As we close in on basketball season, we here at Testudo Times will be previewing the team player-by-player, starting with the freshmen and working our way up to the seniors. We'll be closing it up November 13 (that is, Maryland's first game) with the final player preview plus a full team preview. Check out our previous previews: Jin Soo Choi, Steve Goins, Jordan Williams, and James Padgett.
The crowning jewel of the 2008 incoming class was Sean Mosley, a Baltimore prep star and two-time Baltimore metro area player of the year. His commitment was expected to be a major step in repairing strained College Park-BMore hoops relations (whether that's happened or not is unclear), but plenty of Terp fans were excited to see his play in its own right.
There might've been no player less frustrating than Mosley last year, but not because he was bad. Rather, it was grating to see how good he could be - he was great defensively, hustled, and seemed to always put himself in the right position offensively, whether it was wide open at the bottom of the basket, with room at the elbow, or floating in the corner.
Then he'd miss the shot.
If Mosley has simply learned how to make a layup and hit a shot with consistency, he'll be one of the most important offensive weapons on the team, second only to Greivis Vasquez himself. If not, well, the season might be a bit rough.
His Game: When you watch him play, you know pretty quickly Mosley has the ability to be special. He's one of the best defenders on the team, right along with Adrian Bowie. He rebounds well above his height and his level - it's not uncommon to see him come up with the ball in a sea of players three or four inches taller than him. Both of those are a product of his above-average hustle, whichsurely loves.
His biggest advantage, in addition to his hustle, is his strength. The dude's ripped, and one of the stronger guards in the league. He's not Lance Stephenson, but he can push most other SGs in the ACC around, on both sides of the floor.
Offensively, his game was pretty limited last year. He had trouble hitting open layups, whether they were in transition or half-court. It got to the point where I was actually afraid to see him taking a shot close to the basket.
Sadly, he wasn't much better farther from the hoop, as his shooting was almost as bad as his layups. He had some flashes in both of these aspects, particularly toward the end of the year - home against North Carolina, anyone? - but for the most part, he was disappointing offensively for a guy who was one of the most prolific scorers in Baltimore prep history.
It wasn't that he was totally incompetent offensively. He's not the most athletic guy out there, and his first step isn't all that quick, so he would never be a great penetrator. But he's one of the strongest guys on the floor, and can generally get to where he wants to be. He had a good sense of where that should be, and was pretty consistent in getting good open shots. He just couldn't knock them down.
If he can improve upon that and start hitting those shots, he could be the second most effective offensive weapon for the Terps. It would take a lot of pressure off specialists like Adrian Bowie (defensive and slashing specialist) and Cliff Tucker (shooting and pissing off Gary specialist), as well as keep two guys off Greivis. If the exhibition is any indication, he has improved, and will hit most of the open shots now. It could be a very good year for Mr. Mosley.
Not Quite Baseless Prediction: See, we're getting better.
All reports out of practice indicate Mosley's getting better at shooting, which was confirmed with a solid offensive performance against IUP. With that in mind, here's what I'm seeing:
Significantly more points than last year, coupled with fewer rebounds thanks to the new inside presence afforded by the freshmen bigs, along with a slight increase in assists, which I see coming from increased defensive attention his way.