St. Bonaventure’s basketball season ended March 15, and since then, former St. Peter-Marian and Worcester Academy star Matt Mobley has been on a constant fast break as he pursues his NBA dream.
Soon after the Bonnies fell to Florida in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, Mobley, who graduated from St. Bonaventure with a degree in marketing in December, headed to Las Vegas to train for two months at Impact Basketball.
Pre-draft workouts with the Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets, Los Angeles Lakers, Utah Jazz, Sacramento Kings and Philadelphia 76ers took him around the country.
He finally got home to Worcester — “That’s my city!” Mobley said — last week, but the visit was brief. On Wednesday, nearly a week after going undrafted in the NBA draft, the 6-foot-3, 185-pound guard headed to Utah after signing a summer league contract with the Jazz.
Mobley starred for two seasons in St. Bonaventure’s backcourt and was a first-team All-Atlantic 10 selection as a senior, logging 1,277 minutes while averaging 18.1 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game.
He said he is hoping his performance with the Jazz this summer will earn him a shot in an NBA training camp.
“It means a lot and I’m real thankful to Utah for giving me the opportunity to play in the summer league,” Mobley said. “I worked out for them in May and it was a real good workout. I got all good feedback. I’m real excited for this opportunity.”
Utah’s summer league is a six-game, four-team (Jazz, Hawks, Spurs and Grizzlies) event that opens Monday and concludes Thursday. After that, Mobley will go with his team to the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.
“I hope to show I can play at the NBA level,” Mobley said. “I’ve been working on playing the point guard. In college, I was always the 2 (guard), so I’m trying to showcase I can play the 1 or the 2, that I can defend the 1 or the 2.
“My reputation in college was shooter/scorer, and I’m just trying to show I can do more than just shoot and score, that I can play defense, facilitate, rebound, do everything it takes to win.”
In his senior campaign, Mobley set a St. Bonaventure single-season record with 105 made 3-pointers. He set an A10 tournament record with nine 3s in a win over Richmond. Mobley and backcourt teammate, Jaylen Adams, who signed a two-way contract with the Atlanta Hawks, helped lead the Bonnies to a 26-8 record.
At SPM, Mobley was a prolific scorer and the 2012 T&G Hometeam Player of the Year. During his postgraduate year at Worcester Academy, Mobley played with and against top New England talent. He played some point guard for the Hilltoppers.
He began his college career at Central Connecticut State, where he earned second-team All-Northeast Conference honors as a sophomore.
It was before and during that season, when Mobley averaged 17.2 points (up from 6.8 ppg as a freshman), that his NBA ambitions came into focus.
“I put forth my best summer,” Mobley said. “It was the hardest I worked. I did extra work in the gym and when I got to school my sophomore year I stayed in the gym. It really paid off. I made a big jump and that’s when I realized if I work hard anything is possible. So I really put it in my head then that I would be able to play in the NBA.”
Seeking higher competition and more exposure, Mobley transferred to St. Bonaventure after his sophomore year. Per NCAA rules, he had to sit out the 2015-16 season, but the next year he made an immediate impact for the Bonnies, as he finished fourth in the A10 in scoring (18.5 ppg) while leading all Division 1 players in minutes per game (38.3).
“I had great teammates and I played for a great coach (Mark Schmidt),” Mobley said. “He has so much knowledge of the game and he taught me a lot of things. I gained a lot of experience playing in the A10, which is one of the best conferences in the country. Night in and night out, you have to bring your ‘A’ game; there are no days off in that conference.
“I gained a lot of exposure as well. We had a lot of nationally-televised games this past year. It was a great experience.”
Mobley gained more experience during his six NBA workouts.
“I played against a lot of good competition,” he said, “a couple of guys that were lottery picks. So I’ve been learning the game from different perspectives. The coaches from my workouts told me different things to work on – my body, the pick and roll game. I just gained a lot of experience, a lot of knowledge and I’m ready to take that forward.”
During his brief time at home, Mobley visited with his former SPM coach, Marcus Watson, for a few hours on the day of the NBA draft. He caught up with friends and enjoyed being with his family.
“This is the first time anyone in my family has done this, going through this whole process, so they’re all intrigued,” Mobley said. “They’re asking me a bunch of questions. They’re all excited and I’m excited, too, because this is my dream and the dream is still alive for now through the summer league. Everybody is excited and I’m just trying to make my family proud out there.”
Once the summer league games are over, Mobley will see what happens next.
“I’m a free agent and any team can talk to me or sign me,” Mobley said. “I’m hoping I play well in summer league and hopefully I’m able to get a training camp invite or sign a 10-day or two-way contract. I’m just looking for any type of NBA contract after summer league.
“This whole process has been real exciting and fun,” Mobley said, “and I don’t want it to stop now.”
—Contact Jennifer Toland at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @JenTandG.