Mostella can 'float'

If you visit InsideTennessee for your Vol coverage you need look nowhere else. Check out this story on a basketball signee who is electrifying the fan base this summer:

Three sessions into the Rocky Top League it's apparent that Tennessee basketball signee Detrick Mostella has two favorite spots from which to launch his shots:

One is about 22 feet from the basket. The other is about two feet above the basket.

Despite a skinny 6-foot-2 frame, this guy is tops in hops. Even veteran Vol watchers can't remember a Big Orange player who could jump like Mostella, who signed with Tennessee in April after spending 2013-14 at Notre Dame Prep in Fitchburg, Mass.

A former Scout four-star and top-100 prospect, Mostella has been the unquestioned star of the Rocky Top summer league to date, thanks to his gravity-defying slams. He made a 360-degree breakaway dunk in Game 1 that wound up on YouTube. He made another that was even more impressive in Game 2. Lined up in the third lane box on a teammate's free throw, he saw that the foul shot was short. Stepping into the lane, he sprang forward, grabbed the rebound on the way up and, seemingly in one motion, slammed home a windmill dunk. Game 3 on Monday night saw him turn a breakout into a double-pump, 180-degee slam.

"He can float," fellow spring signee Devon Baulkman said, shaking his head in amazement. "The little man can jump. He's got sneaky bounce. When we first seen him play and he exploded the way he can explode it shocked me."

Teammates no longer are shocked by Mostella's kangaroo-like jumping ability. It stopped being a big deal to them long ago.

"He's got sneaky bounce," fellow freshman Willie Carmichael said. "He's an athletic guy. He's a great teammate. He'll distribute the ball, do whatever it takes to win. He's a great guy to be on a team with."

Also impressed is sophomore guard Robert Hubbs, who immediately tabbed Mostella when asked if any of Tennessee's spring signees had turned his head.

"I would definitely say Detrick," Hubbs said. "I didn't know he was that athletic. He can really get up. He's going to surprise a lot of people with put-backs and stuff like that."

Mostella's knack for soaring came as no surprise to one fellow freshman who played against him in the prep-school ranks.

"I already knew," Jabari McGhee said of Mostella's extreme athleticism. "I played him while I was at Hargrave (Military Academy), so I knew he was very athletic."

McGhee says off-the-charts jumping ability isn't Mostella's only unique characteristic.

"He's also my roommate, and I tell you right now: He's the goofiest guy on the team," McGhee said.

Detrick Mostella
(Photo by InsideTennessee)

At 6-feet-2, Mostella won't be able to dunk at will against 6-foot-11 SEC centers the way he does against 6-foot-8 Rocky Top League centers. He'll have to score from long-range occasionally. Fortunately for Tennessee, he seems skilled in this area, as well.

"I always knew he was real athletic," McGhee said, "but he can shoot the ball, too. People better watch out."

Mostella showcased his shooting ability in his RTL debut on June 16, hitting 12 of 24 shots, including 4 of 12 from behind the arc. One of the 3-pointers was truly unforgettable. With his team down three points and just 1.8 seconds left in regulation, he took an inbounds pass on the right wing and launched a desperation 35-footer that swished through the netting at the horn, sending the game into overtime.

He was even better in RTL outing No. 2, sinking 16 of 26 from the field, including 4 of 10 from 3, en route to 41 points. Mostella hit four 3s in a row in Monday night's RTL outing. He finished with 29 points on 10-of-29 shooting, including 7 of 17 from beyond the arc. One of the 3s was a clutch one with 1:06 left that extended Rice Buick's lead to 122-117 en route to a 128-120 victory.

No Vol seems more impressed with Mostella than Kevin Punter, a fellow guard signee who was first-team All-America in junior college last winter.

"He can jump out of the gym," Punter said. "He can shoot the ball. He's going to be a great player …

"He's a great player now."


GAME 1: Vol signee Devon Baulkman bounced back from a 4-for-21 shooting performance last Wednesday to hit 12 of 24 shots (3 of 8 from 3) and score 34 points in helping DeRoyal nip Clancy's Tavern 119-117. Ex-Vol Wayne Chism scored 41 to lead DeRoyal while Tennessee freshman Willie Carmichael chipped in 11 points on 4-of-10 shooting. JUCO signee Kevin Punter rallied from an awful start to make nine of 26 shots and score 31 points for Clancy's. He made 12 of 13 foul shots but was an icy 1 of 7 from 3. Vol freshman Jabari McGhee added 16 points, hitting 7 of 16 field-goal tries but just 2 of 8 foul shots.

GAME 2: Ex-Vol D'Montre Edwards scored 25 points and Vol senior Josh Richardson 24 points in leading Campus Lights to a 101-92 defeat of The Knoxville News-Sentinel. Richardson was 8 of 20 from the field, including 4 of 10 from 3. Vol senior Brandon Lopez scored 8 points on 3-of-7 shooting for KNS. Ex- Vols Kenny Hall (11 points) and Cameron Tatum (9) also contributed.

GAME 3: Ex-Vol Bobby Maze poured in 32 points and Mostella added 29 as Rice Buick outlasted Choice Spine 128-120. Mostella, as noted above, was 10 of 29 from the field, including 7 of 17 from 3. Vol junior Armani Moore was amazing in defeat. Hitting his first 15 shots, he finished 18 of 21 (5 of 6 from 3) en route to 45 points. Fellow junior Derek Reese added 13 points but made just 4 of 15 shots.

Kevin Punter

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