Johnnie Richardson is one of the key returning players for the Niagara College men’s basketball team. NIAGARA COLLEGE

Mosley lands two OSBA players

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a recruiting season like no other for Phil Mosley.

“For all these young kids that I am talking to, it’s sort of anticlimactic. They can’t fully enjoy all the stuff that goes along with it,” said the Niagara College men’s basketball coach.

“They are all in with the mindset that they are accepted and they are coming and there’s not much talk at their end. It’s like that elephant in the room, but you don’t want to put any negative spin on the excitement they may have.”

After shopping locally by signing Notre Dame standout Shammar Campbell and convincing top local players, Igor M’Baya and Jerwyn Tutanes, to try out, Mosley turned his attention to the Ontario Scholastic Basketball Association and signed Vaughan Prep point guard Reggie Williams and Lincoln Prep small forward Rahim Douglas-Charles.

Mosley describes Williams, a 6-foot-1 Toronto native, as probably his biggest signing.

“We believe Reggie will have an instant impact on our program as a combo guard. He is a dual threat guard who can score and distribute the ball with great effectiveness,” Mosley said. “His size will lend well to the defensive end and from everything we have seen, he will be a great fit in our system.”

Williams plans to study in the broadcast, radio, television and film program at Niagara.

“I want to be the best basketball player I can be for this team,” he told the Niagara College athletics website. “I chose Niagara College so I can accomplish that and pursue my love for media production off the court. While I am developing my skills on the court, I’ll also be developing my skills and a videographer in the BRTF program.”

Douglas-Charles is a 6-foot-2 small forward from Brampton with an inside presence and a mid-range game.

“He’s a good defender and comes from a good program where he has played with great players,” Mosley said. “Five or six of his teammates have gone to NCAA Division 1 or U SPORTS. I know he has played with and against quality players and to me that builds their basketball IQ almost automatically.”

Douglas-Charles also plans to study broadcast, radio, television and film.

“Niagara College is the best fit for me going further in my basketball career and they have some really good opportunities with the program I am going into,” he told the Niagara College athletics website. “I believe I can be really successful at Niagara College both in the classroom and on the court.”

The two signings should help fit the void left with the loss to graduation of 5-foot-10 guard Lequan Hylton.

The four main returning players are Johnnie Richardson, Rahim Bardi, Sterphone Augustin and Kennon Larmand.

“Those are the four who are building blocks and Reese Radobenko will be back as another solid support guy as will Connor Joliffe,” Mosley said.

The signings were the culmination of lots of work by Mosley.

“The process for me starts with early identification six to eight months ago for some of them and then following up emails of players who are interested in coming into the program,” he said.

Normally, he would invite guys in for some training sessions or workouts, either as individuals or with other players from the Knights.

“I can’t do that so I have to rely a lot on game film and speaking to their coaches to get a full picture of their playing skills, but also their character,” Mosley said. “Those are two big pieces for us.”

The pandemic has made things much more difficult.

“You get inundated with emails from guys who are interested in coming and playing but all you can offer them now is an opportunity to possibly come in and work out if and when things break.”

That makes it difficult for Mosley to make definitive decisions.

“It would be much easier if you had them in the building and had them in the gym to see them against each other or against your returning players. Now you have to go a little bit on game film and I watch a lot of game film. The problem is some players come from smaller schools and they don’t have access to game film,” he said. “You get a real mix of that and you have to trust that it is all going to work out and there will come a time when you can get guys in the gym to make some final decisions regarding the roster.”

In normal times, Mosley’s team would already be practising twice a week with returning players and prospective players who live three or four hours away.

“It would be a mix of skill training and scrimmaging to assess players.”

He is presently hosting two Zoom meetings a week to touch base with his players and exchanges countless texts with them as well.