Boys Basketball – Marlboro Native Jagan Mosely Helps St. Anthony Past CBA
LONG BRANCH – Dozens and dozens of ambitious high school basketball players have sacrificed hours upon hours of sleep and after-school free time to jump on a train and commute to play at St. Anthony High School for Hall of Fame coach Bob Hurley. That much makes Friars junior Jagan Mosely another in a line of players who are just doing what is necessary to get ahead in basketball by making the trek to Jersey City to learn under the godfather of New Jersey high school hoops.
Where Mosely differs from many of those who came before him is that he does not necessarily need St. Anthony to get where he will ultimately end up. As a standout student, Mosely could have had every opportunity to reach his academic potential by staying closer to home, which for Mosely is in Morganville, within the sending district of Marlboro High School.
Instead, the 6-foot-3 guard embarks on the hour-and-a-half commute to Jersey City five days a week, and when it comes to the reason why, he does not beat around the bush: it comes down to basketball.
Saturday’s game against Christian Brothers Academy in the Hoop Group Boardwalk Showcase at Long Branch High School gave Mosely a chance to cut down that commute for a day and showcase his own skills and those of his nationally-regarded program in front of his fellow Shore-area natives in a 60-35 St. Anthony win over the Colts. The reason he has walked into the Long Branch gym in St. Anthony warm-ups rather than in the blue and gold of Marlboro, the green and gold of Red Bank Catholic or CBA blue comes down to one simple factor.
“Coach Hurley was definitely a big part of it,” Mosely said. “It’s not every day you get a chance to play for a Hall of Fame coach. There are only two high school Hall of Fame coaches in the world, so it’s definitely a great opportunity.”
Mosely’s older brother, Cheddi, paved the way for his younger brother and turned his time at St. Anthony into an athletic scholarship to play basketball at Boston University. Jagan has followed close behind his brother – now a freshman guard for the Terriers – and is on the wish list of some of the country’s top academic institutions despite passing up local academic opportunities that many of St. Anthony’s top alumni never had.
“His brother already did it, so you have to backtrack and ask, ‘Why did his brother do it?,’” Hurley said. “Cheddi’s from Morganville, so I guess they weren’t thinking about RBC or CBA, and I hadn’t seen them play until he came to high school. And then, we knew about Jagan because in watching Cheddi, his brother would come to our camps and you saw this man-child in grammar school and you knew he was going to be a good player because he’s got a college physique already and he has a college maturity.”
“I didn’t really cross paths with (Cheddi) before high school, but (CBA junior) Pat (Andree) played AAU with Jagan, so I did get to see him prior to high school and obviously, he’s a heck of a player and talent,” CBA coach Geoff Billet said. “His brother was very good and Jagan’s still got another year, and I think the sky’s the limit, especially with his perimeter game.”
Still more than a year away from graduation, Mosely has drawn interest from Stanford, Princeton, Harvard, St. Joseph’s and Boston University, schools associated with academics as much or more than basketball, unlike Mosely’s current school. While playing for a school widely-regarded as a basketball factory – one that has been on the brink of being shut down over the past decade along with a number of other struggling Catholic institutions – Mosely is also part of the National Honors Society, following in the footsteps of Cheddi, as well as Ocean Township native Tarin Smith, who graduated from St. Anthony in 2014 and is now a freshman on the University of Nebraska basketball team.
“He’s in National Honors Society and last year’s captain (Smith) was also from the Shore Conference, and Tarin was accepted to both Princeton and Penn and he decided to go play in the Big Ten,” Hurley said. “So Jagan’s going to have to decide what he wants to do, but he’s going to have plenty of options because he has the academics to go along with the basketball, and then it’s just a matter of, ‘What are you looking for?’
"Are you looking for the highest level of basketball, or are you looking for a place that will open the most doors for you in the future? You can’t say what becomes important to a family in that situation, but we should all have the problems that the Mosely family will have down the road.”
Chasing his basketball dreams requires Mosely to wake up at 6 a.m. five days a week and for one of his parents to drive him to the Matawan-Aberdeen train station. From there, he takes the train to Newark Penn Station, where he transfers to a Path train that takes him to Newport Mall, a block away from the high school.
The daily journey is one that a number of Shore natives have made, including current Point Pleasant Beach junior Jimmy Panzini, who spent two years at St. Anthony, commuting from Spring Lake before transferring out of St. Anthony prior to his junior year.
“I get up at six and it takes me about three minutes to get ready and then I head off to Matawan,” Mosely said. “It’s good having a uniform so I don’t have to think about what to wear.”
Mosely spent his Saturday aiding St. Anthony’s demolition of the Shore’s No. 1 team. CBA played the Friars close during the first quarter, 14-12, only to shoot 0-for-8 in the second quarter and fall behind 29-15 at halftime. By the early stages of the fourth quarter, St. Anthony had built a 55-25 lead, with Mosely chipping in 11 points in the victory.
“I played AAU with a few of (the CBA players), so I have some familiarity,” Mosely said. “But we don’t circle games on the calendar. We just take it game by game.”
CBA junior Pat Andree scored a game-high 17 points to earn team MVP honors, while Friars junior Taurean Thompson earned the MVP award for his team-high 13 points. Senior forward and Wichita State recruit Markis McDuffie also added 11 points for St. Anthony.
St. Anthony and CBA both spent time in Massachusetts over the holiday break and Hurley took note of CBA while watching them rout back-to-back opponents at Tufts University, while Billet also observed St. Anthony’s usual dominance.
“Their offensive flow, particularly the balance they were getting out of the front court, was worrisome for us because they played the game so effortlessly,” Hurley said of CBA. “We were very concerned that was going to be something that was to their advantage, and I just think that the backcourt pressure made the frontcourt get the basketball a little further out from where they wanted to get it and then they lost a little bit of their rhythm, particularly in that second quarter.”
“We saw them up in Boston and we actually played really well up there and that might have been a bad thing for today because coach Hurley might have been a little afraid of what he saw from us up there,” Billet said. “But I also saw them, and I think they are a little better than people think. Their size and their length kind of blew me away up there. I know a lot of people, especially some of our guys, thought we could win, and I don’t disagree with them, but I don’t think I was as hopeful as some of them after seeing St. Anthony up in Massachusetts during Christmas.”
Saturday’s loss was the second of back-to-back games for CBA, which went down to the wire with Marlboro on Friday night before ultimately winning 56-48.
“I don’t think we’re 20-plus points worse than them,” Billet said. “I don’t think we played very well tonight. We had a tough game last night, so I think we lost some of today, especially in the second quarter, in the game last night. Next year, we’ll have to do a better job of scheduling.”
St. Anthony 60, CBA 35
|St. Anthony (6-1)|
St. Anthony (60): R.J. Cole 2 0-0 4, Shaquan Gibbs 3 2-2 8, Tourean Thompson 6 1-1 13, Markis McDuffie 4 1-1 11, Jadan Mosely 5 0-1 11, Kaleb Bishop 3 0-0 6, Mohammed Bendary 2 1-1 5, Idris Joyner 1 0-0 2. Totals: 26 5-6 60
Three-pointers: McDuffie 2, Moseley
CBA (35): Shaun Belbey 0 1-4 1, John Salcedo 1 0-0 3, Pat Andree 5 3-6 17, Jack McGuire 0 0-0 0, Jack Laffey 2 3-3 8, Matt Dean 0 1-2, 1, Derek Loehner 1 0-3 3, Connor Aldridge 1 0-0 2. Totals: 10 8-16 35
Three-pointers: Salcedo, Andree 4, Laffey, Loehner