Southern California Preview Capsule
Last season: 26-10.
Coach: Andy Enfield.
Who’s gone: F Charles Buggs.
Who’s back: F Bennie Boatwright. The junior was dominant after returning from a knee injury that cost him 17 games last season, averaging 15.1 points and 4.5 rebounds. G Jordan McLaughlin. He could break the school’s career assists mark after finishing third in Pac-12 last year. F Chimezie Metu. Had a breakout sophomore year, averaging 14.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks. G Elijah Stewart. Had 23 games in double figures last year. G Shaqquan Aaron. The junior started 20 games last season, averaging 7.6 points. He had a career-high 23 in a home win over rival UCLA.
Who’s new: G Charles O’Bannon Jr. The highly touted recruit from Las Vegas is the son of the former UCLA star who led the Bruins to the 1995 national championship. G-F Jordan Usher. He can help the team on offense and defense. F Victor Uyaelunmo helped lead his Miami high school to the Florida state title.
The Skinny: The Trojans have their top eight scorers back, making them a title threat to traditional Pac-12 powers Arizona and UCLA. Boatwright, Metu and Stewart all withdrew their names from the NBA draft to stay in school. The Trojans’ 26 wins last season were a school record and they have serious potential to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament, where they last appeared in the Sweet 16 in 2007. There’s a cloud over the program, however, with associate head coach Tony Bland on administrative leave after being accused of accepting $13,000 to help steer two players to certain business representatives. USC is conducting an internal investigation.
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