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Postseason Evaluations: Sean Mosley

This week, Terrapins Insider is taking a look back at the Maryland season that concluded last weekend. Each day will feature posts on the performances of specific players and Coach Gary Williams.

The decision to insert freshman guard Sean Mosley into the starting lineup in late January transformed the dynamic of Maryland’s first unit. Mosley provided the Terrapins a more physical defensive presence along the perimeter, which made up for his streaky offensive performance.

Were it not for an ankle injury late in the preseason, Mosley very likely could have been a member of the starting lineup from Day One. Coach Gary Williams raved about the freshman’s skills – as well as his approach – throughout the fall. But because of the missed time, Mosley began the season coming off the bench. He was given one early start – against Georgetown on Nov. 30 – but then was moved right back to the bench.

The intriguing thing about Mosley is that you could almost always see the wheels turning inside his head. He was always contemplating his next move – pass the ball, take the shot, move this way, now go back. There was a lot of thinking going on, which typically is a good thing.

Coaches and teammates lauded Mosley for his advanced basketball IQ, but sometimes that strength appeared to hold him back, as odd as that sounds. As most freshmen do, Mosley struggled to play merely on instinct. Did that play a role in, say, Mosley’s shooting struggles? Perhaps.

Mosley’s response was always the same as most other players stuck in similar ruts: He just needed to keep shooting, and the shots would fall eventually. But with him, it didn’t seem to be that simple. Williams and other Terrapins claimed Mosley routinely shot the lights out in practices. But in games, Mosley would go cold. He shot 37 percent, the lowest mark of the eight players who saw action in at least 34 of the team’s 35 games.

Will Mosley’s accuracy improve? It would seem likely. Cliff Tucker and Adrian Bowie improved their respective shots during the summer between their freshman and sophomore seasons. The adjustment, Tucker and Bowie said at different points during the season, was part mechanical and part psychological. Confidence had as much to with it as anything. And the ability to act instinctively often accompanies advanced self-assurance.

With some development in his shot, Mosley could become one of the more complete players on Maryland’s roster. His defensive skills are promising, to say the least. As the season progressed, Mosley began taking on more difficult defensive assignments. By the end of the season, Mosley frequently drew the opposing team’s top perimeter player.

When Greivis Vasquez picked up a quick foul on Memphis’s Tyreke Evans in Maryland's season finale on Saturday, the Terrapins made a switch. Mosley took over guarding Evans, who likes to drive into the lane and draw contact, whenever Maryland was in man-to-man defense.

Evans ended up scoring 19 points, many of which came in the paint. But that was more a reflection of Evans’s talents than of Mosley’s defensive deficiencies. The fact that Williams felt comfortable putting Mosley in that position speaks volumes of the freshman’s standing on the team.

What did you all think of Mosley’s season? How would you evaluate his performance? How big of a role do you envision Mosley having on next year’s team?

By Steve Yanda  |  March 26, 2009; 7:10 AM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Next: Postseason Evaluations: Eric Hayes


I like Mosley as a player but if he is to play major minutes as an off guard for the Terps, he must improve his shooting significantly. He is a below average shooter not only from mid-range and in but unlike nearly all off guards for major teams, he is not only a very poor shooter from beyond the 3-point line (24%) he refuses to shoot 3-pointers (21 attempts in 35 games). This really holds the team back offensively and will not be acceptable if Vasquez leaves school early. He is an above average defender, a good rebounder from the guard position, and a good effort guy. For a guard, he is a below average ballhandler and passer. If he can improve his shooting and ballhandling, he can can help the team significantly and get more minutes.

Posted by: gw67 | March 26, 2009 8:09 AM | Report abuse

I feel that Mosely performed as would be expected from a freshman that gut thrust into the starting lineup of an NCAA tournament team halfway through the season. He has stretches where he was stellar defensively and a few stretches where he really blended into the offense well. His spin move is SICK, if only it didn't make him so dizzy that he continuously missed the wide open layup when he got to the hoop. He should make a quantum leap next season now that he has a full season of experience under his belt. He could be the real X-factor for the Terps next season!!

Posted by: Russtinator | March 26, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

gw:"He is a below average shooter not only from mid-range and in but unlike nearly all off guards for major teams, he is not only a very poor shooter from beyond the 3-point line (24%) he refuses to shoot 3-pointers (21 attempts in 35 games)."

Well, I imagine the one follows from the other -- if he hit a few, he'd shoot more.

Mosely is a player I like -- more than Tucker, though Tucker is the better offensive player -- for two reasons. Firsst, he thinks on the court. You can see him learning as he goes. He's not a super talent, but by his junior season he should bring something to the Terps that they haven't had a lot of in the past two seasons, and that's a good head in the backcourt.

Please, nobody insist Greivis Vasquez is a thinking man's player. He's all fire and instincts. I think Greivis will be a better pro than college player, because he'll be able to freelance.

My bias is the belief that more than anything else, a college ball team needs a floor leader. Hayes could do it, but he's got real athletic limitations that hurt him most on defense. Bowie needs to be a stopper, and running the team interferes with that. Tucker could conceivably do it, but my choice would be Mosely.

If Lance Stephenson comes, so much the better. Less pressure on Mosely to score.

This is a young man who's never excelled at any one thing and yet has consistently led teams to big, consistent winning records.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 26, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Very promising 4 year player. His shot will start to fall and his defensive play and rebounding really make an impact. I love the toughness in this kid as well. Great pickup by the Terps.

Posted by: lavar609 | March 26, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

T-Minus 10 seconds until Poopy Mc-No-Life is ranting about how untalented Mosley is. Hahahahaha!! I love Mosley, but geeks like Poopy would rather have a high school all american that flops in college than a local stud like Mosley who stays 4 years and gets better and better each year. This is why Poopy is such a moron, he cares more about what our recruits are ranked in high school than about how they actually perform on the court. This is why Gary Williams referred to you as the "recruiting geeks." That's you Poopy Mc-No-Life.

Posted by: brianxp | March 26, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Mosley is a player, he was an excellent shooter/scorer/winner/player at St. Frances. Only a matter of time until it happens at UMD.

Posted by: Realness1 | March 26, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

as we say in the hockey world...

mosley is all swedish and no finnish!!!

get the kid to learn how to finish those layups and establish a jumper and eventually a respectable 3point shot and he is gonna be everything we could hope for...

i expect the experience he got this year will bring him back next year with loads of confidence and the finishing touch will follow...

look fwd to watching him develop the next 4 years...

Posted by: deadskin | March 26, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

They should go after Seth Curry to get some more consistent outside shooting.

Posted by: gjrhine | March 26, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Few - very few - freshmen are well-suited to step in and play right away. Maybe a dozen, maybe twenty. At least at the unreasonably high level that some people around here expect.

Some MD freshmen who did not start: Terrence Morris, Juan Dixon, Lonny Baxter (but did after the Ekezie injury), Drew Nicholas, Danny Miller (McD HSAA), Chris Wilcox, Tahj Holden ... etc. All eventually became productive or important D-1 players, except for Miller, who remained a whiny D-bag.

Posted by: info_stuporhighway | March 26, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Don't forget #2 shooting guard in the nation (next to LeBron James), Mike Jones. Didn't get a whiff of the starting lineup his freshman year. Those that expect Stephenson--if he comes here--to come in and start right away when we already have 4 established guards are kidding themselves.

Posted by: Barno1 | March 26, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Can someone tell me how did this guy win Maryland State player of the year? How can anyone get mad at Gary for recruiting in MD, when this is all we have in the state?

Posted by: ENJOYA | March 26, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Realness1 | March 26, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

"Poopy Mc-No-Life"

I like it. It has a nice ring to it. It smacks of Loser. I move that from here on out that the troll formly know as Poopy McPoop be referred to in here as Poopy Mc-No-Life.

All those in favor.

Posted by: Section505203 | March 26, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and credit goes to Brainxp for coining the the new name for our village idiot, Poopy Mc-No-Life.

Excellent job Brainxp.

Posted by: Section505203 | March 26, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Amen to that. Great call by Section and Brain. Poopy Mc-No-Life it is!

Posted by: terpsfan09 | March 26, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

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