LAS VEGAS – Jamahl Mosley got the surprise of a lifetime recently when he was named one of nine men to be an assistant coach on the USA Basketball Men’s National Team mini-camp.
His reaction was, well, priceless.
“Absolutely, I was blown out,” said Mosley, who is an assistant coach with the Dallas Mavericks. “There are only a few things that you really look at as being able to do something to represent your country, and to me this is one of those things.
“Words really can’t express that. It’s a complete honor to be able to be a part of it no matter in what capacity. It’s just an honor and a privilege more than anything.”
Mosley will be working in conjunction with San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, who is the head coach of the USA Basketball Men’s National Team. The minicamp started Wednesday for the coaches involved.
Meanwhile, the players, including Mavs forward Harrison Barnes and center DeAndre Jordan, will have daily workouts on Thursday and Friday on the campus of the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.
While Mosley is cherishing this tremendous opportunity with USA basketball, he knows he is indebted to Mavs coach Rick Carlisle, who hired him to be a part of his coaching staff in 2014. When asked what Carlisle means to him, Mosley said: “It’s really indescribable just because of the faith he’s put in me to try to do better and to challenge me to do more.
“People have said it so many times the way his mind works and the way he sees things is just fantastic. He challenges you every day to become better, to look at the details of things, to look at the different strategies, different concepts, and that’s what makes the assistants become better because he’s challenging you to do more every single day. For my career, it’s been truly wonderful.”
Carlisle thinks the world of Mosley and is delighted that a protégé of his has a unique opportunity to work with USA Basketball.
“Jamahl is highly respected in the basketball world and this is further evidence of that fact,” Carlisle said. “A well-deserved opportunity for a terrific basketball coach.”
Throughout his coaching journey with the Mavs, Mosley has developed close relationships with the players, proprietor Mark Cuban, president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson, vice-president of basketball operations Michael Finley, Carlisle and others on the staff. He described how valuable those relationships are to him moving forward.
“You get the examples from coach Carlisle throughout the year of what it means to be a Mavericks, what it means to run an organization, what Mark talks about in what it means to be in this organization,” Mosley said. “Then you really get to have a voice with these young guys coming in asking about what it means to represent this organization and this franchise.
“And you take what Mark’s talked about, what Rick’s talked about, what Donnie’s talked about, and you really get to implement it with these young guys. If they want to be a part of it, this is what it means. So it’s really a great feeling to be able to transfer that message that you get from these guys every single day into these younger guys.”
Carlisle is so confidence in Mosley’s coaching abilities that he named him as the head coach of the Mavs’ summer league teams the past three seasons.
Like many others, Finley is so enamored with Mosley’s coaching acumen that two weeks ago he interrupted an interview session Mosley was having after one of the Mavs’ summer league games in Las Vegas to say how he’ll make a good NBA head coach one day.
Asked to comment on Finley’s comment, a sheepish Mosley said: “Honestly, every assistant coach thinks of (becoming a head coach). It means a lot coming from Michael Finley because of what he does and who he is and what he’s done in this league and the people he’s been around. I just also know that it’s just part of me just wanting to get better no matter what.
“As an assistant, that’s where I am right now, and being better for our organization is the one thing that I’m focused on more than anything. I think as that happens, if it does, it does. I just really focus on just becoming the best version of an assistant that I can be with our organization. That’s honestly what I really am focused on.”
In addition to Barnes and Jordan, some of the players Mosley will be working with during this mini-camp include LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis, Klay Thompson, John Wall, Kevin Love, Paul George and Draymond Green. It is indeed a who’s who of basketball players.
Mosley can’t wait to soak up all the knowledge, hear the engaging stories and take what he’s learned back to Dallas and share it with the Mavs. It truly is shaping up to be the experience of a lifetime for the 39-year native of Milwaukee.
“You understand it’s great coaches and great players,” Mosley said. “It’s the best of the best from that standpoint representing your country and just learning and listening and understanding the stories, the things that you talk about, the experiences that they’ve had. That’s really what I want to take back from it.
“Just to be able to experience that and understand what that’s like to be with the best talking about their experiences in whatever circumstances. You’ve got championships from so many of these guys. Just being around these guys means the world.”
Mosley was an assistant with the Denver Nuggets (2006-’10) and Cleveland Cavaliers (‘10’14) before joining the Mavs in time for the 2014-’15 season. He said he’s eternally grateful to Carlisle for putting him in a position where USA Basketball would bestow such an honor upon him.
“I can’t tell you enough how honored I am and humble at the same time just because the experiences that I’ve learned while I’ve been with the Mavericks and what I’ve learned under coach Carlisle,” Mosley said. “A lot of these things don’t happen if I’m not under him.”
NOTES: Of the nine assistant coaches under USA Basketball Men’s National Team coach Gregg Popovich, seven of them hail from the NBA and the other two from the NCAA ranks. Including Mavericks assistant coach Jamahl Mosley, the other coaches from the NBA are Golden State Warriors associate head coach Mike Brown, Portland Trail Blazers assistant coach David Vanterpool, Utah Jazz assistant coach Alex Jensen, San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Ime Udoka, Miami Heat assistant coach Dan Craig and Boston Celtics assistant coach Jay Larranaga. The two assistants from the college ranks are Villanova head coach Jay Wright and Gonzaga head coach Mark Few. . .Mavs head athletic trainer Casey Smith is part of the USA Basketball training staff. . .Jamahl Mosley on having the opportunity to work these next two days with the newest Mavs, center DeAndre Jordan. “That’ll be great,” Mosley said. “We all know what he’s capable of doing and who he’s capable of being and the things we’ve seen him do throughout the years. I just really think that he’s just a special, special player that can do so many things for, obviously USA basketball, but also for our team. I just really think he’s just a great piece that we’ve added that Mark (Cuban), Donnie (Nelson) and Rick (Carlisle) have put together that honestly can help us move in the right direction.”