Tag: Bennie Boatwright

Andy Enfield
Associated Press

USC holds on to beat No. 20 Wichita State

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With guards Fred VanVleet and Landry Shamet both sidelined due to injury, No. 20 Wichita State arrived at the Advocare Invitational shorthanded. But even with that being the case the highly successful Shockers represented quite the opportunity for USC, and Thursday afternoon the Trojans took advantage.

Despite turning the ball over 23 times Andy Enfield’s team found a way to win, hanging on to beat the Shockers by the final score of 72-69. Freshman forward Bennie Boatwright, a tough matchup for most teams as a 6-foot-10 stretch forward who can score from the perimeter, shot 5-for-9 from three and scored a team-high (and career-high) 22 points.

The tandem of he and junior Nikola Jovanovic, who added 14 points and 11 rebounds, outplayed the Wichita State front court on a day in which the Shockers needed greater contributions from those players. Add in 15 points and four assists from Jordan McLaughlin, ten points off the bench from Katin Reinhardt and a 12-for-23 afternoon from three, and the Trojans were able to do enough to make up for their high turnover count and Wichita State’s 24 points off of turnovers.

Given the absence of VanVleet and Shamet there’s no reason to panic regarding Wichita State. Ron Baker, who was exhausted by the end of the game due to the heavy load he was asked to shoulder, scored a game-high 25 points and the play of freshman Markis McDuffie was a positive to build on.

McDuffie, who entered Thursday’s game without a made field goal in his first two appearances as a Shocker, shot 5-for-9 from the field and contributed 14 points and three rebounds off the bench. With their current perimeter rotation being what it is McDuffie will have opportunities to contribute, and the Shockers will need him to take advantage as they await the returns of VanVleet and Shamet (and the addition of Conner Frankamp).

Doing so will not only help Wichita State in the short term but in the long-term as well, thus giving Gregg Marshall another option to call upon on his bench.

Thursday’s outcome, even with the desire to see more from Anton Grady (eight points, seven rebounds), says more about USC at this point in time than Wichita State. Enfield’s first two seasons at the helm were about amassing the talent needed to compete in the Pac-12 while also gaining valuable (and at times painful) experience. In year three the Trojans hope to take a step forward within the conference, and wins like this one provide evidence of the program’s growth.

Summer highlights of USC commits Benne Boatwright and Chimezie Metu (VIDEO)

Andy Enfield
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As he goes through the process of rebuilding the USC basketball program, second-year head coach Andy Enfield has enjoyed some success on the recruiting trail. This year’s crop of freshmen includes four-star guards Jordan McLaughlin and Elijah Stewart, with the four newcomers in a position to earn immediate playing time.

The Trojans are also off to a solid start in the Class of 2015, with forwards Bennie Boatwright and Chimezie Metu having verbally committed to the Pac-12 program. They have different games, with Boatwright possessing a versatile offensive skill set that includes range well out beyond the three-point line and Metu being a powerful finisher around the basket.

Courtside Films put together a mixtape of Boatwright and Metu’s highlights from this summer, and it’s safe to assume that USC fans are anxiously awaiting their arrival on campus next summer.

Video credit: Courtside Films

USC lands its second Top 100 recruit in the Class of 2015

Kelly Kline/adidas
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While the 2013-14 season was a tough one for USC head coach Andy Enfield in the wins and losses department, he and his assistants did enjoy some success on the recruiting trail. And that has carried over into the Class of 2015, with the Trojans holding a verbal commitment from power forward Chimezie Metu.

On Thursday the USC coaching staff landed its second commitment in the class, as 6-foot-9 forward Bennie Boatwright verbally committed to attend the Pac-12 school according to Evan Daniels of Scout.com. Going into his senior year at Village Christian School in Los Angeles, Boatwright played well this spring/summer for the Gamepoint and Dream Vision grassroots programs.

Boatwright is considered to be one of the top perimeter shooters in his class, especially when it comes to forwards who are capable of stepping out beyond the three-point line. His ability to score on the perimeter is something that will help USC moving forward, as the Trojans finished last season ranked tenth in the Pac-12 in field goal percentage and dead last in three-point percentage.

Those numbers are expected to improve some this year, with Jordan McLaughlin leading a solid group of freshmen on the perimeter and Katin Reinhardt eligible after sitting out last season per NCAA transfer rules. Boatwright is in the “high flyer” mold of forwards who helped Enfield lead FGCU to the Sweet 16 in 2013, but his offensive skill set will help the head coach as he looks to put together a group at USC that’s as potent offensively as those Eagles were.