Terps’ season end Thursday night in a loss to Syracuse in the second round of the NIT. And afterward he received a phone call from good friend and Syracuse freshman standout Donte Green.
“We beat you,” Green told him.
With Mosley on the team, though, it’s safe to say it’s going to become more difficult to beat the Terps. The 6-foot-4 wing guard averaged 27 points per game as a senior playing in the talent-laden Baltimore Catholic League, carried his team to the BCL championship and put on a show at the Alhambra Invitational Tournament, a prestigious post-season event perennially featuring some of the region’s best programs.
He scored a tournament-record 35 points against defending Alhambra champion Roman Catholic (Pa.).
“I don’t want to say it was effortless, but you wouldn’t have thought he scored 35 unless you were marking it down with a pen,” his father said. “I saw 35 in the paper the next day and was very surprised.”
He also piled 32 against D.C. powerhouse Gonzaga and 22 against UNC recruit Ed Davis’ Benedictine (Va.) squad, and his 89 total points were an Alhambra record as well and placed him at 2,933 career points, surpassing Quintin Dailey for second place on the state’s all-time list behind only Rodney Monroe.
“When I was 10, the only thing I wanted to do was just to play basketball. I never thought I would be in the position I have been in,” said Mosley, rated by Scout.com the No. 39 player in the Class of 2008. “It feels very good.”
Mosley is not concerned about Maryland’s up-and-down past few season, nor is he paying any mind to those criticizing Williams.
“I mean, that’s any program. If you don’t win, the coach gets the criticism. But that just motivated you as a coach to work harder the next year,” he said. “I think they played good [for a while], but when March comes, every team starts to play their ‘A’ game. You can’t turn it off and turn it on in the ACC.”
Mosley has met both Gus Gilchrist and Bobby Maze, two of the likely three recruits who’ll join him in this year’s class. He agreed that the group will inject a dose of needed toughness into the program, and he’s happy to have them on his side.
“Me and Gus, we took our visits on the same day. He’s a cool guy and I’ve heard a lot about how good he is. I also met Bobby maze and he seemed cool [although] I haven’t heard a lot about him,” Mosley said.
In addition to his ability to score from inside and out and the grittiness that is a common characteristic of Baltimore hoops standouts, Mosley is a very good rebounder for his size and an adept ballhandler and passer. On a roster that will be stocked with perimeter players, he’s unsure what his role will be next year – and unconcerned. Confident but selfless, Mosley has always been the type to deflect praise toward his team.
“It may be some ‘two’ and some ‘three,’ I don’t know. Whatever Gary Williams wants me to do, I’ll do it. That’s the type of guy I am,” Mosley said. “I think next year we’ll do a lot better because we’ll have some more tough guys on the court that have heart.”
He plans to spend the offseason working on his quickness and his ballhandling, also focusing on developing his one-dribble pullup jumper.
“Once I get all of that down, I think I’ll be unstoppable,” he said.
He’s also working hard in the classroom. After he struggled through some academic malaise during his first two years of high school, the point was finally driven home by coaches and family that his great talent could go to waste if he didn’t get it done with the books in addition to the ball.
“I always told him, you can’t succeed at just one,” Richard Mosley said.
Mosley has a 3.2 GPA this year, matching his marks from last year. He appears to be all set in terms of qualifying but will take the SAT again this spring as an insurance policy.
“I realized you can’t have skills on the court and not in the classroom,” Sean said.
When Mosley verbally committed to Maryland on Aug. 15, it was considered a coup not only because of his high skill level, but because there has been some lingering ill will from some circles of Baltimore basketball toward the state school. Richard Mosley made it a point at the time to point out that he and his son wanted nothing to do with such politics, a sentiment he reiterated this week.
“There were some who were probably against it, but they’re all for it now or, at least, they’ve fallen in line because they didn’t want to be [alienated],” Richard said. “You’re not going to use my son for the Baltimore-Maryland thing. But that’s all in the past now.”