Reserve guard shares team high in points
By I.C. Murrell
COMMERCIAL SPORTS EDITOR
To George Ivory, coming off the bench isn’t a sign of weakness in a basketball player. Just looking at Marcel Mosley’s statistics through four Arkansas-Pine Bluff basketball games, one wouldn’t easily guess he’s not in the starting rotation.
But Ivory knows how to utilize a player who is hitting 67 percent from three-point range (10 of 15), 55.2 percent from the floor (16 of 29) and averaging 13.3 points per game — which ties Mosley for the team lead.
“That’s what we want him to do, is to be that spark plug off the bench, because he has a lot of ability,” said Ivory, UAPB’s sixth-year head coach. “When he comes, he brings a different dimension with Tevin (Hammond). We look for him to score a lot, and I think he’s done an outstanding job as far as getting in and shooting the basketball and working hard.”
Mosley is a 6-foot redshirt junior from Marion who complements Hammond in the backcourt. He also, as Ivory explained, brings a different dimension to the Golden Lions (2-2) as a guard.
“Both of them are quick point guards,” Ivory said. “He looks to score more than Tevin. Tevin’s a good scorer, too, but Marcel really looks to score a lot. When he goes in, we look for him to do that.”
It works out well, as Mosley is tied for the team lead in scoring with senior forward Davon Haynes and Hammond is third at 11.8 ppg.
Only four games have been played, but Mosley is off to what could be his breakout season with the Golden Lions.
“I’m not at the level I want to be yet, but the coaches want me to be more comfortable and play my game instead of thinking so much,” Mosley said. “Just do what I do in practice. I took that into consideration and I’ve just been trying my hardest in the game to transfer what I do in practice to the game, which is working hard, being where I need to be, shooting the ball how I shoot in practice.”
It’s been a long, hard road for Mosley to becoming more of a significant role player.
He played all 31 games of his freshman season, 2010-11, averaging 2.1 points and shooting only 24.4 percent from the floor, including an 18.8 percent clip (6 of 32) from three-point range. Mosley missed all of the 2011-12 campaign with a shin injury, and it was at that point when he began to soak in the game more as a student.
“I learned more on the sideline watching and I learned more when I sat out with Terrell Kennedy (who had an arm injury that year),” Mosley said. “I learn more watching.”
Mosley didn’t return to action until the 11th game of last season, however, not only to fully recover from the injury, but also because he was academically ineligible for the first semester. His shooting and scoring improved (39.4 percent from the field and 5.5 ppg) and he even started twice during the 16-14 run, his first winning season as a Lion.
Now, Mosley’s shooting almost twice as well from the three-point arc as he did last season (35.3 percent), and his scoring has nearly tripled. He’s led UAPB in scoring twice this year, netting 18 points in the season opener against Tuskegee (Ala.) and 16 in Sunday’s game at Air Force.
“It comes easy when you work hard,” Mosley said. “It’s the same as practice. There’s nothing different.”
Mosley and the Lions have plenty of time to practice for a big week of basketball, when they compete in the Corpus Christi (Texas) Challenge. UAPB’s schedule in the round-robin event begins Sunday against Southern Methodist in Garland, Texas, and continues with Texas A&M in College Station on Tuesday and games in Corpus Christi against Sam Houston State on Nov. 29 and either Liberty or Hampton on Nov. 30.
“I’m just going to go out there and play my game, take open shots and get my team involved,” Mosley said. “The more we go inside, the better. I’ll have more open shots.”