Boys basketball: Valparaiso’s John Mosser does it all – including laundry
By Brian Hedger Post-Tribune correspondent January 24, 2013 11:12PM
Valparaiso's John Mosser tries to get the ball from Chesterton's Corey Rusboldt during a game in December at Chesterton High School. | File Photo~Sun-Times Media ptmet
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Updated: February 26, 2013 6:45AM
As a coach, Valparaiso’s Joe Otis is happy to have a player like senior forward John Mosser on his roster.
Mosser is 6-foot-7 and has a versatile game that’s beneficial all over the court. He also has a strong personality and leads the Vikings both by example and speaking up when needed. Mosser also happens to be Otis’ neighbor and has impressed his coach as a person.
“He’s a kid who will take the laundry to the laundry room after the game because he has no ego,” Otis said. “He’s the kid who puts his stuff down to help a teacher carry a box into the building at school. He’s done it for me and I’ve seen him do it for others, as well.”
Turns out he’s a lot like his dad, Ed Mosser — a salesman who raised the youngest of his two sons as a single parent after wife, Paula, died of breast cancer. Mosser said that his father was remarried a few years ago, but the lessons learned by watching his dad when it was just the two of them stuck with him.
“He raised me as a single parent after my mom passed away when I was about 5 and he did a wonderful job raising me,” Mosser said. “He molded me into the person I am today. As a person, he always does that kind of stuff for people and I guess I just caught on at a young age.”
Basketball, however, was one thing he didn’t catch onto as quickly.
Despite coming from a strong basketball lineage — his father played in high school and college and his older brother, Warren, played for Morgan Township — Mosser wasn’t always the kind of player he is now.
When he played at Ben Franklin Middle School, where they have two basketball teams for seventh and eighth grade, Mosser was placed on the “B” team along with fellow Vikings senior forward Brody Wilson.
Mosser now takes pride in the fact that the former “B” teamers are the lone seniors from Ben Franklin on the Valparaiso varsity.
Mosser is now one of the Vikings’ tri-captains, but said the transition was challenging and a growth spurt before his freshman year instantly improved his potential as a player.
“You know, it kind of took some time getting used to it, because in middle school I was on the ‘B’ team and I wasn’t the main guy,” Mosser said. “I was that kid who listened to other kids, so my freshman year was a tough transition because I grew and they tried getting me to be that person to prepare me (for varsity).”
Mosser has also struggled to add weight to his slender frame. He did have some success doing it from the summer until now, and tacked on about 20 pounds from last season by hitting the wright room, consuming a high-protein diet and “eating everything in sight.”
He’s playing this season around 190 pounds.
“He’s still not scary or anything, but he is bigger and stronger,” Otis said. “He’s worked really hard to get there and now he doesn’t get pushed around as much for a kid as slender as he is. His thinness is also what allows him to get around people. He’s quick. That’s one of his strengths.”
Shooting acumen for a guy his size is another, which is why college coaches from St. Xavier, Taylor, Huntington and, most recently, the Air Force Academy are all keeping tabs on him. Most are interested in him playing small forward or a wing position at the next level.
Mosser also did something last week at LaPorte, during a 63-53 Vikings win, that raised some eyebrows. He hit all 17 of his free throws in a 23-point performance — including 10-of-10 in the fourth quarter.
Slicers fans tried to break his concentration, but the bigger challenge came from within.
“I just got on a hot streak,” Mosser said. “After my seventh one in a row, I realized I had a streak going and didn’t want to miss. That’s the worst thing you can do, too. It’s bad once you start thinking about it. Somehow, I just kept on hitting them.”
The Vikings’ school record is 20-for-20, which was set in 1959 by Chuck Kriston — an eventual draft pick of the Boston Celtics. Mosser’s free-throw percentage also climbed from 67 to 76 percent in that game alone.
Afterward, Mosser did what he usually does. He latched his hands on the team’s dirty laundry and hauled it away.