clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
NCAA Basketball: Georgetown at Seton Hall

Filed under:

Senior Day Highlight Reel: Jagan Mosely

Hoyas say farewell to their determined, unbreakable, unrelenting leader.

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Printed across t-shirts and chanted through arenas, the phrase “We are Georgetown” is so familiar that it evokes very little conscious thought or analysis within the Hoyas universe.

It’s omnipresent. People scream it. Teams believe it. Fans feel it. But what goes into not only creating but sustaining a mantra of that type, something so ingrained that it becomes an unarguable truth within a population? It takes a consistent pipeline of individuals who embody the oft-unspoken principles of the school- people who are what we believe Georgetown to be.

By that metric, Jagan Mosely IS Georgetown.

Back in Jersey, Mosely had aready developed a formidable personal resume- four years under legendary Coach Bobby Hurley (the original) at St. Anthony’s, valedictorian of his high school class, and a State Championship. He committed to the Hoyas after being recruited by former head coach John Thompson III and played his first season under the man known as JTIII. Following strong recruiting classes in 2014 and 2015, the bar had been set high. When the incoming freshman dunked onto Isaac Copeland’s head during Kenner League that summer, delusion soared.

Jagan started in 20 games his freshman year and played in all but one of the Hoyas’ 32 contests. Right from the start, he showed persistence, tenacity, and the vision to make crucial plays that would motivate his team. In circumstances — even things as routine as a shooting slump — where other players lose control and visibly manifest frustration, he was able to keep his composure and channel that energy into activities that would complement his teammates’ strengths.

A lot of change and upheaval went down in the Georgetown basketball universe between Mosely’s commitment in August 2015 and the grim days of March 2017 when JTIII was relieved of his duties, ultimately replaced by Patrick Ewing. He had a front-row seat during the darkest point in recent Hoya basketball history, when the coaching structure was uncertain and program morale trended somewhere south of low. Mosely was surely neither deaf nor blind to the angry, factionalized circus which comprised the Georgetown fanbase at that time. In similar situations, college athletes frequently reopen their recruitment or enter the transfer portal, unwilling to risk any of their short time as undergraduate athletes in a toxic environment.

When that 2017-2018 season began, Mosely, Marcus Derrickson, and Jessie Govan had all decided that they were going to stay with the Hoyas. With a new coach, new lineup, and new style of play, friction occasionally showed where players chafed against the unfamiliar type of oversight. (Reminder: Do you work on that shot?) Others, like Mosely, were able to thrive and learn from this structure. That sophomore season, Mosely started only one game, but tallied more minutes & points, committed fewer fouls, and improved his FG% by 31% while attemping 50% more shots.

Mosely’s commitment to being or becoming what his team needed was devoid of visible ego or selfishness. He grew into a leader for his team by earning the role, through action-oriented humility. He was not above diving for loose balls. He learned from the coaching staff’s analysis of opposing teams. He never turned down the tough defensive assignments. He did not try to make himself a hero, but he did not fear the big shots. He was willing to steel himself for the inevitable hard contact and draw charges (more on this superpower later...). He always picked himself — and his teammates — back up to keep playing.

Being the person who makes sure everyone else can get their jobs done is a role that is, at best, frequently unappreciated and, most often, completely thankless. How do you measure the positive impact of things that were never allowed to happen? It’s a complex problem that challenges disciplines far beyond sports.

Playing for a basketball program that struggles with leveraging basic analytics, the mathematical modeling required to properly quantify the impact of a player like Mosely is as likely to appear out of McDonough as the process for cold fusion being discovered in the kitchen of your friendly neighborhood Applebee’s. (NB: I have nothing against Applebee’s.)

However, Coach Ewing has played and watched enough basketball to know what an important contribution looks like, and he calls it out regularly. He refers to Mosely as the squad’s MVP and describes how the team cannot reach their full potential without him. Looking at Mosely’s stat lines, which are solid in their own right, you only see a fraction of the value he brings to the floor. And he does bring it.

Every damn night.

Of course, there is more to Mosely’s game than the intangibles. He understands how to draw contact to get those key whistles, and can make the free throws that come along with it. He gets in the paint to snatch key rebounds from players half-a-head taller than himself. He has excellent court vision, setting up his teammates with well-targeted assists. He can read the other team’s movements, intercepting passes for steals that turn into transition baskets for the Hoyas. Most importantly, he has the ability to read the game and adjust his own to ensure that he’s doing what will give his team the best chance at a win.

And don’t forget: Jagan Mosely is agile, he is strong, and he is aggressive. What does that mean?

He can score in ways that literally shake the arena.

. . .

. . .

In the pantheon of Hoya legends, what will Mosely be remembered for? Iverson had the crossover. Dikembe had the finger wag. Mosely? He can draw a charge better than any player to have worn the Georgetown uniform in recent decades. He has a superhuman ability to predict the driving player’s path and get himself solidly into position.

No sliding. No turning. No flinching.

Mosely sets and he waits. Then, the contact - he falls, and the whistle sounds.

Given how solidly Mosely is built, the opposing player has to feel as though they’ve been punished twice. First, they run into a wall. Then, they are assessed a foul for doing it. It is an art that he has mastered and is a beautiful thing to witness. Each time it happens feels a bit like exacting overdue payback, a little cosmic bonus in a frequently unjust world.

The Hoyas were always going to ask a lot of Jagan Mosely this season. Even before their numbers began to dwindle alarmingly, his unflappabble and seemingly indestructible presence on the court was going to be critical for balancing out occasional headstrong behavior from a backcourt led by underclassmen. The team was going to lean on his strength, intelligence, and fortitude.

He needed to be a distributor, who could see three steps ahead within the play. He needed to be a cool head, when others’ tempers would flare. He needed to control the pace of the game, drawing fouls and making free throws.

What nobody could have expected was that Akinjo, LeBlanc, Gardner, and Alexander would all leave the Georgetown program mid-season. Similarly, no one would have predicted that lower leg injuries would turn Mac McClung, Omer Yurtseven, and Malcolm Wilson into suit-clad cheerleaders.

What did the Hoyas need from Jagan Mosely now? To be an all-around warrior for 40 minutes every game. He has absolutely delivered. He plays his heart out. And he refuses to quit.

There are different players who, for each of us, are representative their own era. Seasons blur together and the details of individual games drift into the ether. Losses lose their sting; the elation of victories becomes hazy. But if you ask about a specific player, and bring up a moment encapsulating that young man’s contribution to the Hoyas? The rush of memories is vivid. It is immediate. It can stop you in your tracks and make you hold your breath with leftover anticipation for an outcome that was determined years ago.

I can feel my living room as JWall made those free throws. The sight of Chris Wright’s swollen hand during the VCU game transports me back to a tiny Burleith stairwell with a bottle of Wagner’s gin. AirBow’s high-flying putback against Louisville, and the resultant broken couch. Jabril’s completely necessary exclamation point dunk, watched on my phone from near the top of a multi-story slide on 6th Avenue. Jagan Mosely was already joining this list, and that was before he did the impossible this week— leveraged Twitter to make the world a happier place.

Senior Day is tomorrow. Many of you will be there in person at Capital One Arena to cheer on #4 at his final home game, and even more will be there in spirit. I hope Jagan knows how much fans appreciate him, as a player, as a person, and as the type of individual who represents the ideals the Georgetown community.

The hilltop is always home. We’ll miss you.

Hoya Saxa, and Georgetown Forever.

(P.S. - Come back and visit. Wisey’s tastes even better after graduation.)

When you try to capture an athlete’s entire collegiate career, a simple Twitter Moment morphs into a Twitter Epic.

If you think start to think this collection is too long, please think about the fact that you have probably watched Titanic/Lord of the Rings/the Bachelorette Finale multiple times, then keep scrolling.

SEEING RED: Georgetown Threatens St. John’s But Falls Short, 90-85

GAME THREAD: St. John’s at Georgetown

LINKS: Hoyas to Host Pitino and the Johnnies on Wednesday