In the 75-year history of the NBA, no former Colorado basketball player had ever been named an NBA head coach until Chauncey Billups landed the lead job at Portland.
It took less than two weeks for another former Buffaloes player to join that exclusive club.
On Sunday, ESPN reported that Jamahl Mosley, a former Buffs forward in the late 1990s, has agreed to a four-year contract as the head coach of the Orlando Magic. Billups, perhaps the most famous alumnus of the CU men’s basketball program, agreed to a five-year deal with Portland.
Mosley has spent the past seven seasons as an assistant at Dallas, and was reportedly a finalist for the Mavericks’ head coach job after Rick Carlisle resigned. That job instead went to Jason Kidd.
Mosley has been widely lauded for his role in helping the development of Dallas all-star guard Luka Doncic. He also has enjoyed extensive stops with the Denver Nuggets (2005-10) and Cleveland Cavaliers (2010-2014). His NBA staff career began as a player development coach and scout with the Nuggets before he was promoted to assistant coach.
Mosley and Billups just missed playing together in Boulder under former CU coach Ricardo Patton, with Mosley beginning his collegiate playing career in the fall of 1997 just months after Billups was the third overall pick in the NBA draft following two of the most impressive individual seasons in CU basketball history.
Mosley displayed his coaching smarts from the start, earning All-Big 12 Academic First Team honors as a freshman during the 1997-98 season. As a junior in 1999-2000, Mosley landed on the Big 12’s Most Improved team after averaging 14.0 points and 7.1 rebounds while shooting .541 from the floor. He also was a third team all-conference selection that season.
Mosley remains 26th on CU’s all-time scoring list (1,171 points) and is 16th in career rebounds (679). His career-high 22 rebounds against Missouri on Jan. 10, 2001 is the best rebounding total by any CU player over the past 40 years and is tied for the fourth-best rebounding game in program history. Mosley enjoyed a relatively short but very well-traveled international playing career with stops in Mexico, Australia, Spain, Finland, and South Korea before setting his sights on a coaching career.
Since arriving at CU in 2010, head coach Tad Boyle has helped create a Buffs basketball alumni network, and he said Mosley frequently has been generous with his time despite the hectic schedule of an NBA coach.
“Through our former player network that we’ve tried to create at Colorado, I’ve had some great conversations with Jamahl,” Boyle said. “He’s been involved in some of our leadership development calls that we started a couple of years ago. Jamahl has been really, really good in terms of offering his time. More through Zoom than in person for sure, but I’m a big Jamahl Mosley fan and I’m extremely happy for him. I knew it was only a matter of time before he would get an opportunity.
“He’s a great guy, a great Buff. He loves Colorado. Those NBA guys are on a little different schedule, so it’s hard for them to get back to Boulder for games to reconnect like they’d like to. But he’s a Buff, and he’s proud to be a Buff.”
The Buffs’ next set of five practices ahead of the Costa Rica exhibition tour will begin on or around Aug. 5…It still has not been determined if the Buffs will play three or four games on the trip…Former Buffs guard and Parker native Derrick White participated in the MLB All-Star celebrity softball game on Sunday at Coors Field and was named MVP after crushing a home run.