Towson, Md. -- As Sean Mosley rose above the defense and slammed home a highlight-reel dunk, R.J. Nickels, seated about 10 rows up near center court, jumped out of his seat, clapping, with a beaming smile and look of amazement.
Nickels, who came with his parents from Silver Spring, Md., to the Towson Center, got his first glimpse of Mosley in Sunday night’s Charm City Challenge.
"He’s got good hands, he moves well, he’s unselfish and he’s got a good eye for defense so it’s a big plus for Maryland," Nickels said.
“I’m impressed,” said R.J.'s mom, Marilyn Nickels, a 15-year season ticket holder of Maryland men’s and women’s basketball.
“It’s hard to tell, but I think we can always use that kind of energy and it looks like he’s been successful and I think that’s going to make a big difference. I think he’s got talent and I think we need to recruit as much talent as we can get.”
The Nickels trio was among dozens of fans in attendance dawning Terp-clad gear, there to see Mosley’s last hurrah as one of Baltimore’s most storied high school players. The 6-foot-4 guard finished his career at St. Frances with 2,933 points, second most in Maryland high school history. He was this year’s state Gatorade Player of the Year, the Baltimore Catholic League Most Outstanding Player and the Baltimore Sun Player of the Year.
On Sunday night, he scored 15 points on 6-of-15 shooting and had 6 assists, good enough for the All-Tournament team.
“It’s a wonderful feeling for me,” Mosley said. “All season, this whole year, I’ve just worked hard and I think I deserve to come out here and just have a little fun.”
This wasn’t Doug Williams’ first time seeing Mosley—he watched him on TV a couple times in the winter. The 1973 Terp alumnus from Elkridge, Md., caught one of Mosley’s more intriguing features:
“Kinda low-key, doesn’t show much emotion. I’m not really sure if he’s real excited to play in this game,” Williams said with a laugh.
But that’s Mosley, all the time--he’s businesslike, doesn’t get too high or get too low. It’s helped make him so consistent, and the reason why he’s excelled since his freshman year at St. Frances.
“Sean’s a humble kid, an easy-going kid so he’s just really grateful and thankful,” said Sean’s father, Richard Mosley, clutching his son’s honorary basketball after the game.
“He actually doesn’t like [the attention]. He’d shy away from it if you let him. But he knows it’s part of the territory that he’s got to be responsive to the media, that he’s got to be responsible to the public and he knows that, he handles it well.”
George Altmeyer drove about 130 miles from Yardley, Pa., to Towson to see Mosley and chat with his friends—Williams and Lou Neumann, a 1967 Maryland graduate from New Freedom, Pa. Altmeyer is also a 1967 Maryland alumnus who makes the 2 1/2 hour drive to every Maryland home basketball game. Neumann and Williams have shared Terps season tickets for 22 years.
When interviewed just after halftime, Altmeyer estimated Mosley was 1-for-6 and he was “a little disappointed so far.” But as he talked, Mosley scored four quick points and had a crowd-wooing assist.
“I’m looking forward to him next year,” Altmeyer said. “I think a game like this really doesn’t tell you a whole lot in terms of capability. Certainly Maryland can use a bit more help after this past year.”
Help, from Mosley, will come in the form of an aggressive slasher who simply knows how to score. And he knows how to win—he led St. Frances to the Baltimore Sun’s No. 1 ranking and scored 35 points in the Panthers’ 57-48 win against Towson Catholic in the BCL final.
“I saw him in the BCL final and he was the best player on the court,” said David Whitman of Laurel, Md., who was at Sunday night’s game with Mickey Brooks of Rockville, Md.
“He seems to like to slash to the basket and get fouled and go to the line,” Whitman said. “He’s somebody who can live on the foul line because he shoots well from the foul line.”
Said Brooks, who compared Mosley to DeMatha legend and former NBA all-star Adrian Dantley: “He’s already pretty well developed for a high school senior. I think he’ll grow in the system.”
After Mosley posed for pictures and entertained several reporters, he walked off the court where a handful of Terps fans waited for his autograph. For Richard Mosley, a big Maryland fan himself, Sunday was the perfect ending to Sean’s legendary high school career in Baltimore.
And it was even more special when he looked around the arena.
“When I saw all those Maryland shirts I got goose pimples,” Richard said. “It’s unbelievable.”