Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Brandon Mobley, a 6-foot-9, 215-pound combo forward originally from Savannah, Ga., has verbally committed to Seton Hall.
Mobley chose the Pirates over DePaul, Auburn and Memphis.
“It was a very hard decision but at the end of the day I had called my pastor and prayed with him,” Mobley said by phone. “He told me to follow my heart and at the end of the day that’s where my heart was.”
Mobley is the sixth commit for head coach Kevin Willard in the Class of 2011, following guards Aaron Cosby, Haralds Karlis, Freddie Wilson and Sean Grennan and 6-11 big man Isaiah Hill.
Mobley, now a postgrad at St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy in Delafield, Wisc., said he liked the relatively small size of Seton Hall and the fact that it’s in the Big East.
“It was in the Big East,” he said. “The school only has 5,000 kids so it’s not a very large class size. There’s good student-to-teacher contact.
“As far as them playing in the Big East at the Prudential Center and me being from the South and having New York right there, it’s kind of like the best of both words. You can take a non-stop from Newark to Savannah.”
Mobley, 20, averaged 20 points, eight rebounds and three blocks last season and said he can play the three and four.
“They’re looking for me to come in there and be a creator and take on mismatches,” he said. “If I got a smaller three, take him to the post. If I have a bigger guy, step out and shoot the ball, take him off the dribble.
“I can use my athleticism to create plays.”
Bryan Clayton, an assistant coach at St. John’s Military, said Seton Hall was getting a “steal.”
“He’s a wonderful face-up four, big-time, big-time scorer from the four spot,” Clayton said. “He can shoot the ball with range out past the three.
“They’re getting a steal. They talk about most guys in the late signing period being somebody who signs because of necessity. That’s the not case with this kid. He’s definitely a high-major player and I think this is a great fit for him.
“He hit some big shots. He finished with 31 in one game and hit a 3 to send it to overtime. He’s fearless. He takes big shots, he makes big shots. Dan McHale did a helluva job recruiting him.”
Clayton said Mobley has matured greatly during his postgrad season.
“He had to get way from home,” he said. “He needed to mature, work on his academics. He’s done that. I think he’s going to do very well at Seton Hall.”
GROOMS SIGNS WITH OKLAHOMALon Kruger signed his first recruit today as Oklahoma’s head men’s basketball coach, inking junior college point guard Sam Grooms to a national letter of intent.
The 6-1, 200-pound Grooms, who is originally from Greensboro, N.C., started 50 games the last two seasons at Chipola College in Marianna, Fla. One of the highest-rated junior college point guards in the country, Grooms averaged 11 points and five assists this year while earning first-team All-Panhandle Conference honors for the 25-6 league champion Indians. Chipola advanced to the NJCAA Region VIII title game.
“Sam’s a terrific young guy who very badly wants to be here at OU,” said Kruger. “He’s a throwback type of point guard in that he looks to pass first. He can score enough to keep defenses honest, but he’s really into making his teammates better.
“Defensively, he’s very good on the ball, applying pressure and setting the tone out front. Defense is always important from the point guard and Sam takes a lot of pride in taking on really good opposing players. He’s very strong and has a naturally strong frame.”
National junior college recruiting analyst Mike Mitchell of Midwest Scouting Service said he ranks Grooms among the top three point guards in the country this season.
“He’s strong and athletic, a very good player,” said Mitchell of Grooms. “Chipola is a high-end national junior college program and they recruit high-end national players. I can’t imagine any legitimate national recruiting service that wouldn’t have Sam as one of the best two or three point guards in the country. He’s a true point guard who runs the team. He’s a very good ball handler, a good shooter. He’s a pass-first, shoot-second guy, but don’t visualize him as a guy who can’t score. He’s a well-rounded player. As late as it is, he’s a really good get for Oklahoma.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.