Assessing the Mobley Brothers and Bennedict Mathurin
January 10th, 2021
By Alan Lu
Evan Mobley and USC squared off against Arizona in a competitive, Pac-12 conference basketball game that was played on January 7th. I decided to take the time to watch Mobley play once again, as it was another opportunity to see him play, as he is projected to be a top 5 pick for the 2021 draft, and it also served as an opportunity to watch Arizona play this year. Even though Arizona didn’t seem to be nearly as strong of a team nor has as many elite prospects as they have had in previous seasons, they still have a strong track record as a school, so I wanted to get a chance to watch them play this season. Here are my thoughts on how Mobley and other various prospects fared, as well as how their games may stack up as prospects for the NBA.
Evan Mobley had a solid showing in his team’s double-digit win over Arizona. He primarily excelled as a interior player due to his ability to score and defend in the post, and he played well on both ends of the court, as he was able to score 19 points, and collect 11 rebounds to help his team get the victory.
Mobley showed a solid ability to score in the post. He would tend to score on drop step moves and quick jump hooks, and he showed off solid footwork and scoring touch to do so. He has subtle dribble moves that he can use to get past defenders, and he also can draw fouls upon them to get to the free throw line. Plus, he also can throw down powerful two-handed dunks to finish plays around the basket.
He also excelled at scoring off the dribble, as he was able to spin left to score on a turnaround jump hook while getting fouled simultaneously. He also pulled up and elevated to make a floater from the mid-range. Sometimes he would struggle to score on turnaround jumpers or floaters, as he would take some tough shots that would lead to misses, especially when he wouldn’t be able to get foul calls. He also excelled at scoring on hustle plays. Mobley was able to run in to score on an athletic, tip slam after leaping up to grab an offensive rebound.
Also, Mobley displayed satisfactory playmaking skills. He is an unselfish player that can pass off the dribble as well as out of the post, and he will look to find the open man to set up plenty of scoring chances for his teammates. He also set a solid, firm off-ball screen to help a teammate score on a backdoor cut. In addition, Mobley did not commit a single turnover on offense.
Plus, Mobley did a very good job of rebounding the basketball. He would often leap up to crash the glass to get boards on both ends of the floor, and he especially excelled at getting defensive boards for his team.
Defensively, he looked to be fairly average. He is an active, rangy defender that can cover plenty of ground. Mobley was able to block a shot off of a drive to himself due to possessing good length, timing, and instincts, and he did a good job of not biting on the ball fake that time. He also would jump passes to get steals, and he even managed to break up a lob pass due to possessing very good length and quickness. He also would actively contest shots out on the perimeter as well as in the post to force plenty of misses.
Sometimes though, he would get outmuscled when defending in the post, which would cause him to allow easy catches and scores down low. Other times, he would bite on pump fakes and miss on steal attempts, which would lead him to be out of position when defending his man in the post or off the dribble. He also would sometimes sag too far off of shooters to allow them to score on three-point shots. Other times, he would be unfocused, as he would not always hustle back on defense or pressure passers enough, which would lead his team to allow opponents to score around the basket.
In general, Evan Mobley is an athletic, skilled big man that plays with a solid motor when he is on the court. He especially excelled as a low post scorer in this game, and he would effortlessly get scores in the paint to help his team. He will need to continue to work on his outside shot and also work to be a more focused defender in games. Right now, he is a very talented prospect that will likely go in the top 5 of the 2021 draft, and he could end up being a solid starter in the NBA.
USC’s 6-10 sophomore big man, Isaiah Mobley also had a decent showing in his team’s win over Arizona. He showed off versatile scoring skills, passed and handled the ball well, but he also fouled out in just 14 minutes of play in this game.
Mobley excelled at scoring on aggressive drives to the hoop. He can use either hand to finish plays around the basket, and he would glide in to score on smooth layups off the dribble. He also did a decent job of knocking down jumpers to provide floor space for his team, and he was able to make an open, spot-up three on the break.
He also displayed solid playmaking skills. Mobley can pass off the dribble as well as out of the post, and he did a good job of kicking balls out to shooters to set up scores for them. He also showed some handles after grabbing defensive rebounds, and he also set a good on-ball screen to help his teammate get an open shot to score on a mid-range jumper later on.
He also was able to leap up to get several defensive boards, and sometimes he would bring the ball up the floor after wards. However, Mobley tended to commit fouls when going for defensive boards, as he would be called for hooking and holding his opponents on the arm. There was another play where he didn’t box out his man, which led him to foul an opponent on a put back attempt.
On the other hand, he will need to improve his defense. On one good play, he caught a lob pass that his teammate deflected towards him to help his team get a steal. However, he would be too aggressive in contesting shots, which would lead him to commit fouls. On another play, he was too late to get back, as he allowed his man to score on a dunk off of a backdoor cut. On a separate possession, he sagged too far off of a shooter, and ended up allowing his man to score on a mid-range jumper.
Overall, Isaiah Mobley played fairly well, as he generally shot the ball well, and he handled the ball well, especially for a player his size. He will need to improve his defense and avoid foul trouble to stay in games for longer stretches. Right now, he may be a borderline second round candidate, but his offensive skills could enable him to make it to the NBA as a stretch big in the association.
Arizona’s 6-6 freshman guard, Bennedict Mathurin played well in his team’s loss to USC. He excelled at making plays on both ends of the floor, and he is a very athletic player that showed off versatile scoring skills in this game. Mathurin shot the ball well, as he was able to make a pair of spot-up threes off the catch. He also would run the floor to draw free throws on aggressive drives and in transition, and he did a good job of making them when he was at the foul line.
He also passed the ball well. He is an unselfish player that can throw solid interior passes, and he would look to get the ball to open shooters to set up scoring chances for them. Also, he was able to leap up to get an offensive rebound in this game.
Plus, Mathurin played adequate defense in this game. He was able to drop back to get his hands on a pass to get a steal due to possessing good footwork and instincts. He also managed to fight through a screen to stay with an opposing ball handler, and he excelled at intercepting passes to collect steals. He also was able to contest a shot off of a drive to force a miss. Sometimes, he would struggle to guard opposing ball handlers, which would lead him to commit reach-in fouls. There was another play where he was caught ball watching, as he then got screened and lost track of his man on a cut to allow a score that time.
Overall, Bennedict Mathurin had a solid showing, as he played well off the bench, and he showed that he can do a little bit of everything in his team’s loss to USC. He has played well in his role off the bench this year, and he could be an intriguing prospect to follow, as he could swiftly move up draft boards if he keeps playing well later on in the season.
USC’s 6-7 redshirt freshman forward, Isaiah White had a sterling performance in his team’s win over Arizona. He is an athletic, energetic player that played well on both ends of the court, and he scored 22 points to help his team get the victory.
White showed off versatile scoring skills in this game. He excelled as a scorer in the post, as well as off hustle plays, and he showed a penchant for throwing down powerful, two-handed dunks as well as to score off of backdoor cuts. He also can run off the ball to get open jump shots, and he was able to make a pair of spot-up threes from beyond the arc.
He also displayed adequate playmaking skills. He was able to handle the ball up the court off of a steal, and he also threw an entry pass to notch an assist. On the other hand, he also threw an inaccurate entry pass that ended up out of bounds another time.
He did a decent job of rebounding the basketball, and White was able to get plenty of defensive boards for his team. White also played satisfactory defense. He was able to get his hands on passes to get steals, and he was able to poke a ball away from an opposing ball handler to nearly get another. He also managed to actively contest a three from way out to force a miss. However, sometimes he would struggle to guard quicker opponents off the dribble, and other times he would have trouble guarding stronger opponents off of screens or in the post, which would lead his team to allow scores.
Overall, Isaiah White played very well, as he especially excelled as a shooter and scorer in this game. He will need to continue to improve his outside shot. Right now, he may be a long shot to be drafted by an NBA team in 2021, as he has only put forth rather pedestrian numbers, but his athletic gifts and ability to score combined with having a solid motor could allow him to compete for a roster spot in the NBA next season.
Arizona’s 6-10 Lithuanian, freshman big man, Azuolas Tubelis played very well in his team’s loss to USC. He is a mobile, skilled player that scored 31 points, as he was very efficient as a shooter and scorer on the floor, and he also notched 8 rebounds and 3 assists in this game.
He showed a knack for scoring in the post. Tubelis was able to use a quicker shoulder fake to score on a crafty, turnaround jump hook, and he also scored on an acrobatic reverse layup while getting an additional free throw another time. He showed good footwork and scoring touch down low.
He also excelled at scoring on hustle plays. Tubelis ran the floor to score on an emphatic dunk off of a cut, and he also would tend to score on tip-ins after grabbing offensive rebounds. There was one play though where he missed on a layup off of a roll to the rim.
Tubelis also shot the ball well. He showed a penchant for making spot-up jumpers, as he can make open mid-range shots and threes off the catch to space the floor for his team. He struggled a little more to make mid-range shots consistently, but he made shots very efficiently overall in this match.
He displayed adequate playmaking skills. Tubelis is an unselfish player that can get the ball to his teammates in an assortment of ways, and he has decent court vision, as he can throw solid interior passes to set up scores for his teammates. However, sometimes he may throw hasty passes, as he had a couple of them get intercepted by defenders. On one post-up opportunity, he used a drop step move, but was called for traveling due to having shuffled his feet.
He also did a decent job of rebounding the basketball. Tubelis was able to get plenty of boards on both ends of the floor. However, there was one play where he didn’t block out, which allowed an opponent to score on a tip slam. He will also need to improve defensively. For the positives, he would actively contest shots off of drives and in the post to force misses. Tubelis did a good job of not biting on pump fakes, and he has good strength that enables him to hold his ground down low. He also managed to deflect a pass out of bounds another time. However, he would tend to sag too far off of shooters to allow opponents to score on jumpers, and other times he would over-rotate, which would lead to fouls and scrambling situations.
Overall, Azuolas Tubelis is a skilled big man that had a strong showing in his team’s loss to USC. He doesn’t have much draft stock right now, so he’s not likely to be a one-and-done candidate for the draft. He could be a prospect to watch though, and if he keeps playing well, he could end up being an early entry candidate in a year or so, as he has solid offensive skills. He will need to improve his defense and continue to play well, but he is an intriguing prospect that may have the skills to thrive as a role player in the NBA someday.
USC’s 6-8 junior swingman, Drew Peterson quietly played well in his team’s win over Arizona. He nearly had a triple-double in this game, as he was able to score 7 points, and he also had 10 assists, and 8 rebounds in addition.
Peterson did a decent job of scoring off the dribble in this game. He showed that he can pull up to knock down mid-range jumpers, and he looked to be fairly comfortable in making shots in that range. He also drove up the court to score on an emphatic, two-handed dunk. Another time though, he drove to the hoop, but missed on a contested, fall-away jumper. Though he didn’t take many threes in this game, Peterson was able to make an open, spot-up three off the catch.
Peterson also showcased very good playmaking skills. He is an unselfish player that can run the point or play off the ball, and he would frequently throw good passes off the dribble, as well as find cutters to set up scores for his teammates. He handles the ball well and has solid court vision, and he also can find open teammates out on the break. He only committed one turnover, as he was called for traveling on a drive to the hoop once. He also did a very good job of rebounding the basketball. He would often leap up to grab defensive boards, and he would tend to bring the ball up the court afterwards.
Defensively, he looked to be about average at best. Peterson would run in to catch passes to get steals for his team, and he also rotated to alter a shot off of a drive to get a stop. He also held his ground when defending in the post, and contested the shot to force a miss. However, he would struggle to defend opponents off the dribble, and sometimes he would over-help and leave his man open on the defensive end. Other times, he would commit touch fouls due to over-aggressiveness.
Overall, Peterson played well, as he excelled at making plays throughout this game to help his team get the win over Arizona. He will need to trust his outside shot more and be a more disciplined defender in games, but he could be a prospect to keep an eye on in the future.
Arizona’s 6-11 sophomore center, Jordan Brown had his ups and downs in his team’s loss to USC. He did a fairly good job of scoring in the post, but he struggled defensively in this game. Brown was fairly effective as a scorer in the post in this game. He was able to score on a couple of turnaround jump hooks, and he also used a pump fake to throw down a powerful dunk while getting an additional free throw another time. Plus, Brown was able to score on a roll to the rim. He didn’t take many shots from outside of the paint. He pulled up to take a mid-range shot once, but he ended up missing as a result of having taken a contested, off-balanced jumper that time.
He also displayed adequate playmaking skills. Brown was able to find an open shooter to notch an assist. He also was effective as a screener, as he would then roll hard to the hoop to put himself in scoring situations. Plus, he did not turn the ball over once on offense. Though he did not grab many rebounds in this game, he was able to collect boards on both ends of the floor.
However, he will need to improve his defense. For the positives, Brown would play passing lanes, and he would catch balls and jump upon loose balls to help his team get steals. He also was able to contest a couple of shots in the post to force some misses. In this game though, he struggled to defend in the paint, as he would get outmuscled when defending on drives as well as in the post, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores. Another time, he didn’t effectively communicate an off-ball screen to a teammate, which led his teammate to get screened on a cut to allow a score to an opponent.
Overall, Jordan Brown didn’t have his best game, but it’s good to finally see him get regular playing time on the basketball court for a change. He didn’t see the floor much as a freshman at Nevada years ago despite being a highly touted recruit. Therefore, it’s good to see him get more run on the court. He will need to improve his face-up game, rebounding, and defense, and he will likely need to stay in school to hone his game. If he can continue to make strides as an overall player, he could move up draft boards sometime down the road.
Arizona’s 6-0 junior guard, James Akinjo did not play well at all in his team’s loss to USC. He was held scoreless, as he missed all eight of his field goal attempts, and he could knock make a three-point shot, even when he was left wide open from beyond the arc. He also could not score off the dribble in this game, as he would tend to miss on tough, contested shots.
He displayed decent playmaking skills in this game. Akinjo is a fairly athletic guard that can consistently get into the paint, and he can throw good passes off the dribble, as well as throw solid interior passes to notch assists. He plays low to the ground, and he will keep his dribble alive, and he also seemed to know when to push the pace and when not to. However, he also threw several weak passes that got intercepted, and there were times where it seemed as if he would telegraph his passes, as opponents would get the early jump on his passes.
Though he didn’t grab many rebounds, Akinjo was able to get a defensive board in this game. He will need to improve defensively. For the positives, Akinjo is an active defender that will help his team force turnovers. He would play passing lanes, and he would get his hands on passes to help his team get steals. He also managed to contest a three-point shot to force a miss. However, he had trouble defending opponents off the dribble and in the post, as his lack of size or elite physical tools would make it difficult for him to defend on the court. There was another play where he would over-help in the paint, as he was late to rotate back, which caused him to allow an opponent to score on a corner three.
Overall, James Akinjo did not play well in his team’s loss to USC, and he has not been shooting the ball very well this season. It seems that he may be a bit over-extended as the team’s point guard for Arizona, as he’s had to play so many minutes, but his persistent shooting woes have really hindered his shooting efficiency over the years. He does move the ball well, which is a plus. Right now, he will need to improve his shooting and defense, but if he can do so, that could help him increase his odds to make it to and succeed in the NBA in the long run.
Congratulations to Charlotte Hornets’ rookie guard, LaMelo Ball for being the youngest player ever in the NBA to record a triple-double! He scored 22 points, and he also had 12 rebounds, and 11 assists in his team’s win over the Atlanta Hawks yesterday.
Also, Philadelphia 76ers’ rookie guard, Tyrese Maxey scored an impressive 39 points in his team’s loss to the Denver Nuggets yesterday. Sure, his team was vastly short-handed as they only had 7 healthy players and Mike Scott, who suited up but didn’t play, but it’s still an impressive feat, nonetheless.
Also, congratulations to Joel Ayayi for recording Gonzaga’s first triple-double in school history, as he did it yesterday in his team’s win over Portland. He had 12 points, 14 assists, and 13 rebounds to help his team get the victory.
Much props to Auburn’s freshman point guard, Sharife Cooper for finally getting cleared to play, and that he also scored 26 points in his season debut against Alabama yesterday. He is a speedy playmaker that can really score the basketball, and though his team lost a close one, Cooper is a solid prospect, and he currently projects to go in the late first to the second round range for the 2021 draft, and he may also see his draft stock go up and elevate even more if he keeps playing well this season.
Providence’s 6-5 junior guard, Dave Duke scored 30 points and made 7 three-pointers in a close loss to Xavier today. He’s a skilled combo guard that can shoot and score the basketball, and he’s been rising up draft boards lately. Like Cooper, his draft range is in the late first to the second round for the 2021 draft right now, and he may see his draft stock also go up if he keeps playing well this year.