Evan Mobley Celebrates 18th Birthday and a Spot on USA U19 World Cup Team in One Week
Even a thousand miles away from home, Evan Mobley wasn’t too far from his family as he celebrated his 18th birthday this week.
Not only did he get public shoutouts from mom Nichol and dad Eric on Twitter, Evan spent time on the phone with his parents as well as his brother Isaiah. All this while practicing with USA Basketball in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and ultimately earning a spot on the USA Men’s U19 World Cup Team that will travel to Heraklion, Greece, for the FIBA U19 World Cup from June 29 to July 7.
The 6-foot-11, 190-pound center out of Rancho Christian School in Temecula, California, is used to spending his birthday away from home as he has developed into the country’s top-ranked player in the Class of 2020. June is a busy travel month.
“I’m usually not home anyways, so I’m kind of used to it,” said Mobley, who said his family was a little extra excited this time, because he turned 18.
His current basketball family joined in the festivities. After Monday’s practice, Mobley said the team sang to him before devouring some birthday cupcakes.
Family has been Mobley’s rock. Eric played collegiately at the University of Portland and Cal Poly Pomona before playing as a pro internationally. Isaiah, a year older and two inches shorter, has been there nearly every step with Evan, setting the pace for little brother to follow. Nichol also played hoops as a teen.
Having that tight of a relationship with his brother is special for Mobley.
“We’re very tight,” he said. “While I was out here, he called me a few times already. When we’re home, we always travel together, go everywhere together, spend all our time together.”
Because of their height, they attract attention wherever they go, often getting approached by people they don’t know asking questions of the brothers.
“We’re both pretty big-time players, so when we walk around, people always ask how tall we are even if they don’t know who we are,” Mobley said.
Eric started an AAU program called Triple Threat and coached the brothers as they blossomed into stars. He became an assistant coach at the University of Southern California in March 2018 and Isaiah later committed to play for the Trojans.
“He’s been very instrumental,” Mobley said of his father’s role in his development. “He’s coached us growing up, when we were very young. He taught us all the things we know now. Now he’s a USC coach, so he’s learning from the USC coaches over there, teaching us when he can. He’s just a great father.”
Mobley is starting to carve out his own legacy. He averaged 19.2 points, 10.4 rebounds, 4.7 blocks and 3.3 assists per game as a junior en route to being named the Gatorade California Player of the Year. He could be the second to repeat in California since the award started in the 1985-86 season (Jrue Holiday did it in the 2006-07 and ’07-08 seasons).
Part of that legacy will be with USA Basketball. After winning a gold medal at the 2018 FIBA U17 World Cup in Argentina, Mobley was officially named on Thursday to a 12-player U19 World Cup roster that includes five collegians and five of the top eight high school players, according to 247Sports.com.
“It’s been good,” Mobley said of training camp. “It’s a great experience. There’s a lot of good players out here. It forces you to be very competitive and play your hardest every single play. It’s very fun to play with these great players. It forces you to be smarter, faster and stronger.”
Mobley said he really enjoys when he is on the floor with fellow rising seniors Cade Cunningham, Scottie Barnes, Jalen Green and Jalen Suggs. The level of competition has helped bring out a new level of precision in Mobley’s game.
“There’s a lot of older guys, so you have to play a little different,” Mobley said. “There’s also college coaches, so you have to do as the coaches say exactly and as perfect as you can.”
This summer, Mobley is working on getting stronger and developing more consistency and range in his shot.
“Playing with USA Basketball helps, because they have a FIBA (3-point) line, which is further than the high school 3-point line,” Mobley said. “So, that has helped. It’s pretty consistent right now.”
So while he is perfecting his craft and dealing with recruiters while thinking about the NBA, Mobley is still just a freshly minted 18-year-old heading for Greece with friends.
“I just want to have a fun time, a good experience out there, experience a different culture and also win a gold,” he said. “That’s the main goal.”