Juni Mobley left Columbus for Las Vegas in October 2020, just a few months into his freshman year at Reynoldsburg. Once he graduates from Bishop Gorman in 2024, Mobley has his sights set on coming back home.
The No. 43 recruit in the country and No. 7-ranked point guard committed to Ohio State on Sunday, opting to return to his native city that he left only due to the impact of COVID-19 on the high school basketball season in the state. When Mobley got to Vegas, he realized the season would also be shut down at his new high school, which he said “just sucked.”
In the two years since, Mobley’s made up for lost time, proving to be one of the best point guards in the country and attracting the attention of the Ohio State coaching staff by March of his sophomore year. Mobley earned an offer from the Buckeyes in June, took an official visit at the start of October and is now locked in on joining the program he grew up watching.
“I was an Ohio State fan growing up for basketball and football and that was my dream school,” Mobley told Eleven Warriors. “It was always a dream for me to go there.”
Mobley said conversations with Buckeye freshmen Bruce Thornton, Roddy Gayle and Brice Sensabaugh helped confirm his hopes about Ohio State, as each player vouched for Chris Holtmann and the way he runs his program.
“The main factors of why I chose Ohio State was their style of play and their coaches and the relationship I had with the coaches while I was there. And I talked to the players and they told me you can trust Holtmann, like he doesn’t lie,” Mobley said. “What they told them in the recruiting process is happening now, so I thought that was a big thing. I’m really big on trust, my family’s big on trust, so that was a main thing for me that helped me make that decision.”
Now the first commit of Ohio State’s 2024 class, Mobley continues the Buckeyes’ hot streak on the recruiting trail, as they’ve landed four top-50 prospects in the 2023 and ’24 cycles since the start of August.
On the Court
Listed at 6-foot-tall, 150 pounds, Mobley is hardly the biggest or strongest point guard prospect in the nation. But his talent and skills make up for that and then some.
Considered one of the best shooters in the country, Mobley’s range extends well past the 3-point line, and he sets up his offense in a variety of ways. Mobley said he studies Steph Curry, Trae Young and Kyrie Irving, and his long-range proficiency and ball handling make that apparent.
“I’m a shooter. I can shoot off the dribble, come off the screen, I can really shoot from anywhere,” Mobley said. “My defense, I play D. Not a lot of people know that until they play against me and they see that I’m locking them up. But I’m gonna come, do everything that I can to win, I’m gonna compete and I’m gonna try to get that natty.”
If there’s an area Mobley is still trying to improve upon, it’s adding weight to his frame before he gets to the next level.
“One thing I’m trying to work on the most is getting stronger. Getting stronger, getting my weight up. Basketball-wise, getting in the paint and working on my passing and getting my teammates involved and finishing around the rim better.”
Mobley can certainly facilitate offense for others, but there’s no doubt that the dexterity of his 3-point shooting is the first thing that jumps off the screen when watching highlights of the high school junior.
In the Class
Mobley is the Buckeyes’ first pledge in the 2024 cycle, but he intends to bring more top-flight talent with him to Columbus.
“That’s my goal to try to get the best players to play with me,” Mobley said. “So that’s the goal. I’m gonna try to recruit a lot.”
While Mobley isn’t offering up names for the players he’ll try to help Ohio State land just yet, several of the Buckeyes’ top 2024 targets are evident already. Cincinnati native Tyler McKinley, the No. 74 prospect in the country, is one such priority prospect, and the prolific big man has held an offer from Ohio State since May.
Blessed to receive a scholarship from The Ohio State University @OhioStateHoops #GoBucks @LindarInsights @CoachRicardoHil @TuffyJunior @JFRAZE pic.twitter.com/NTwaxuyH2X— TXM35 (@txm35) May 4, 2022
The coaching staff is high on several other recruits with Buckeye state ties, including former Columbus resident Amier Ali (No. 29 overall), Centerville guard Jonathan Powell (No. 80), Cincinnati center Raleigh Burgess (No. 133) and Cleveland big man Jesse McCulloch (No. 175).
Given Mobley’s commitment, it makes sense for the Buckeyes to pair some size with the 6-foot point guard. But Ali and Powell are two of the top wings in the country as well.
Mobley’s early commitment gives Ohio State plenty of time to assess the landscape in the class over the next several months, and Holtmann said on 97.1 The Fan Thursday that he expects the program’s recruiting efforts to slow as the 2022-23 season approaches in just a few weeks.
Having grown up in Reynoldsburg, Mobley said his decision to go back to Columbus for college was a popular one among those closest to him.
“Mostly all my friends are in Columbus, that’s where I grew up at. And my family, they were happy for me,” Mobley said. “I mean, anywhere I would’ve gone they would’ve been happy for me, but I think this one was different to them.”
Mobley initially gained notoriety as a youth basketball prospect well before moving to Nevada as a high school freshman. Playing in Garfield Heights’ NEO YouthElite showcase back in 2017, one YouTube video of Mobley’s highlights as just a fifth grader has racked up almost 600,000 views.
While Mobley enjoyed the attention his game garnered at an early age, he never let it stop him from working hard to improve his craft thereafter.
“It was cool. I mean, I don’t really feed into all that like that,” Mobley said. “I just go out there and play and it’s cool to see that people recognize it and showcase it with making a video and stuff. I thought it was cool but I just kept working, kept keeping my head on the main goal. But that was really cool though.”
As for his personality, Mobley said he’s playful when he’s off the court, but doesn’t mess around when it comes to the hardwood.
“I’m a very funny guy off the court, I goof around a lot,” Mobley said. “And on the court I handle business.”