Jagan Mosely usually draws the assignment of covering the opposing team’s best player.
Mosely and Powell are two New Jersey products who played together on the NJ Playaz AAU program and remain friends to this day. Mosely was a four-year starter for coach Bob Hurley at St. Anthony.
“I played with Myles, played against Myles,” Mosely told NJ Advance Media by phone on Thursday after Georgetown’s practice at Rutgers-Newark. “Myles is like a brother to me, so this game is very exciting for both of us. We always talk about it when the season starts. We basically circle it on our calendars. There are no friends on the court, but it’s always fun playing against one of your brothers.”
A year ago, Powell and the Pirates took two of three matchups with the Hoyas. In the Big East Tournament quarterfinals, Powell scored 29 of his 31 points in the first half as Seton Hall blitzed Georgetown, 73-57. The Pirates beat Marquette in the semifinals before losing to Villanova, 74-72, in the Big East Tournament championship game.
This season, Powell missed two games with a concussion suffered Dec. 14 at Rutgers, but he came back to pour in 27 points on Monday night in a 74-66 win at DePaul after Pirates coach Kevin Willard called him “doubtful” for the game.
“He’s a warrior,” Mosely said. “We had a lot of conversations before the season, about his goals, my goals and our team goals. So I’m happy to see that he’s doing what he said he was going to do. He’s obviously looking forward to the NBA Draft and that stuff so he’s working hard toward that and making sure that he’s durable and that he’s there for his team as much as possible.”
Mosely was the 2016 NJ.com Player of the Year at St. Anthony. He averaged 14.2 points, seven rebounds and five assists as a senior when he led Hurley’s team to the Non-Public B State title, the Tournament of Champions crown and a 32-0 record.
Now in his senior season with the Hoyas (10-4, 0-1 Big East), he is experiencing a new form of adversity. Georgetown has seen four players transfer after a scandal engulfed three of them in on-campus charges of burglary, assault and harassment.
Since New Year’s, two players announced their future destinations, with sophomore guard James Akinjo, who was not implicated in the charges, picking Arizona, and sophomore forward Josh LeBlanc choosing LSU.
The two other players, Galen Alexander and Myron Gardner, have yet to announce their future destinations.
“I was really shocked the day before we played Syracuse [Dec. 14], when Galen and Myron transferred,” Mosely said. “I was shocked when James and Josh transferred as well. But after we had all four of them gone, basically you just realize how many minutes you’re going to be playing and how much more you have to contribute if you want to get wins, especially this being my last year.
“I haven’t seen the NCAA Tournament yet and that’s a goal of mine, so I know that I have to hold my guys accountable because everyone has to step up and play longer.”
Mosely has logged more than 30 minutes in each of Georgetown’s last six games, and 37 in each of their last two.
“He loves the school and I’m sure now he’s a very relaxed player because with people being gone, it’s nice when you think people are really going to rely on you,” Hurley said by phone. “So now I think he’s in a position of trust so I think he can be more relaxed when he plays. And that’s probably good for senior year to be in that place.”
Despite the transfers, or perhaps because of them, Georgetown had rattled off six straight wins before losing to Providence 76-60 on Monday in a game in which star guard Mac McClung sat out with an eye injury. McClung, who is averaging 15.5 points per game, is a game-time decision for the Seton Hall game.
“We’ve been playing well, playing more like a team,” Hoyas coach Patrick Ewing said. “Sometimes less is more. I think with us losing four significant parts of our team has galvanized our guys."
Mosely expects to have a group of family and friends at the game, including his parents, Hurley and Playaz director Jimmy Salmon.
“A lot of people who are part of my basketball past and helped me get to where I am now are going to watch me play my last game in Jersey,” Mosely said.
And of course, his old friend Powell, who is averaging 21.7 points per game, awaits him on the court.
“When you’re guarding their top scorer, your goal is to keep him under his average,” Mosely said. “But at the end of the day if he scores 50 and we win, it will be embarrassing for me, but I’ll be fine with the W. But in a perfect world, I want to keep him under his average and get the W.”
Adam Zagoria is a freelance reporter who covers Seton Hall and NJ college basketball for NJ Advance Media.