NEWARK - Every time Brandon Mobley would reach his gangly right arm in a scrum for the ball he’d have flashbacks. His mind would travel back to the shoulder injury that put the start to his college career on hold. He had a perpetual fear that the shoulder would pop out just like it did in the Jersey Shore Basketball League over the summer.
So the first thing Mobley had to do was get over the trepidation of re-injuring the shoulder when he came back to practice in December.
It wasn’t easy.
But after a few weeks of premonitions, Mobley had a chat with Seton Hall’s doctor that put his mind at ease.
“He was like ‘hey, it’s staying in there. It’s not coming out. Even if someone’s pulling on it with all their force it’s not coming out,’” Mobley said during a quiet moment in the locker room after last night's game. “Once I got used to that and I got my wind back up, got back in shape, I was fine.”
But getting back in basketball shape took some time. The shot came back quickly since Mobley starting shooting six weeks after surgery, which was two months before he was cleared to practice. Although he found his stroke, the 6-foot-9, 210 pounder was winded after three of four trips down the floor.
Like any other freshman, Mobley also had to adjust to the speed of the game. And he had to do so after missing the first nine games of the season.
“Coach [Kevin Willard] was like ‘I understand you’re going to mess up. It’s going to take you a couple of weeks to adjust, ‘” Mobley said.
And it appears that Mobley has. Starting his fifth game, the Savannah, Ga., native notched a career-high 14 along with nine rebounds in a blowout win against St. John’s.
Now — along with Aaron Cosby — Mobley appears ready to step up and help carry the load behind the Pirates big three of Jordan Theodore, Herb Pope and Fuquan Edwin. Something he knows is key for Seton Hall to make a run to and through the NCAA Tournament.
“They get all the attention so that means we have to complement them. So when they double-team Herb Pope I have to make myself available. When they trap Jordan, I have to make myself available so he doesn’t have to get a turnover,” Mobley said. “So we all just have to complement each other. If we all complement each other, they can’t just focus on three people. They really have to play five-on-five and that’s when we can hurt them.”
But even as a freshman, Mobley knows there’s still a lot of work to be done for this team to accomplish their goals and make the Big Dance for the first time since 2006. They must capitalize on their three game winning streak after a six game skid.
“Right now we’re just riding that wave. We can’t go and get happy and get fat like before [after going 15-2 before a six game losing steak],” Mobley said. “If we can get this one on Saturday [at Cincinnati] it would be huge. Come back, beat Rutgers, and take care of business against DePaul and we’re right where we want to be.”