The Washington Times - April 13, 2009, 06:11PM

Loyal readers no doubt know all too well the wariness presented here toward incursions from the Big Bag of Sportswriters’ Cliches.

While hearing about “chemistry” and “knowing how to win” and receiving a huge helping of “momentum” gets old, one related item never ceases to amuse.


That, of course, is the Breathless Absolutist Exclamation, an declaration of inflexibility, a nod to an unbreakable tendency with just a hint of either unyielding reverence or snide subversion.

No matter the tone, Sean Mosley was probably the recipient of a few Breathless Absolutist Exclamations as he began his Maryland career. And one way or another, he blew them away.

To wit:

1. Gary Williams is so loyal to his veterans he won’t ever play a freshman over an older player.

Nope. Mosley probably would have started from the beginning of the season had it not been for a preseason ankle injury. Still, Williams remained high on him throughout the season, and when it came time to shuffle the lineup in late January, it was Mosley who took over junior Eric Hayes‘ starting spot.

By the way, anyone peddling that line needs to think about the true freshmen who have acted as primary starters in the last 15 years at Maryland: Joe Smith, Keith Booth, Steve Blake, Nik Caner-Medley and Greivis Vasquez all come to mind. A long list? No. But it’s still hilarious to hear the “Gary-won’t-play-his-freshman” line of reasoning.

2. Sean Mosley, the No. 2 scorer in Maryland high school history, will have an immediate offensive impact.

Not so much. Mosley had his moments, no doubt, but his scoring average of 5.3 points didn’t quite stack up to the gaudy numbers he rolled up in Baltimore. Why? Well, it’s partially becausehe bullied his way to the basket against smaller high school opponents, but didn’t have that luxury at the college level. He shot 37 percent from the floor, and it shouldn’t take anyone long to guess he’ll spend some time this summer working on his mid-range game.

3. Mosley’s court awareness will be his greatest asset.

Incorrect, and I fell for that one. Instead, it was his remarkable ability to be a defensive pest – a nuisance no one wanted to deal with in practice every day. Mosley (6-foot-4 and 210 pounds) is probably built more like a tank than anyone else on Maryland’s roster, and he’s smart enough to use his size to his advantage. Yes, Mosley understands the game well. But if this year taught anything, it’s that he can intuit his own strengths and weaknesses well for a young player.

4. Mosley’s old-school haircut will make you forget about Bambale Osby’s ‘fro.

No, though to be fair, no one was saying that before the season. If not for Adrian Bowie’s late-season affinity for mohawks, Mosley might have had a chance to have the Terps’ most talked-about hair. Do note he kept himself away from any mohawk-related discussions.

5. Once Mosley arrives in College Park, his Baltimore City player of the year award won’t mean anything.

Au contraire, not if a coach embattled about his recruiting wins and losses has anything to say about it. Williams was quick to remind he had the last two Baltimore players of the year on his roster, and that makes Mosley something close to a coveted feather in Williams’ attempt to claim a recent offseason victory.

Obviously, some of those assertions were exaggerated a bit. But nonetheless, Mosley wasn’t quite what everyone had in mind when he rolled into town and put on Williams’ old No. 14.

He’s not a huge scorer, not at this stage of his career. And should Vasquez return next season (along with Hayes and Landon Milbourne), Mosley won’t be asked to be anything more than a No. 4 scoring option as a sophomore.

There’s obviously places in his game that need improvement, but averaging more than seven rebounds per 40 minutes and demonstrating some defensive zest in his first season was a good place to start.

Those traits will earn playing time with Williams regardless of age. Maybe the offensive part of Mosley’s game develops quickly; maybe it doesn’t. Either way, Williams found a player who is a solid fit in his system, and that will provide an answer to something for the next three seasons.

Patrick Stevens