On the final day for prospects to remove their names from the NBA draft and return to college, Isaiah Mobley announced he will head back to USC for at least another season.
While his younger brother Evan Mobley is projected as one of the top picks in the draft, Isaiah was more of a fringe prospect, but he had created some momentum for himself with an impressive postseason during the Trojans’ run to the Elite Eight as well as strong buzz from his NBA draft combine performance.
Now he will look to further all of that with hopes of a big junior season back at USC.
Overall last season, Mobley averaged 9.9 points and 7.3 rebounds for USC, but he was a different player down the stretch.
He averaged 16 points and 6.5 rebounds over four NCAA tournament games while shooting 61 percent from the field during that stretch. And dating back to the start of the Pac-12 tournament, Mobley went 10-of-15 from 3-point range while showing off an area of his game that he hadn’t emphasized all season (he was just 7-of-24 from 3 in the previous 26 games).
He’s still a developing prospect who was just starting to find his confidence and consistency during that late-season run, but he decided he wanted to test the NBA draft waters nonetheless and his strong performance at the NBA draft combine last month fueled a little more suspense as to whether he’d stay in the draft or return to school.
His return is a major boost to a USC team that is losing its top two scorers in Evan Mobley and Tahj Eaddy.
Isaiah Mobley could now become an offensive focal point for a rotation that will be rebuilt around him, veteran guards Drew Peterson and Isaiah White, Memphis guard transfer Boogie Ellis, third-year point guard Ethan Anderson, forwards Chevez Goodwin and Max Agbonkpolo and a group of young, unproven first and second-year players.