Somehow, his freshman season still managed to outpace those lofty projections. No player in the Pac-12 was more dominant during this strange pandemic season than Mobley, who was selected the conference’s player of the year, freshman of the year, and defensive player of the year on Tuesday.
Mobley is the fourth Trojan to be named the conference’s player of the year and the first since Sam Clancy in 2002. But neither Clancy, nor Harold Miner (1992) nor Wayne Carlander (1985) pulled off a sweep of the Pac-12 hoops awards. The only player from a major conference to match Mobley in that regard is former Kentucky standout and current Lakers star Anthony Davis, who won all three Southeastern Conference awards in 2012.
Mobley is the second Pac-12 player to win the conference’s player of the year award while also being named its best defensive player. The other freshmen to win the Pac-12’s top honor are California’s Shareef Abdur-Rahim (1996), UCLA’s Kevin Love (2008) and Arizona’s DeAndre Ayton (2018).
Mobley was the centerpiece of a season for USC that exceeded the most ambitious of expectations, as Andy Enfield, in his eighth and most impressive season, led the Trojans to the doorstep of their first Pac-12 title since 1985. They may not have finished the job, faltering over the season’s final road trip to the Rockies, but USC’s 21 wins this season led all Pac-12 teams. USC went 15-5 in the conference, finishing second to Oregon (14-4) by percentage points.
It was a banner season amid difficult circumstances for Enfield, who was honored as the Pac-12’s coach of the year. Enfield is the first USC coach to earn the conference’s top honors since George Raveling in 1992. Bob Boyd (1979) and Stan Morrison (1985) also won the award.
None of those three had to rebuild their team on the fly like Enfield did this season. The Trojans had only three players with experience returning, so he built much of the roster through the portal, adding three of USC’s five starters and four of its top six scorers by way of transfers.
“If you would’ve asked us, would you take 21-6, 15-5 in our league, I would have said sign us up now,” Enfield said Saturday after USC beat UCLA 64-63 on a last-second three-pointer by Tahj Eaddy, one of the transfers.
Eaddy was chosen to the All-Pac-12 second team after being thrust into a leading role in the offense. Eaddy responded by averaging 13.1 points and making 39% of his three-pointers, the best rate on the team.
It helped to have a future top draft pick to build around, and Mobley didn’t waste any time in dominating this season.
He scored 21 points in his debut and never looked back. He won the freshman of the week award seven times, while no one else won more than two. He had 10 double-doubles, the most in the Pac-12. He led the conference in rebounds per game (8.6) and blocks per game (2.9), while finishing seventh in scoring (16.1 points). But Mobley’s total impact, especially on the defensive end, was difficult to quantify.
Mobley proved to be a terror in the paint, blocking 77 shots, more than all but two players in college basketball. And it was from that prowess that USC built its best defense in recent memory, holding opponents to 39% shooting over the course of the season, 12th-best in college basketball.
It was a memorable season from Mobley, who will most assuredly leave USC after the NCAA tournament to declare for the NBA draft. He’s expected to be a top-three pick.
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Man it is painfull having to sit through a game and have to listen to Bill Walton.
Only 5-guys are needed to form a basketball team….
22-guys are required for football, with a need for reserves….
1-guy in football usually does not make a big impact unless a quarterback or a freak player like SC’s 2021 All-American ‘backer….
But 1-guy in basketball is on average 20% of the team, and a star can bring more of an advantage than that. It’s great to get a star when you can, but to win a championship basketball normally requires at least 3 excellent players.
NFL Draft stuff — Matt Williamson thinks USC’s Alijah Vera-Tucker is a very strong possibility for the Pittsburgh Steelers (#24). The Steelers, who didn’t have a first-round pick last year after they used it to trade for S Minkah Fitzpatrick, have used their past seven first-round picks on defensive players, including five LBs. Williamson on Vera-Tucker, USC (6-4, 315) – “What really stands out about Vera-Tucker is his light and quick feet, which could give him an excellent opportunity to play tackle in the NFL. But as a guard, Vera-Tucker could really shine in a heavy zone-blocking run scheme where he could… Read more »
Yes Allen, but if I’m not mistaken, it wasn’t like that with Tim Davis linemen and prior to that during the McKay years.
Ahhh, the good old days, when USC could have just as easily been called Lineman U as Tailback U. ✌
I read Kedin Slovis will be throwing passes to USC receivers during pro day. Hope he is on target.
So we will be facing Utah next …….Gotta do better than we did back on February 27th …..Utah beat us 71-61 ( And that game was hard to watch as a SC fan )……..But as always FIGHT ON !!!!!
It all depends on which USC shows up (as usual with so many teams in basketball it seems).
Back on Jan. 2, USC beat UTAH bad 64-46, at Galen.
MAR 11 (THU) 5:30 PM PT, USC vs UTAH
LAS VEGAS, NEV.
TV: PAC-12 NETWORKS RADIO: 790 KABC
USC is going to need better teamwork on D in 2021 to be successful:
The Athletic — “Talanoa Hufanga is gone, and it’s going to be impossible to replace everything he brought to this defense with just one player.”
B/R — “Although Jim Harbaugh has never beaten OHIO ST or even won a Big Ten East division crown—let alone a conference championship—in six years as MICH’s HC, AD Warde Manuel is not giving him a win ultimatum for the 2021 season.”
It sounds like Clay Helton would do well with Ann Arbor’s low expectations.
“MICH signed Harbaugh to a contract extension in Jan that reduced his base salary from more than $8 mil in 2020 to $4 mil in 2021. However, it also features up to $3.475 mil in bonuses each season and runs through 2025.”
Allen — it would appear that Clay’s got the same thing going for him at USC. Amazing when you think about it — 2 of the more storied football programs in America with the same scenario. 🙁
Right On. Fight on. Geeez. Give me a break. ✌ I wonder how Harbaugh would have done at USC? I still can’t understand why he couldn’t put it together with the Wolverines. I think the OHIO ST losses got into his tormented head somehow. I am really surprised about Harbaugh though, and thought he and his $8 mil K would do significantly better at MICH than he has. Oh, wait. He spawned Tim Drevno (who has a real rep as a backstabber in college football — and was “always rolling over on guys in his quest to endear himself to… Read more »
At least Drevno got a job. I think Clancy and his choice of DB coach (Ronnie Bradford) are, I think, still out of football. Tee Martin has to go pro as position coach. The 2017-2018 SC staff had to be the worst in SC history.
I’d sure as heck much rather be an NFL position coach (they make very good money as you know) than some newbie quality control lackey in Westweird.
It is really cool to see this and he really deserves the honor because he brought a lot to the team. I’m only sad that he will jump to the NBA so quickly (assumed) but who could blame him? Maybe we get lucky and see him on an LA team.