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Mizzou Hoops Player Review: Isiaih Mosley

A season of “What If...” followed the Mosley saga around.

NCAA Basketball: Iowa State at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Isiaih Mosley has existed for much of his prep and collegiate career as a concept more than an actual basketball player, at least as far as Missouri Basketball fans might be concerned.

The local Rock Bridge High School standout locked in a Mizzou offer from Cuonzo Martin and his staff in the spring of 2017. But that offer never led to a more serious relationship as the Tigers signed Torrence Watson at the shooting guard position. Even as the team struggled with its shooting, and Mosley led his team to a State Championship, the high major offers never materialized and he ended up signing with Missouri State.

At Missouri State he blossomed after a fairly quiet freshman season, taking his points per game average from 8.3 ppg to 19.8. Then 20.4 ppg as a junior before entering the transfer portal.

The option for Mosley to come back home seemed like something that would still never materialize until June last summer when things finally came into view. His return was hailed, but the season Missouri fans and Mosley himself expected never materialized. He struggled to get on the floor and the impact never happened.

Mosley had big moments. He had a 23-point outburst against Coastal Carolina and saved Mizzou’s struggling offense in the 1st half against Mississippi Valley State. He was the only thing that seemed to work in a home loss to Alabama, and he dropped 20 points at Ole Miss. But on the season the scoring seemed to flutter, much like his appearances in the lineup.

We now know Mosley’s absence was of the excused variety, and he had the support of the coaching staff and program while he navigated through the issues off the court. But it was still a very large case of “What if...”

By the numbers

Isiaih Mosley | By the Numbers

Games Starts %Min ORtg Usage%
Games Starts %Min ORtg Usage%
14 3 19.7 95.3 29.2
19.9 9.6 2 2.5 1.1
  • 56.8%

Much was made of Mosley’s efficiency offensively before he got (back) to Columbia. And while his overall numbers slumped, his 2FG% shooting actually improved from 54% to 56%. Mosley struggled to make threes and endured a high turnover rate, but once he got inside the arc he was still excellent. Some of his turnover and distance shooting could be shrugged off by his inconsistency in the lineup and an overall lack of reps.

Isiaih Mosley | On/Off Splits | 2022-23

Status Poss Margin Off. PPP Def. PPP Net Rating eFG% ORB% FT Rate TOV% PPS - RIM PPS - Mid PPP - 3FGA
Status Poss Margin Off. PPP Def. PPP Net Rating eFG% ORB% FT Rate TOV% PPS - RIM PPS - Mid PPP - 3FGA
On 485 70 121 106.57 14.43 58 28.6 17.8 15.7 1.28 0.69 1.18
Off 1861 88 116.89 112.16 4.72 54.2 25.8 23.2 13.8 1.16 0.84 1.05
Pivot Analysis

A season that seemed ripe for a homecoming narrative was a mix of strange and frustrating.

The Rock Bridge product only saw action in 14 games, and the explanation for his extended absences was opaque. And that vagueness created space for speculation to fill the void. By February, MU was a program that understood Mosley not playing would be the default setting.

But when you look at the metrics, it only reinforces Mosley’s senior campaign as a missed opportunity. According to Pivot Analysis lineup data, when he set foot on the hardwood, the Tigers’ net rating improved by 9.7 points per 100 possessions. During SEC play, that margin improved to almost 12 points per 100 possessions.

In terms of on-court impact, he was right there with Kobe Brown and Noah Carter.

Despite prolonged absences, fluctuating minutes, and inconsistent touches, Mosley averaged 1.049 points per shot. That’s only an 8-percent dip from his junior season at Missouri State. The dip’s culprit: a wayward 3-point stroke.

Yet Mosley still sank 36.4 percent of the 3-balls he attempted off the catch, according to Synergy Sports tracking data. The issue, though, was he clanked way too many (7 of 27) created off pull-ups. But even then, that might be an aberration considering Mosley came into last season having made 38.2 percent of off-the-dribble 3s for his career.

And it didn’t help that Mosley’s handle was a tad too loose, resulting in a 21.1 turnover percentage. But putting up 1.0 PPS is considered average, and Mosley cleared it easily.

Since the season wrapped up, he’s signaled that those off-floor issues have found resolution, and he’s dialing back in. But, as we saw in non-conference play, simply giving Mosley steady floor time is all he needs to rediscover his knack for getting buckets. Or at least that’s how an optimist might frame it.

Two things can be true: last season was deflating, and Mosley is still an up-transfer whose body of work defies convention.

Isiaih Mosley | Top-5 Lineups | 2022-23

PG CG Wing Wing/CF CF/Post Poss Margin Off. PPP Def. PPP Net
PG CG Wing Wing/CF CF/Post Poss Margin Off. PPP Def. PPP Net
Honor Mosley Hodge Brown, Ko. Carter 43 23 168.61 114.75 53.86
East Mosley Gomillion Shaw Brown, Ko. 21 7 131.54 97.44 34.1
Honor Mosley Hodge Shaw Brown, Ko. 19 7 145.12 107.49 37.62
East Mosley Hodge Gholston Brown, Ko. 15 2 105.35 92.18 13.16
Honor East Mosley Hodge Brown, Ko. 14 5 125.23 88.4 36.83
Pivot Analysis

The first row of the table has to make you wince. That’s the configuration most of us expected to see when the season tipped off, and the result — a 53.9 net rating — is robust. When we split possessions accrued during non-conference, we’re left with a sample size of 15 trips and a 46.6 net rating, according to Pivot Analysis data.

No doubt, efficiency would have declined the longer Mosley ran with fellow starters, but it was starting from a pretty robust position. It turns out that MU managed an 8.1 net rating with Mosley on the floor against SEC opponents, and the most-used lineups remained exceptionally potent.

Isiaih Mosley | Top-5 Lineups | SEC | 2022-23

PG CG Wing Wing/CF CF/Post Poss Margin Off. PPP Def. PPP Net
PG CG Wing Wing/CF CF/Post Poss Margin Off. PPP Def. PPP Net
Honor Mosley Hodge Brown, Ko. Carter 16 7 164.74 120.38 44.35
East Mosley Gholston Brown, Ko. Diarra 13 5 109.48 70.38 39.1
Honor Mosley Hodge Brown, Ko. Diarra 11 -2 53.14 70.86 -17.72
Honor East Hodge Mosley Brown, Ko. 9 1 118.86 108.05 10.8
East Mosley Gholston Shaw Brown, Ko. 9 5 199.41 140.76 58.65
Pivot Analysis

With the exception of Mohammed Diarra, Mosley meshed well with almost all personnel on the floor. The Tigers’ net rating moved around 30.5 when he ran with either Brown or Noah Carter. Having Hodge on the wing produced slightly better results (13.5) than joining with Gholston (8.2), but both those ratings still outpace Mizzou’s baseline. Honor remained the best floor general, and Aidan Shaw (22.3) had sneaky kismet with Mosley.

Again, we’re talking about less than 200 possessions, but the preliminary results show that Mosley’s presence was additive. The dude simply needs to play more. Assuming he returns to the fold, even if it’s not on scholarship, the Tigers retain one of the best pure scorers to come from the mid-major ranks over the last several seasons.

Portal season serves as such a dopamine hit that we elevate the importance of new additions secured from whirlwind recruitments. But keeping Mosley around would certainly count as a win. No doubt, MU needed to restock its backcourt with reliable shooting. Yet the additions of John Tonje, Tamar Bates, and Caleb Grill as potential partners with Mosley is even more tantalizing. Meanwhile, MU already has a point guard that capably organizes the offense and another that can accelerate the pace.

There is still time for Mosley to get the homecoming he imagined — even if it’s a little late.

NCAA Basketball: Coastal Carolina at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Again, “What if...” Mosley had played the entire year, and played the entire year like he’s capable of playing? At Missouri State Mosley was an efficiency monster, capable of manufacturing offense with the ball in ways others can’t. And while he played in 14 games, it felt like we only saw the real Mosley in a few of those games.

It’s difficult to judge, or even review, an incomplete season like this one. Mosley flashed his brilliance in short bursts, but most of what we saw was him sitting on the bench supporting his teammates.

As you read above, when Mosley was on the floor, good things happened. It’s just a matter of making sure he gets on the floor more often.