‘Cuse Recruiting: Mosley and Hibbert

Last Friday's game between St. Frances Academy and Towson Catholic offered a unique opportunity for OrangeNation to observe not only a future SU player (Donte Greene), but also two underclassmen that are high on the ‘Cuse wish list. St. Frances starts a pair of very good swingmen in Sean Mosley (class of '08) and Naji Hibbert (class of '09). Mosley had a strong game with 20 pts, 4 rebs, and 2 ast.

If you missed the full game review and assessment of Donte Greene, you can access it by clicking here.

Player Evaluations

Sean Mosley: Scout's #9 ranked SG in the class of 2008, Mosley is a solid all-around player. He is well built for a high school junior and has a wide base and wide shoulders. He measures in at 6'4" and plays with a low center of gravity. Mosley is not an ultra-athletic swingman and does not possess the athleticism to consistently play "above the rim", but at the same time he is quick (and crafty) enough to get where he wants to go.

Mosley's strongest attribute at this point in his development is the maturity with which he plays the game. He is a very patient player who understands his limitations, makes good decisions with and without the ball, and also takes on a large leadership role for the team. He spent much of the game directing his teammates on both offense and defense and seems to have a very high basketball IQ (this is a term that I think is overused and misunderstood, but it's the closest thing that I can come up with to describe Mosley).

Sean Mosley directs a teammate during a timeout.

Simply put, he understands the game at a different level than most players of his age that I have seen. He made a great play late in the game when he called a timeout while falling out of bounds, something I've only seen a few times from a high school player. I also noticed two separate incidents where he took teammates aside and gave them defensive tips that eventually helped SFA gain a turnover or defensive stop. While he didn't play the point, he did seem to be "the coach on the floor" for head coach William Wells.

In terms of basketball skills, Mosley does not excel in any one facet of the game, but he seems to be at least "good" at everything. He seems to be a good shooter, but not great. He rebounds well for his size, but he's never going to be confused with Paul Harris. He does have good court vision, and whipped several crisp one-handed passes through the defense, but he doesn't handle the ball well enough to be a point guard.

Still, his craftiness and all around game was good enough that he was able to leave a strong mark on the game, scoring 20 points while singlehandedly leading a 3rd quarter comeback. He also seemed to be all over the place on the court and played very hard all game long.

From a shooting standpoint, Mosley did not elevate well on his jumpers. He hit an early three pointer with a smooth and fluid stroke, but later in the game his form changed subtly. There were times when his right elbow would flare out and he seemed to miss shots to the right or left of the rim. He was very effective driving the ball to the basket in transition, and also had a few nice finishes where he contorted his body to get the ball over a bigger defender.

Sean Mosley attacks the basket in transition.

The weirdest thing about watching Mosley is that he didn't really seem like a typical SU recruit. He's a little bit undersized as a swingman and doesn't possess the type of athleticism that Boeheim favors. He's also a bit more cerebral of a player than JB usually goes after. I think that Mosley is going to make a fine college player, but with the loss of Mike Jones, look for SU to focus primarily on frontcourt players in the class of 2008. The Orange will likely keep tabs on Mosley while continuing to recruit Olu Ashaolu, James Southerland, and Mookie and Kevin Jones.

Naji Hibbert Scout has Hibbert ranked as a 4-star prospect in the class of 2009. With most of my attention focused on Greene and Mosley, it was somewhat hard to get a good reading on Hibbert. Even with this limitation, I came away impressed. Hibbert scored somewhere in the vicinity of 13-17 points and showed a variety of offensive maneuvers on the evening.

Hibbert is a lanky 6-5 athlete with a slight build and slim shoulders. As a high school sophomore, it can be expected that he'll grow a bit more. If he can reach 6-7 and put on some muscle, he will much more sought after.

Naji Hibbert prepares to attack the basket.

The man I was sitting next to at the game compared him to Reggie Miller, but I didn't see the comparison at all. Hibbert did drain 2 three-point shots, but his long-range attempts were set shots that were slow to develop. He also hitches his elbow a little too much inside his body, making for a somewhat awkward release. With 2 more years of high school, he has time to correct these flaws, but he is light years away from the quick trigger that Miller displayed at UCLA and in the pros.

Hibbert's strength in this game was taking the ball to basket in transition and slashing from the wings. Despite the fact that he was giving up strength and weight to several of the Towson Catholic defenders, he was fearless going into the paint. He also did a good job of shielding the ball from the defender with his body, then angling in towards the basket for a shot attempt. He is fairly advanced offensive for a sophomore, but had trouble finishing at the rim on several instances. He did do a good job of drawing contact and getting to the line.

In terms of an overall assessment, I would have to see him play again before I was comfortable making any predictions, but he seems like a good prospect that has the potential to become a great prospect. Maryland is already recruiting him (Keith Booth was reportedly in the gym to see him), Marist has offered him, and Virginia and Clemson are also interested. Syracuse has also reportedly seen him play and is showing strong interest as well. If he grows a few more inches and adds some strength, I can see him fitting into the SU system very well.


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