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?
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