By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio
The St. Bonaventure coaching staff looked to the future on Tuesday when they got a commitment from Central Connecticut State transfer Matt Mobley.
Mobley, a 6-foot-3 guard from Worcester, Ma., was the 2014-15 Northeast Conference (NEC) Most Improved Player of the Year and a member of the All-NEC second team. He averaged 17.2 points per game last season, good for third in the conference. He also ranked fourth in three-pointers made with 74 and second in minutes played per game with 37.
He will have to sit out the 2015-16 season due to NCAA transfer rules, but the Bonnies now have a replacement for Marcus Posley, who has one more season in brown and white. Highlight clips show the transfer’s athleticism, sweet shooting stroke and ability to move without the ball offensively. Defensively, he is adept at cutting off passing lanes, leading to two easy points the other way. He played prep school ball at Worcester Academy, the same school Brooklyn Nets guard Jarrett Jack attended before going to Georgia Tech.
“Honestly, I always knew I could play Division I,” said Mobley. “However, I think my senior year in high school (when he averaged 23.2 points and 8.1 rebounds a game) was when I made it clear, and people realized that I was a D-I player.”
The decision to spend the remainder of his college career at Bonaventure was an easy one for Mobley, who plans on majoring in marketing, an area of study he really enjoys.
“On my visit, I really just fell in love with the campus. I felt like it was the right spot for me,” he said.
“Academically, they have my intended major and a great business program. Basketball-wise, I wouldn’t have found a better situation anywhere else. After my sit-out year, I have an opportunity to play a lot of minutes, produce and win games right away, in one of the best conferences in the country. Can’t ask for much more than that.”
Going from the Northeast Conference to the Atlantic 10 is a major jump. The NEC is a perennial one-bid NCAA Tournament conference; the winner of its conference tournament is an automatic qualifier, usually as a 16-seed, but the league never receives any at-large bids to the big dance. The A-10 sent three teams to the tournament last season after sending six in 2014 and has television partnerships with ESPN, CBS Sports Network, NBC Sports Group and the American Sports Network. 174 A-10 basketball games will be televised next season; 30 NEC games were televised last season.
As far as how his game will translate to the new conference, Mobley is far from worried.
“I’m ready. A lot of people doubt that I will be able to play in the A-10, but I’ve been doubted my whole life. I’m just ready to work, and prove people wrong.
“I plan on improving on everything (in the sit-out year), all aspects of the game. But a couple of the main focuses will be getting bigger and stronger.”
In the 2016-17 season, coach Mark Schmidt’s roster will have a very different look. Marcus Posley and Dion Wright will be gone, but as of right now the team will have eight upperclassmen and a much-hyped sophomore guard in Nelson Kaputo (assuming he honors his verbal commitment).
Like most Bona fans, Mobley is excited for what’s to come.
“The future is bright for us. I hope to win the A-10 and make some noise in the NCAA tournament.”
Off the court, Bona Nation can take comfort in knowing that the basketball team’s latest addition is a typical college kid. His fun fact about himself? “I love to play NBA 2K.”