At one point in time guard Elijah Stewart was hailed as an underrated prospect in the 2014 class, and with Loyola Marymount being his original school of choice it looked as if the Lions had themselves a steal. But LMU would change coaches at the end of the 2013-14 season, and Stewart reopened his recruitment as a result. Add to this his play as a senior at Westchester HS in Los Angeles, and the 6-foot-5 guard was one of the top remaining prospects in the 2014 class this spring.
Stewart is now off the board, as it was reported Sunday by Evan Daniels of Scout.com that the guard has committed to Andy Enfield’s USC Trojans (subscription required).
To say the least this is a big development for the Trojans, who won just two Pac-12 games (11-21 overall record) in Enfield’s first season as head coach. USC’s biggest personnel loss from last season was leading scorer Byron Wesley, who will complete his career at Gonzaga, and throughout the season it was clear that the Trojans needed more talent to compete in the Pac-12.
The hope in Los Angeles is that the 2014 recruiting class that Enfield’s put together, with highly regarded point guard Jordan McLaughlin being the headliner, will help push the Trojans in that direction. Stewart’s addition will help USC on the perimeter, as he’ll join McLaughlin, UNLV transfer Katin Reinhardt and incoming freshman wing Malik Marquetti in the rotation.
Big men Jabari Craig and Malik Price-Martin complete the 2014 recruiting haul for USC (they’ll also have Charlotte transfer Darion Clark, with rising sophomores Nikola Jovanovic and Julian Jacobs being their most productive returnees.
When it comes to discussing some of the game of basketball’s best players, specifically those who went directly from high school to the NBA, a question that’s often asked is where said player would have attended college if forced (by rule) to do so. Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are among those who have been discussed in this manner, and in the case of LeBron he’s got connections to two programs within his home state of Ohio.
LeBron’s connected with the Ohio State program, which is outfitted by the Nike’s LeBron signature line, but there’s another program with an even closer connection. That would be Akron, which is led by head coach Keith Dambrot, and all he did was serve as LeBron’s high school coach at St. Vincent/St. Mary’s HS in Akron during the player’s freshman and sophomore years at the school. Also on those teams were two future Akron Zips in guard Dru Joyce and forward Romeo Travis.
Thursday the school announced that it would be honoring James, Joyce and Travis with bobble head dolls to be given out before Akron’s home games against Buffalo (February 16; Joyce’s bobble head), Bowling Green (February 26; Travis) and Ohio (March 1; James).
All three bobble head dolls are wearing Akron uniforms, which in the case of LeBron allows fans to think back and imagine what could have been. Season ticket holders guaranteed one bobble head per account (on each of the three giveaway days), with the first 750 fans in attendance to receive one as well.
The gang is back together again for another episode of the NBCSports.com College Basketball Talk Podcast, with Rob Dauster hosting and Raphielle Johnson and Scott Phillips joining him. Today’s episode touched on big wins picked up Thursday night by California and Indiana, discussing the performances of those teams and also touching on their prospects down the line.
Also discussed were the recent performances of Iowa State, Providence and Texas A&M (which are you more worried about?), and some of the top games on this weekend’s schedule headlined by Kansas visiting Oklahoma. And if you’re a fan of seafood, you may take umbrage with some of Rob’s comments at the beginning of the podcast.
As always, you can subscribe to the podcast on either iTunes or Stitcher, and there’s also a link to listen to this podcast below. Thanks for listening.