Ex-Duke star visits Glendale for hoops clinic

FLINTON – Sheana Mosch was about to dismiss the small group of tired teenage girls, then quickly reconsidered and called them back.

“We can’t end like that. ‘Petie Pie’ on three,'” an energetic Mosch urged. “‘One. Two. Three. Petie Pie!'”

Despite having just been through four hours of intensive basketball training, the girls smiled and giggled, complied and broke up with a spring in their steps.

Basketball has brought Mosch awards, paid for her education at one of the best academic institutions in the United States and given her the opportunity to travel the world, all by the age of 30. And she wants to give something back.

To that end, Mosch, the Clearfield native and one of the most successful basketball players to come out of Pennsylvania, was at Glendale High School on Tuesday for the first of two days of a clinic.

Mosch, who scored 3,000 points at DuBois Central Catholic High School, started in the Final Four for Duke and has been a EuroLeague all-star professionally, didn’t have to make the trip. Typically, she asks for 15 players to hold one of her clinics, and only about two-thirds of that signed up at Glendale from the host school and nearby Harmony. Still, she took time out of one of her rare trips home from South Carolina and Europe to work with the youngsters, less than 48 hours after her 32nd birthday.

“It’s hard for me to turn down kids who want to learn,” Mosch said.

The players were glad she came.

“She makes it seem more possible [to accomplish great things] from this area,” Glendale senior guard Courtney McMurray said. “It was fun.”

Fun, maybe, but it wasn’t easy.

“I believe I have a really good understanding about how to help a player become great at a specific skill,” Mosch said. “I really pay attention to details. If I give a kid something specific to work on and they do it wrong I’m going to correct them every single time. I don’t let the wrong method get stuck in their heads.

“It’s never just a layup. From the time you start the dribble to the time you shoot the ball, there are about five or six things going on in there. I’m very specific about getting good at each of those things. As a player, when I’m on defense, I hate when [the dribblers] push into me. So I think, ‘OK, teach that on offense.’ When I see how effective it is, then I think kids need to know it, too. I try to break it down, what’s the simplest thing we can start with, then what’s a little less simple. I try to go in a progression.”

Mosch is a good example about what her own methods can do. While only six players in state girls basketball history have scored more points than she did between 1996 and 1999, Mosch probably was even better as a ballhandler. She showed the campers her ability to dribble through the legs as simply as most players can with their dominant hand, and she instinctually tossed a pass behind the back to one of the girls when the ball got away during a game at the end of the day.

She made it look easy,” McMurray said with a laugh. “And it wasn’t.”

The players weren’t the only ones being educated. Glendale coach John Matchock was watching intently and said he came away with a few new drills and games.

“Her resume pretty much speaks for itself,” Matchock said. “The girls that showed up can learn a lot from her, just by listening to her and talking to her about some of her experiences.”

“I love teaching kids, because I see how many incredible opportunities basketball has brought to my life, all the different people I’ve met and the different cultures I’ve lived in, the countries I’ve visited,” Mosch said. “I want other kids to have that, even if their goal is just to make their varsity team. If that’s a goal they have, then I want to help them do that. That’s going to make them feel good about themselves. That’s going to get them exercise.”

Always a gifted athlete trying to keep up with an older brother, Mosch fell in love with basketball when she was at Clearfield St. Francis as a 13-year-old. Her father, George, a Clearfield doctor, showed her some Pete Maravich instructional videos. She was hooked.

“I was obsessed. I went right outside and started working. I would not come in until I could do it as well as Pete did. He was incredible,” said Mosch, who even named her shelter-adopted dog “Petie” – who accompanied her to camp and entertained the campers with her own basketball “dribbling” abilities – after her idol.

Mosch played all the time. Her mother, Suzanne, drove her four hours every week to play on an AAU team. She’d take a notebook with her when she worked out at the YMCA to jot down ideas.

“People would say, ‘You’re such a dork,'” Mosch said. “I didn’t care. I wanted to be good at basketball.”

Mosch tried to impart that knowledge to her campers.

“Unfortunately, I only have these kids for two days,” Mosch said. “I’m trying to get them, once you’re doing something, to do it as hard as you can, to constantly try to challenge yourself, to constantly try to improve. It’s never settling for where you are. That will start playing into other parts of their life, be it school or softball. They’ll be ‘let’s get better and better and better.’ If I help them reach their goal, then I’m extremely happy. Anybody who ever plays basketball can say they learn things that will help in other parts of their lives. It is true.”

She seemed to get her point across.

“The way she explained it made it sink into your head more. We were doing it the way we were supposed to do it instead of just doing it,” McMurray said. “She makes you feel comfortable. You don’t feel nervous, like you have to do it right. She makes you feel comfortable and encourages you to do it better.”

Mosch has played the last eight years in France, Turkey and Russia and plans to head back overseas in October for another seven-month season. She plans to play as long as she can, after which she might come home and expand her clinics, which she says she’d rather do than coach because she feels she can reach more young people.

That’s very important to her, because she feels she has a message to share, whether she’s working with the star player on the team or one who just wants to make the team. And not just for basketball, but for life.

“I’m blessed with the talent that God has given me, but also with the determination He has given me,” Mosch said. “There’s never been one year in my life I’ve looked back and said ‘I should have done fill-in-the-blank.’ Every single year I finish, I’ve done everything I possibly could. I’ve always been the type of person to give everything I had.”