Sweet 16: Sean Mosley, Maryland
The new Terps coach invited Mosley – one of just two seniors on Maryland’s 2011-12 roster – into his Comcast Center office for a rehash of the 2010-11 season and a look forward to what was expected of him in his final college campaign.
“He was very honest,” Turgeon recalled. “He talked about how he had a bad year and didn’t know why. But he was honestly just excited. He loves Maryland. He loves Maryland basketball. Academically, he’s on track to graduate, which is a great story. He’s done a lot of great things and hopefully he’ll finish up his career real strong and graduate in May. I could tell he was totally committed to doing whatever it takes to be successful.”
Whether or not Turgeon’s first season in College Park will be considered a success depends on a number of factors, including – but certainly not limited to – finding a reliable post player to take Jordan Williams’ minutes, identifying a No. 2 scoring option behind Terrell Stoglin and getting contributions from a woefully thin bench. But a bounce-back year from Mosley – the second-leading scorer in Maryland high school history – could be just what the Terps need to surprise people in the ACC.
Despite a disappointing junior year in which he averaged 8.1 points, Mosley’s ever-sunny disposition hasn’t changed. If anything, the promise of something new has brightened the 6-foot-4, 210-pound wing’s outlook.
“Everything is going great,” Mosley said. “Everybody’s chemistry with Coach [Turgeon] and with the team is working well. We’re working really hard toward having a great season. With the [coaching] change, definitely everything happened fast. But I think we’re back on track as a team with new coaches and new guys coming in. I’m looking forward to great things this year.”
Great things were expected from Mosley immediately at Maryland thanks to the record-breaking legacy he left at St. Frances. A four-time Baltimore Sun All-Metro selection – and the 2008 Player of the Year – Mosley was a rare Charm City recruit for the Terps. Playing for Gary Williams – and fellow Baltimore legend Keith Booth – was a major selling point for Mosley. So the veteran coach’s surprise retirement after a postseason-less 2010-11 campaign came as quite a shock.
“Coach Williams is a Hall of Fame coach,” Mosley said. “But once I found out that he was retiring, it was kind of hard for me because I’ve been around him since freshman year. He’s one of the main reasons I committed to the University of Maryland. But at the end of the day, I had to stick here and not move elsewhere because either way, it was going to be a new beginning for me. Why not stay close to home, with the fans and their support? There’s definitely been adversity. But those of us left, we came together at the team meeting and [decided] we were all going to stay.”
Since that decision to stay at Maryland was made, Mosley has thrived in his leadership role. Turgeon has counted on the former Panthers star to serve as an example for his teammates – on and off the court. Mosley, meanwhile, has surprised his new coach by improving on at least one key element to his game.
“He’s a much better shooter than I thought looking at his numbers,” Turgeon said of Mosley, who shot just 26.9 percent from 3-point range last season. “His form is good shooting the ball. Hopefully it’ll carry over in games. He’s a much better shooter. He’s tough kid, a strong kid who guards multiple positions because of his strength. He’s just a great leader for us. You can tell he’s serious about doing what’s best for the team and leaving his mark. He’s been great.”
Part of Mosley doing what’s best for the team means him playing out of his natural position. Rivals.com’s No. 8 shooting guard in the 2008 class, Mosley has always been asked at Maryland to guard bigger players. That will be the case again this year.
“Sean will do anything for the team,” Turgeon said. “He realizes the situation that our program is in as far as the lack of [frontcourt depth]. If we can get Alex [Len through the NCAA Clearinghouse], that’ll help give us another body and give us a chance to play bigger lineups more. But Sean just wants to play well and do whatever it takes. I think the way that we’ll coach, if Sean starts at the 4, we’ll put him in a position to really be successful.
“What his natural position is, I’m not sure. Maybe a 3, but I think in today’s college game, he’ll be a real threat for us at the 4. So he’s going to play both. That means more playing time for him. I think he’ll be great at both positions.”
Mosley said he’s grown accustomed to guarding guys that are three-to-five inches taller than him. While he may not have envisioned himself spending so much of his college career battling against bigger players in the paint, he’s more than willing to do whatever Turgeon thinks is best.
“At the end of the day, if I have to do that, that’s my job. I’m definitely going to do that because I’ll do anything to help the team win,” Mosley said. “Once the ball is thrown up, the game is on. My mind is clear. I’m not worrying about the past, but just trying to take it one game at a time and getting back to winning.”
The days of Mosley scoring 25 points per game at St. Frances seem like a long time ago. He’s turned into different player at Maryland than many recruiting analysts may have expected. But not once, Mosley said, has he regretted his decision to play for his hometown Terps. His only hope now is to end his college career by leaving “a good legacy behind.”
“It’s a blessing to be here at the University of Maryland,” Mosley said. “I’m playing at the highest Division I level. The three years have been great. We’ve been to the [NCAA] tournament two out of the three years I’ve been here, got [an ACC championship] ring when I was here. This is my last year. I just want to go out being remembered and having a great season, making the tournament and playing my best. Last year wasn’t the best season for me or the [team]. But I think this change is definitely for the better. We’re looking forward.”
The Sweet 16 is an occasional series profiling the 16 best Division I college basketball players from the Baltimore area. Players were selected based on prior accomplishments and projections for the upcoming season.
Previous Sweet 16 selections:
Baltimore Sun photo of Sean Mosley by Kenneth K. Lam / Jan. 26, 2010