“Meet the Mobleys” is a five-part series about Isaiah, Evan and Eric Mobley’s relationship and impact on USC basketball.
If Evan Mobley wasn’t 7 feet tall, he’d easily blend into any room.
He’s a man of few words. In contrast to his older brother, Evan isn’t boisterous or Hollywood. He’s a bit more mellow, more even-keeled. Don’t allow his reservation to fool you, however, as Evan has grown into one of the most respected and feared young ballers in the world.
One of the most sought-after players in the 2020 class, his lengthy frame, remarkable athleticism and uncanny court awareness culminate into a high-IQ, rim-protecting, lob-finishing, floor-stretching force of nature with a dash of guard skills thrown in for good measure.
Ray Barefield, his high school coach, noted, “Typically you just don’t get a 7-footer that has some of the dynamic movements of a 6-foot point guard,” Barefield said. “He’s very skilled.”
Evan wasn’t always the star prospect that he is today. He was a relatively late bloomer, hesitant on the idea of even playing basketball up until eighth grade. Once he fully committed himself to the game, though, his rapid growth — both in height and ability — was phenomenal.
To describe Evan’s prodigious rise, Barefield drew an interesting comparison.
“If you watch Amadeus, Mozart was self-taught and things came very easy to him... and things come very easy to [Evan],” he said. “There were things that I showed him that the progression rate for most people at his height would have taken much longer.”
Players with Evan’s level of talent are few and far between. Players with Evan’s talent and mindset, however, are even fewer and further.
In the interview for this story, Evan spoke sparingly, allowing his father and brother to take the lead in answering most of the questions. When he did speak, however, his words carried weight.
This has always been the case, even back when Enfield was first recruiting Evan to USC.
“Evan was quieter but very, very sharp,” Enfield observed. “You can tell when you talk to Evan that he was a man of few words when he was younger, but he was very cerebral and you could see him listening to everything and taking it in.”
Given Evan’s personality, it made sense for Isaiah to serve as the voice for both brothers growing up. After all, he was the older of the two, he had the outgoing personality and for the longest time, he was clearly the better talent.
However, in four years, Evan Mobley went from Isaiah’s skinny little brother to two-time California Gatorade Player of the Year. Accompanying his meteoric ascension was the necessity for personal development, particularly during his senior year at Rancho Christian. With Isaiah playing at USC, there was nobody for Evan to defer to. He was unequivocally considered “the guy.”
The time for stepping back had ended. It was time for Evan Mobley to step up, not just as a basketball player, but also as a leader. And step up he did.
“He finally got a chance to be Evan,” said Compton Magic director Etop Udo-Ema. “Isaiah has always spoken for both of them. This was the first year that they were separate, and it was a good year for Evan. He got to find himself, and who he is outside of his brother … and now Evan’s got his own voice”
And he’s bringing that voice, along with his immense basketball talent, to USC.