Gharib: USC’s Mobley Era Short and Sweet

Isaiah and Evan Mobley brought Trojan basketball back to national relevance

Posted on April 21, 2021

Anthony Gharib
  By Anthony Gharib, SportsPac12

One of the most common phrases I’ve heard is a simple one—short and sweet. It’s to the point, clear in the meaning and hard to not understand.

And if there was a way to describe the tenure of the Mobley brothers at USC it’s “short and sweet.”

The addition of both Mobley’s in a one-year span was a huge win for the Trojans in all levels. They get local five-star talent and a top NBA prospect, bringing shine to a school known for creating football stars, not basketball standouts.

Evan & Isaiah Mobley | Icon Sportswire / Getty

Isaiah and Evan Mobley did exactly what any fan of Trojan basketball would have wanted. In Isaiah’s two seasons and Evan’s one, they brought USC back into national college basketball relevancy.

Even if Isaiah wasn’t an enormous contributor in his first season, he evolved into a big piece of a Trojan team that caught fire with March Madness approaching. And in his sophomore season, his performances skyrocketed.

I. Mobley

Isaiah became a consistent scorer and a huge anchor in the defense, all while dominating the boards practically every game. It was a glimpse of what he did in the NCAA Tournament, when he scored in double figures in each matchup.

His outstanding showing in March Madness rightfully earned him a spot in the All-West region team. The evolution of his skills over the season was beautiful to watch. However, I truly did not think he would declare for the draft afterwards.

Nonetheless, I completely understand his decision.

Retaining the option to keep his eligibility if undrafted is a smart choice. A part of me was intrigued by the prospect of seeing Isaiah’s game evolve over three or four years into a complete beast in the Pac-12, but you really can’t blame him for declaring.

Who wouldn’t do the same, if given the opportunity to be drafted in the same draft class as a sibling? It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity—and what a moment for the Mobley family if it plays out.

E. Mobley

Evan, on the other hand, was one-and-done the second he took his USC photoshoot.

He was as outstanding as advertised with a unique amalgamation of size and speed for a 7-footer. He dominated games when it mattered most, and seemed to make a special play in every contest.

What a pleasure it was to watch him put in the work while wearing the Cardinal and Gold.

Evan’s decision really came as no surprise. The dude has out-of-this-world talent and the potential to be an NBA All-Star. Staying an extra year to take more general education courses would have been a huge mistake.

Nonetheless, seeing the Mobley brothers declaring for the draft was bittersweet.

Their combination on the court was as smooth as PB&J, with Isaiah acting as the Yin to Evan’s Yang. Isaiah was the loud kid on the playground giving you the work, while Evan gave you nonchalant buckets and emphatic blocks.

Mobley brotherss | Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports

They could take turns taking over games and willing the Trojans to victory. The Brothers were dominant and by far the most dominant pairing in all of college basketball.

It was entertaining to watch teams run zones against the towering Mobley brothers—it meant lobs over their heads, and obnoxious yelling from Isaiah in an empty arena.

usc logoBut most importantly, Isaiah and Evan brought back a winning culture to USC basketball by leading them to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2001.

I’ll truly miss watching them lace up on the floor together, but I’m sure I can speak for most of the Trojan family in saying that they made watching USC basketball fun again.




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