Sports

Basketball Recruiting: Mizzou lands Isiaih Mosley

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If you were looking for some positive news to start your work week, Dennis Gates has you covered.

Mizzou landed Missouri State transfer Isiaih Mosley, bringing one of the nation’s best pure scorers to Columbia and giving Gates his biggest recruiting coup so far.

Not even a week ago the thought of landing Mosley seemed like a pipe dream. But things can escalate quickly when the clock is running, and now that we’re into June, the decisions should be coming in hot.

From the moment Mosley entered the portal, the Columbia native and Rock Bridge product piqued the Tigers’ interest. With good reason, too. Mosley, a Rock Bridge product, piled up 1,400 points during his three seasons in Springfield. He’s shooting 41 percent from the 3-point range in his career, and he gives a refashioned roster the kind of scorer who can be potent within the flow a set or when a possession breaks down.

So, getting a commitment from him puts Missouri is in a much better position to make some noise next season.

  • From: Columbia
  • High School: Rock Bridge
  • Position: Wing
  • Ht / Wt: 6’5 / 195
  • Offers to note: Mississippi State, Georgia Tech, Texas Tech

Before diving into the film, we need to share a statistical nugget. In the past decade, four players logged 50 percent of minutes, had a 25 percent usage rate, and had an effective field-goal percentage north of 50.0. Who were they?

  • DeMarre Carroll
  • Leo Lyons

Jordan Clarkson and Jabari Brown just missed those benchmarks in 2014. But the point is that it’s rare. And it’s been 13 seasons since the Tigers had players operating at peak efficiency.

And Mosley?

He played 79.4 percent of available minutes, carried a usage rate of 30.8%, and finished last season with 56.7 eFG% for the Bears. He didn’t just surpass those standards. He blew them out of the water.

Now, he was playing in the Missouri Valley Conference. While that’s a solid mid-major league, Mosley wasn’t facing the likes of Tennessee, Auburn, Kentucky and so on in league play. However, in 11 games against Tier A & B teams (think quads in the NET), Mosley averaged 78% of minutes, 31.4% usage and 52.7% eFG. You see a minor drop off in efficiency despite the same usage and better competition.

Still, Mosley gets buckets. Lots of them.

The things that stick out to me in the highlight clips are his effective size. Playing at 6-5 on the perimeter yields plenty of positional advantages.

Secondly, a lot of Mosley’s work has come out of isolation actions. For the uninitiated, isolations are merely one on one plays. No screens, no passing, just going to work. Isolations are inherently less efficient than other actions. For Mosley? Not so much. He ranked eighth among Division I players for shots generated in those situations, and the comprised almost 30 percent of his overall possession volume. Yet he also ranked sixth nationally in efficiency during those plays, per Synergy tracking data.

Third, while his athleticism allows him to be an effective finisher at the rim, his real strength is the jump shot. Whether it’s his lesser-used catch-and-shoot off of spot-up attempts, or pull-ups off of the bounce, he’s an insanely talented jumpshooter. That’s a huge component of being able to maintain efficiency when moving up a level to face better competition: Can you knock down shots off the catch and off the dribble? Mosley answers that with a resounding yes.

The biggest question in my mind is how he works into the offensive game plan. Most of the players Coach Gates has put together are great fits for how his teams played at Cleveland State. That scheme involved a lot of playing through the high post, cutting actions. and spot-up opportunities. The “big men” were often the playmakers.

Last season, though, CSU ranked 272nd nationally with just 2.8 isolation possessions per game, according to Synergy. As for pick-and-roll opportunities, the Vikings weren’t heavily relying on those, either. They were 282nd in the country for usage.

What kinds of tweaks and compromises does Gates make to help Mosley mesh with this roster? Will his isolation game be scaled back more in favor of playing off the ball and attacking out of spot ups? Will he be tasked with playing on the ball? What is the trickle-down effect?

To be very clear: this is a good problem to have.

That said, getting a team full of newcomers with varying skill sets to perform as an efficient unit is a challenge. Make no mistake, Mosley does provide you the security blanket when the offense bogs down and you simply need someone to get you a bucket. That’s what he does, after all.

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