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Scholarship Math: Isiaih Mosley and the impossible happening in Columbia

The Columbia native comes home providing a boost to Dennis Gates’ first season.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 05 Missouri Valley Tournament - Missouri State v Drake Photo by Rick Ulreich/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Isiaih Mosley is coming home.

The former Rock Bridge Bruin spent three seasons lighting up the scoring column in Springfield at Missouri State. Meanwhile, Mizzou has been searching for a wing scorer. Even with an NCAA tournament berth a couple years ago, that missing element was obvious.

Now, with Mosley on board, coach Dennis Gates has a wing with size who can create outside of a set and at the end of the shot clock. Mosley’s stats and evolution at Missouri State have been very impressive. After averaging just 8.3 points as a freshman, Mosley’s scoring shot up to 19.8 points as a sophomore, and reached 20.4 this past season. At the same time, his offensive rating experienced dramatic improvement each season, reaching 113.9 last season after finishing at 107.6 as a sophomore. Doing that while using almost 31 percent of the Bears’ possessions and posting 61.0 true-shooting percentage?

That’s a player anyone will want.

One of my favorite stat sites is EvanMiya.com, and Evan has taken a different approach to statistical analysis and produces some pretty interesting insights. Right now, he has Mosley rated as the 15th-best transfer on the market based on Bayesian Player Ranking, which is a fancy way of saying a projection. Yet, Mosley is rated as the sixth-best offensive transfer. And only Kendrick Davis (Memphis), Baylor Scheierman (Creighton), and Matthew Mayer (Illinois) are ahead of the Tigers’ newest addition in overall and offensive ranking.

Mosley’s overall defensive rating lacks for a bit, but hopefully, that’s a product of carrying so much of the offensive burden for MSU.

Bringing Mosley into fold also pushed MU’s transfer class to second in Miya’s rankings, trailing Illinois. The Tigers’ rivals added three transfers, but Mayer and Terrence Shannon, who is also ahead of Mosley, helped the Illini hold on to the top spot.

So far, most of Gates’ acquisitions from the portal have been about pouring a sound foundation. Landing Mosley, though, changes the outlook. How much? That depends. Before Mosley committed, MU had likely improved, but the program was still likely to find itself on the outside looking in on the postseason. Now with a scorer of Mosley’s caliber, the Tigers ambitions can reasonably go beyond the SEC tournament.

mizzou basketball scholarship count 06-06-22

Next, some housekeeping. Mosley is a 2019 recruit and a member of the same class as Kobe Brown. Technically, both have an additional season of eligibility given by the NCAA to players whose careers were interrupted by the pandemic. But until Mosley or Brown say they’re returning, we have them wrapping up their careers this season.

Also, adding Mosley means Mizzou has one additional scholarship listed for the 2023 season. The list of options is, well, short.

The staff had been poking around Washington State post Mouhamed Gueye, the Pac 12 Conference’s Freshman of the Year, who withdrew from the NBA draft but remained in the transfer portal. On Tuesday, Gueye opted to stay in Pullman. It’s June. The pickings are slim.

It’s also possible that Mabor Majak, who followed Gates from Cleveland State, could pick up that vacant scholarship. Short of a 2023 recruit reclassifying, we’re likely looking at what the roster will be going into the season.

The move to import short-term fixes over long term depth makes this an intriguing group. I’ll give everyone a little time to start formulating their top 8, but here’s how the positions workout:

  • Point Guard: Nick Honor and Sean East
  • Combo Guard: Kaleb Brown
  • Wing: Deandre Gholston, Tre Gomillion, D’Moi Hodge, Isiaih Mosley, and Aidan Shaw
  • Combo Forward: Kobe Brown, Noah Carter, and Ronnie DeGray III
  • Post: Mohamed Diarra
mizzou basketball roster by position 6-6-22

Obviously, depth inside remains an issue. And while Majak’s production at CSU wasn’t gaudy, I wouldn’t discount the possibility of the veteran getting a handful of minutes if this is indeed the roster on opening night.

But the positive here is the ball-handling looks relatively strong, and there’s playmakers at multiple positions. Despite the lack of a true post presence, Diarra and Shaw each have enough athleticism to rotate and protect the rim. Meanwhile, Carter, Brown, and DeGray are sturdy enough to elite fight opposing bigs for position.

While this doesn’t look like a team who’ll be challenging for a Sweet 16, Gates has assembled a crew that should avoid the Wednesday play-in games at the SEC tournament. If all goes well, it could also extend its season beyond championship week. There’s also plenty of roster flexibility which could allow Gates and his staff to fill in and upgrade the talent level with the 2023 class.