Where Are They Now? Former Eagle Hobson dancing with wolves
CEU standout now leading New Mexico Lobos into college basketball limelight
(Editor's note: Where are They Now is a series of articles written about local high school and college athletes that have gone on to greater success at other levels)
While it may seem coincidental, the success of the College of Eastern Utah Golden Eagles is running parrallel to that of a former standout, Darington Hobson, who has just led the University of New Mexico Lobos to a current record of 28-3.
He has accomplished this by averaging 15.8 points per game, 9.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists per contest. He is currently on track to become the first player at the college to lead the season in all three categories. His club is now in Las Vegas preparing for the Mountain West Conference Tournament through March 13.
Teams to beat other than New Mexico include Brigham Young (a squad Hobson helped to defeat twice - almost singlehandedly), UNLV and San Diego State.
"He's one of those very special talents," said UNM head coach Steve Alford on the school's Web site. "He's a very versitale guard. In the history of Lobos' basketballball we've had some incredible players who have exceled in scoring, rebounds, assists and steals.
"Darington is leading in just about every category, he a good defender and very athletic," he added. "He's also part of a team that's in the Top 10 in the country. Anytime you're putting up some really big number for a really good team, you warrent national attention."
And the word 'round campus is the junior might not stick around for his senior year, opting instead to shop his unique talents in the upcoming NBA Draft. Of course, those rumors are unsubstaintiated at this point. Still, they persist.
"From day one I knew what my expectations were for this team," Hobson said. "I knew right away what my job was going to be and how tough it was going to be.
"They told me as long as I come in and work hard, listen and be a good teammate, I'd be successful."
Opponents have found out just how successful. Playing in the Pit is difficult enough without having to face the kind of numbers and the consumate skill exhibited by the Las Vegas native who attended high school in Decauter, Ill.
As a Golden Eagle during the 2008-09 season, the first team All-American led CEU to a 25-7 record that included a 14-0 start to the season He averaged 15.2 points and 8.7 rebounds, both tops on the team. He shot 48.5 percent (161-332) from the floor and averaged more than three assists a game
In addition, Hobson recorded a season-high 35 points against Western Wyoming and 15 rebounds vs. North Idaho College (NIC), the club his former collegues defeated for the SWAC tournament championship just last week.
As a freshman, he was also third team NJCAA as well as an All-American.
"I thought it would be difficult, but the transition (from junior college to D-1) has not been that hard for me," Hobson said.
"Darington has made everyone around him better, including the seniors," Alford said. "Everyone that plays with him gets a chance to get easier shots. People spend so much time on him it frees up other people on the team.
"His best attribute, however, is his basketball I.Q. He really understands the game and is a great passer."
"My role on the team is to kind of be a leader," Hobson said. "My biggest role, though, is to be a playmaker - a playmaker for my teammates and a playmaker for myself."
In one of his most spectacular efforts, Hobson, contributed 20 points and 14 rebounds in New Mexico's 83-81 win over BYU Saturday, Feb. 27, in Provo.
Billed as the biggest basketball game in the history of the Mountain West Conference, the game was every bit that. Hobson got into a tussle with BYU's Jonathan Tavernari with less than a minute remaining in the game and the score tied at 80-80.
The game officials conferred for several minutes, reviewing tape of the incident, before they decided there wasn't any violation to be called. Hobson and Tavernari remained in the game and consequently Hobson was the Lobo hero in blocking BYU's last shot in an attempt to tie the game and force it into overtime.