Mobley Makes the Smart Move

Ryan Kartje (LA Times)  —  A magical March run as USC’s top tournament scorer led 6-10 forward Isaiah Mobley to test the NBA draft waters, but with just a short time left before the deadline Wednesday he announced he’ll withdraw from the draft pool to return for his junior season at USC.

“Ain’t this what you been waiting for,” Mobley wrote in a post on social media, only four hours before the deadline to withdraw. It would have been difficult to imagine a successful encore performance this season from the Trojans without Isaiah Mobley. With Wednesday’s news, USC’s outlook for 2021-22 became a little clearer.

The former MacDonald’s All-American’s decision marks an instantaneous major offseason victory for USC, which already was tasked with replacing projected top-three pick Evan Mobley, his younger brother, as well as top guard Tahj Eaddy. After a stellar end to last season in which he came alive during the NCAA tournament, the elder Mobley will be expected to take over as the Trojans’ top offensive threat.

Mobley stepped into that role seamlessly last March, outshining his NBA-bound brother to average 16 points and 6.5 rebounds during the Trojans’ run to the Elite Eight. He also found his stroke from three-point range, hitting 10 of 15 from deep through six postseason games.

That performance saw Mobley’s draft stock soar, leading him to seriously consider a leap to the NBA. He announced in April that he would declare for the draft while retaining the right to return. His stock had risen higher after a strong performance at the NBA draft combine last month  —  he made the most of his appearance, impressing scouts and analysts in five-on-five scrimmages and drills, making 24 of 30 attempts on shots off the dribble.

Still, it was unlikely Mobley would hear his name called until late in the draft’s second round, if at all. That uncertainty, coupled with the opportunity available at USC, was enough to lead Mobley back to Los Angeles.

Next season, he’ll have to carry the load for a team that lost its two top scorers. Until last March, it was a role Mobley hadn’t been asked to fill at USC. As a freshman, he was slow to find his stride while playing next to future top-10 pick Onyeka Okongwu. In his second season, he largely found himself playing second fiddle to his brother in the Trojans’ frontcourt. He scored in double figures in just eight of the Trojans’ first 26 games, before scoring 11 or more in five of their final six during the postseason.

A prolonged return to that NCAA tournament form could vault Mobley into first-round consideration a year from now. He’ll have every chance to step into that spotlight as USC tries to build off his improvement.

The upcoming season could hinge on how well he adjusts to that role. USC returns two other starters in Drew Peterson and Isaiah White, and added a transfer point guard in Memphis’ Boogie Ellis.

None is likely capable of cushioning the blow of losing Evan Mobley, who last year became the first in Pac-12 history to win the conference’s player of the year, defensive player of the year and freshman of the year awards. But the return of the now-proven Isaiah Mobley should help keep USC near the top of the conference once again.

latimes.com

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Golden Trojan
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Golden Trojan (@golden-trojan)
July 9, 2021 7:29 am

How about one more, from “The Gold Diggers of 1937”

Well, baby, what I couldn’t do
With plenty of money and you
In spite of the worry that money brings
Just a little filthy looker buys a lot of things
And I could take you to places that you would like to go
But outside of that, I’ve no use for dough
It’s the root of all evil
Of strife and upheaval
But I’m certain, honey, that life would be sunny
With plenty of money and you

LawyerJohn
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LawyerJohn (@lawyerjohn)
July 8, 2021 8:04 pm

“Money can’t buy me (you) Love” “Money for nothin, chicks for free” Another great song about money is Barrett Strong’s “Money,” which seems to be most American men’s mantra or whatever: The best things in life are free But you can keep ’em for the birds and bees Now give me money– that’s what I want Yeah, that’s what I want Your loving give me a thrill, but your loving don’t pay my bills Now give me money That’s what I want Money don’t get everything it’s true What it don’t get I can’t use Well, now give me money… Read more »

Golden Trojan
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Golden Trojan (@golden-trojan)
July 8, 2021 10:05 pm
Reply to  LawyerJohn

😂$$$$$$$$$😎

San Diego Trojan
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San Diego Trojan (@san-diego-trojan)
July 8, 2021 7:59 pm

The first big shot fired in the NIL sweepstakes has been fired by a Miami Hurricane booster who says he will sign every new football recruit to a $500 a month endorsement contract for his and other businesses in the Miami area, going forward. Say goodbye to any parity or a semi-even playing field from now on, as the schools with the wealthiest and willing boosters will be able to legally try to outbid each other. Even though it went on behind the scenes in previous decades, it’s still sad to see. How is any oversight, including what’s left of… Read more »

San Diego Trojan
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San Diego Trojan (@san-diego-trojan)
July 8, 2021 8:59 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I completely agree. I have no feeling how it’s all gonna shake out, and not going to be shocked if it goes south. Expect the unexpected, I guess. My opinion is that if schools would have included a stipend of something like a $100 a week included in each scholarship, there might not have been a player revolt, and this could have been avoided. Now the Pandora’s box is blown wide open.

San Diego Trojan
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San Diego Trojan (@san-diego-trojan)
July 8, 2021 9:19 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

We are in a good position with the new system, as long as Folt realizes that this is the landscape going forward, and not get in the way of our wealthy alumni, who have been begging to contribute to change in the football program. We have so many advantages to excel in this new atmosphere. Sports and entertainment capital, Hollywood, business networking, etc.

Steveg
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Steveg (@steveg)
July 9, 2021 4:03 pm

If you look at the schools with rabid boosters, like Nebraska, Texas, Alabama, LSU, Michigan, and Ohio State, USC could have a tougher time putting up competing financial packages against these schools. It is now pay for play and the boosters who have been restrained for decades are now cut loose to spend spend spend. Does USC have that kind of support? Will Hollywood put players into films, commercials, and tv shows? One thing I noticed is that a player cannot do endorsements with team gear on without having to pay back the school or getting into serious problems. I… Read more »

Golden Trojan
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Golden Trojan (@golden-trojan)
July 9, 2021 5:18 pm
Reply to  Steveg

I see the school, gear supplier (Nike) and player making a deal on use. If all sides are agreeable the skies the limit. The player would have much more value in team gear.

Steveg
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Mt Rushmore
Steveg (@steveg)
July 10, 2021 3:46 pm
Reply to  Golden Trojan

Can you imagine how much money Johnny Manziel would have made off of this?

Golden Trojan
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Golden Trojan (@golden-trojan)
July 8, 2021 4:20 pm

I’m no judge of basketball talent. Evan Mobley certainly can play but he just looks to young and skinny to race off to the NBA. Maybe he’s not much academically to stay another year? Maybe it’s more about cashing in as a pro than having a great pro career? Will he be able to mature physically without getting injured in the NBA?

Golden Trojan
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Golden Trojan (@golden-trojan)
July 8, 2021 5:50 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

We all want security and financial security is the best in the USA. You can buy the rest. Except….”Can’t Buy Me Lu…Uv, Can’t Buy Me Lu…Uv! I Don’t Care Too Much for Money…Money Can’t Buy Me Luv”

PN4SC
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PN4SC (@pn4sc)
July 8, 2021 7:13 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Love Mark Knopfler, especially his collaborations with Emmylou Harris.

Terrific Tommy
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Terrific Tommy (@terrific-tommy)
July 8, 2021 11:19 am

Well, baring injury, he just increased his NBA value and made a smart move towards his future. His next season should be impressive, based on what I saw last season during USC’s run in the tournament.

I have to wonder what that does for Andy. Come on MB, do the right thing for an AD. 😎

Golden Trojan
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Golden Trojan (@golden-trojan)
July 8, 2021 4:15 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Enfield’s contract was extended in 2017 and currently runs till 2023. If I’m Bohn I want to see another solid season before I open the check book!

Steveg
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Mt Rushmore
Steveg (@steveg)
July 8, 2021 6:02 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Hard to say how good USC will be next year. Mobley coming back will help but Enfield lost a lot of talent, and Evan is for sure not going to be replaced. I look for Enfield to have another mediocre season and not worthy of an extension. What I hate about college basketball is the one and done. It has really hurt the college level sport. Now with NIL in the works it seems it is even more just about the money. The rich will get richer.