After offseason shoulder surgery, Balint Mocsan was cleared to play in January just before his Idaho State Bengals were set to host Weber State.
With about 14 games left in the 2019-20 season, the 6-foot-3 shooting guard decided he’d rather redshirt, regain a full senior season and be 100% healthy when he took the court again. His plan at the time was to return to Idaho State for his senior season.
But two months later, Mocsan surprisingly entered the transfer portal. Monday, he decided Big Sky rival Weber State was where he would spend his final season of college basketball, becoming the fifth overall commitment to WSU’s 2020 recruiting class and the fifth planned senior on the roster.
Mocsan, a native of Hungary, was one of the best 3-point shooters on the market. After interest from dozens of schools, the 42.6% career 3-point shooter committed to Weber State.
Maryland, Minnesota and Texas Tech were the most interested of high-major schools, Mocsan said and, of a host of mid-major suitors, he said Portland State, Hofstra and Cal Baptist were the most competitive for his services.
Familiarity with Weber State helped him feel comfortable, he said, considering the current COVID-19 pandemic has prohibited in-person visits between recruits and coaches.
“I’ve been in the Big Sky for four years, I’ve seen them, I know it’s such a great program with a good reputation, they’re always at the top of the league. This year they had to go through some adversity but I know Weber State is a good place to be at,” Mocsan told the Standard-Examiner via video chat from Hungary.
“So throughout the transfer process, I talked to Coach (Randy) Rahe a lot and we built a good relationship. He’s a great guy and I thought the opportunity Weber State had to offer was great for me, was exactly what I was looking for.”
He said feedback from high-major schools was valuable but ultimately the spot he desired needed two things: a team that will win games and get to the NCAA Tournament, and one that will give him a major role in that process.
“I think I can potentially become an All-Big Sky player next year. I know Weber State’s intention is always to be at the top in the Big Sky,” Mocsan said.
Mocsan averaged 11.3 points per game and shot 71 of 165 (43%) from the 3-point line in 2018-19, his last season of play. He twice scored a career high of 25 points that season, and twice booked games with seven made 3-pointers.
That shooting prowess is welcome on any team, but he also provides Weber a clear answer at the shooting guard position.
“Obviously, there are no promises and I don’t expect them to make me promises, but I feel like the spot is there for me to take. With my game and the effort I give every single day, if I deserve it, I’ll earn it,” Mocsan said. “Coach Rahe, they’re bringing in really good players. He’s going to play the players who play their best. If that’s me, that’s what I’m going to work for every day.”
His mid-March decision to enter the transfer portal was surprising to those around the Idaho State program. Mocsan was expected to be a senior leader and potentially the leading scorer for the Bengals.
“When I first did a redshirt year, my plan was to go back to Idaho State,” he said. “After the season, I had conversations with my family, my parents, some people I trust who are important in my life, and looking at all the options I decided I would explore my transfer options and look for another place.”
Now, Mocsan becomes part of a big group of new players for the Wildcats. He joins forward Dontay Bassett (Florida) and guard Isiah Brown (Grand Canyon) as senior graduate transfers committed to the 2020 class, with junior college commit Zahir Porter and Division II sophomore scorer Darweshi Hunter pledged to bolster the guard line and wing positions.
WSU will add at least two more players ahead of the 2020-21 season. The signing period opens Wednesday.
“Weber State is a great basketball program, everything is appealing about it. This year, they were struggling a little bit and the coaches knew that. They’re bringing in new players, they know what they need to do and I believe they’ve done it,” Mocsan said. “The guys who are staying are really good players, too, and I’m excited to play with them and get to know them ... It’s a hard situation right now, I hope it’s going to be as soon as possible so we can get a good feel for each other and play as much as possible before the season starts.
“I’m really excited, I’m looking forward to playing for Weber State and that coaching staff, and I want to win. I think we have a good chance and this team is going to be great next season.”