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Hillsboro graduate Charles Mosley chose nearby Pacific University so he could stay close to home and also extend his basketball career

Pacific University senior forward Charles Mosley’s dream is to one day become a dentist.by: PHOTO BY JOHN LARIVIERE - Pacific University senior forward and former Hilhi standout Charles Mosley goes up for a jump shot during the Boxers' exhibition basketball game against Portland State on Nov. 9.

“Whenever I went to the dentist when I was young, the dentist would always tell me, ‘Oh, you have such nice teeth,’” Mosley says. “I always liked going. Most people don’t like going to the dentist, but for me, it was no biggie. It was something that appealed to me and one day I said, ‘You know what, I want to try to do that.’”

After high school, Mosley could have gone to a big college and focused on dentistry, but he decided to go to Pacific instead and continue his basketball career for another four years.

“I didn’t expect to be playing Division I anywhere or be getting any full rides anywhere,” Mosley says. “I could’ve gone to a big school to just hang out, but I really wanted to keep playing ball. I’ve been doing it forever and I just didn’t really want to stop yet.”

Pacific head coach Tim Cleary could not be happier that Mosley decided not to give up basketball too soon.

“He’s the heart and soul of our program and our rock in the paint,” Cleary says. “He needs to continue to do that. He’s our tough guy, our enforcer, all those different clichés.”

Growing up, basketball was always Mosley’s love. Even though his father was the tennis coach at Hillsboro High and even though Mosley was always told that he had the body for football, the basketball court was where he wanted to be.

“People were always trying to get me to play football,” the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Mosley says. “I look like a football player and I probably should have played football, and in high school I played tennis for about three years. I was good, (but) it wasn’t really my thing. I like the sport a lot, but my interest kind of just faded out.”

On the basketball court at Hillsboro, Mosley was a Second Team All-Northwest Oregon Conference selection in 2006-07. Two seasons later, Mosley was a Third Team All-NWOC selection after helping lead the Spartans to a state playoff appearance.

“I liked it a lot,” Mosley says of the Hillsboro basketball program. “When I was there, there was a big tradition of good basketball going on. We had a pretty good team my senior year.”

After his prep career ended, Mosley wanted to continue playing basketball and chose Pacific because of its proximity to his family.

“I really liked the school,” Mosley says. “And because I’m from Hillsboro, it was really close to home. My mom was trying to coax me into it. Eventually I was like, ‘Why not? I’ll do it.’”

Mosley’s freshman year at Pacific, he came off the bench in all 25 games. He finished fifth on the team in free throw shooting (.700) and had a career-high 14 points against Multnomah.

“It was tough at first,” Mosley says. “When I came in that summer and came to some open gyms, I was like, ‘Man, there’s some big dudes out here and they’re all a lot stronger than me. Eventually I got stronger myself and got up to par. But, my freshman year I didn’t see much playing time because there were a lot of guys in front of me. I just had to keep at it because I knew that one day it would be my time.”

Mosley’s sophomore year he again played in all 25 games and started eight. His best game came in the season opener when he scored 13 points against Portland Bible.

“I didn’t really make too much improvement from my freshman to sophomore year,” Mosley says. “There was definitely some improvement. I got stronger, but ...”

The real improvement for Mosley came after his sophomore year when he decided to dedicate himself to basketball.

“The biggest improvement was from my sophomore to my junior year,” Mosley says. “I really decided that I wanted to take the strength thing to another level and I really wanted to get my shot going. My freshman year I didn’t really have too much of a jumper at all. I really wanted to start working on that. Now I can shoot a little bit, I guess.”

Mosley went to Pacific to work out several times a week during the summer before his junior season.

“I live so close that I would just come out during the summer at least three or four times a week,” Mosley says. “I would come out and get shots, get a lift in with the coaches sometimes. I just tried to come out there as much as possible. I usually had the whole gym to myself. I would get on the (shooting) gun and get as many shots as I wanted.”

The hard work paid off. Mosley’s junior year he was Honorable Mention All-Northwest Conference. He was the only Boxer to start all 25 games, finishing as the team’s second-leading scorer with 10.8 points per game. He was the team’s third-leading rebounder with 5.4 per game. His biggest scoring night came against Linfield when he dropped 22 points.

“I was really pleased,” Mosley says of his junior season. “I wasn’t really expecting that at all. Now the league knows me as one of the better big men in the league.”

Cleary says that Mosley continued his dedication to the game leading up to his senior season.

“He was a good player that did a lot off some of the tools he had,” Cleary says. “He’s evolved into this guy who is committed to basketball. The amount of work that he put in during the offseason this past spring and summer was just phenomenal. He lived in the gym. He was constantly in the gym, constantly in the weight room.

“He just really made a personal commitment to being the best player that he could be. Up until this point in the season he’s really seeing the fruits of that labor. A lot of that is just due to his maturity as a person. He’s just a lot more serious about things now and a lot more focused.”

Before Mosley strained his MCL ligament in the fourth game of the season, he was averaging 12 points and seven rebounds per game. Cleary says that the Boxers have missed Mosley significantly during the two games that he has been absent — an 84-64 victory over Simpson and a 69-65 loss to Walla Walla.

“Charles has been doing great for us,” Cleary says. “He’s a guy who you know what you’re going to get from him night in and night out. He’s a warrior on the glass. He’s gotten to the point where he’s a really effective scorer with his back to the basket and he’s also a very effective midrange player. He does a lot of things for us that we count on.

“His absence the last couple of games, we’ve really missed him. He’s had a really good year and he’s important to our scheme.”

On top of his physical skills, Mosley also brings leadership and toughness to the Boxers.

“He’s a senior, so he’s been through the wars and rigors of building the program with us,” Cleary says. “He’s a program guy for us. I look at how much he’s matured on and off the floor. He’s come so far. He’s matured as a basketball player and as a person.

“The thing that he brings us outside of the physical aspect is toughness. He’s a mentally tough guy. He’s a guy who you can count on all the time. His level of mental toughness as well as physical toughness is something the guys feed off of.”

Mosley has already begun practicing again and is confident that he will be able to come back soon and be at full strength.

“I’m really confident,” Mosley says. “I’m not worried about the injury being a limiting factor at all. I’m looking forward to getting back to work.”

When he does return, Cleary has big expectations for Mosley.

“Charles needs to continue to be our rock, our guy, our presence in the paint that when we need a bucket late, we can run a set to him and get him a deep touch and he’s going to give us a high percentage shot,” Cleary says. “He needs to be a guy who’s going to compete on the glass night in and night out. If he can continue to embrace that and do those things, he’s going to have a really special year and hopefully our team will follow suit.”

Knowing that this will be his final season in competitive basketball and that a future in dentistry awaits, Mosley is very happy that he spent the last four years playing the game that he loves.

“If I had gone to a big school, I don’t think I would be doing as well grade-wise,” Mosley says. “There’s a lot more distractions at those type of schools. I have a really tight-knit group here that I hang out with and I know that I’m going to have those friends for the rest of my life.

“And playing basketball, I know that I wouldn’t give this experience up for anything. This is one of the best experiences I’ve ever had in my life.”

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