Andy Enfield came to USC from Florida Gulf Coast expecting to turn a mediocre program into a success story. He has certainly turned the program around but failed to get national recognition this season as his USC Trojans were left out of the NCAA tournament field. Despite finishing second in the PAC 12 the Trojans were relegated to the NIT where they lost to Western Kentucky in the second round.
In his five seasons at USC, Enfield has made the tournament twice but only making it past the first game once. This season, in particular, was difficult for Enfield who lost 6’10 junior Bennie Boatwright to a season-ending knee injury during conference play. Boatwright was an NBA prospect, but will most likely return to the team next season for his final year.
Star guard DeAnthony Melton was forced to sit out the entire season due to the FBI investigation that swept college basketball. Melton declared for the NBA draft during February after withdrawing from USC entirely. Chimezie Metu, a 6’11 junior forward, also declared for the draft and is expected to be picked in the late first to early second round. On top of all this, the Trojans also lose seniors Jordan Mclaughlin and Elijah Stewart who were both starters and major contributors to last season team.
What began as a season of promise with multiple NBA prospects, a solid group of senior leaders, and a top ten ranking, ended in disappointment. However hope remains not only with next year’s recruiting class, but the general future of the program as a whole. Three new faces will come to Los Angeles next season and all will most likely be ready to start if necessary. Elijah Weaver is a 6’5 point guard who has the size and decision making to spread the ball around anywhere on the court. His knowledge of the game surpasses his age and he could be in the NBA as soon as next year. He will make an immediate impact and most likely take Jordan Mclaughlin spot in the starting lineup.
Kevin Porter is also 6’5 but plays small forward due to his incredible athleticism and leaping ability. This was on display at the Iverson Classic, a tournament for high schoolers that held its second annual game this season. Porter will have plenty of highlight plays next season but also can defend his position well and make shots when he needs to. J’Raan Brooks is the final recruit, a 6’8 Power Forward. Like Porter, Brooks is a Seatle native. Brooks is a solid two-way forward who can step out and shoot the midrange shot, and also take it to the basket. He should be a nice compliment to Boatwright in the frontcourt.
Next season should be fun in Los Angeles, and the good times could keep rolling due to the recent hiring of assistant coach Eric Mobley. Mobley, a longtime coach in the Compton Magic AAU program, is the father of two top prospects in their respective classes. This is a similar move to what Missouri did this past season hiring the father of Michael and Jontay Porter.