From fill-in to full-timer

A rocky transition from the former USF basketball program to its current incarnation left the Bulls’ roster shallow and in need of players. The Bulls could not have been more fortunate when Daytona Beach Community College transfer Bradley Mosley came to Tampa.

“To get a player like him — I feel very good about it,” USF coach Robert McCullum said.

Mosley, a junior, has made a name for himself so far this season by leading the Bulls in points and by being second in assists with 31.

Originally brought to the program to be a budding point guard, Mosley turned into a shooting guard during practices.

“Mosley’s scoring has probably been maybe a little bit more than expected, ” McCullum said. “Not that we didn’t think he was capable, but initially we brought him in with the thought that he could play more point than James Holmes.

“When we got into practices it just evolved to where he and Marlyn Bryant were our best two guards, so sometimes I think you have to look past position and just put your best players out there.”

McCullum and the Bulls certainly have put Mosley out there. One of McCullum’s first two recruits, Mosley has seen more time on the court than any other player, averaging 33.2 minutes per game as well as starting all 11 games this season.

“He came here ready to play, prepared to play and he’s probably kind of a good example of what we like,” McCullum said. “He is a pretty skilled player. We want players that are good athletes, but we probably put a little more emphasis on skill level and he’s got really good ball skills.”

As the main offensive threat so far this season, it issurprising that Mosley enjoys the other end of the court more.

“(My goals) are to stay consistent and help my team on defense as much as possible,” Mosley said.

With only 24 rebounds and nine steals, Mosley is an average contributor on defense, but it is quite possible that McCullum could coach him into a real defensive threat. McCullum said that he likes a player that will listen well, and as a recruiting prototype, Mosley can do exactly that.

“He is very coachable — that might be his greatest quality,” McCullum said. “He tries to do things exactly the way you want them done. You can also get on him a little bit and he deals with that well.”

Although his defensive numbers are just average, they are among the top five on the team. And with such versatility, Mosley is not taking advantage of what he feels is the biggest difference between junior college and Division I basketball.

“The game is much faster, the guys are a lot stronger. Basically we have a lot more sets,” Mosley said. “In Division I, if one play doesn’t work, you have a lot more options.”

Although Mosley talks about differences between DBCC and USF, it seems as though he hasn’t skipped a beat. With averages of 18.8 points per game, 4.5 five assists, 3.5 rebounds and 28 starts last season, Mosley has almost matched those numbers this season.

His point average was certainly helped when he impressed McCullum by scoring a season-high 23 points against Michigan State on Dec. 16.

“When you can have the kind of success he did against a Michigan State on the road, it clearly defines the kind of player that he is,” McCullum said.

Even though Mosley had a career high at Michigan State, his goal for the season eluded him that evening. Despite this being his first season at USF, Mosley is well aware of recent history here in Tampa.

“This year I want to win more than one road game,” Mosley said in reference to the Bulls’ road record last season.

USF’s basketball program is all about change this season, including shaking off an image that the Bulls were not a close team. According to Mosley, that attempt has been successful.

“We are real close as a team. (I) think this is the closest team I have ever been on,” Mosley said. “It makes you more comfortable out there.”