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.
With the coaching carousel already moving, there will be roster changes to consider as well. Current college players will decide whether they want to play under a new coaching staff or transfer, and the same goes for incoming recruits who have signed a National Letter of Intent. That’s the case at Loyola Marymount, which hired alum Mike Dunlap to replace Max Good a couple weeks ago.
6-foot-5 shooting guard Elijah Stewart was one of Good’s signees, and after he put together a very good senior season at Westchester High in Los Angeles the general consensus was that Stewart was a steal for the Lions. However according to a report by Evan Daniels of Scout.com, Stewart has decided to request a release from his NLI in order to reopen his recruitment.
Stewart was under recruited the first time around and when he gets his release will likely have virtually every school in the PAC-12 knocking down his door.
Stewart’s senior season at Westchester was nothing short of spectacular. Stewart is an impressive scorer from both mid-range out to the three-point stripe, but he’s also an impressive athlete that potential as a wing defender.
According to 247Sports.com’s Composite Rankings for California, just three of the top 20 players in the state (not counting Stewart) remain unsigned. And given the praise for Stewart’s ability, he’ll be a popular prospect this spring. Stewart’s Westchester High team finished the 2013-14 season with a 30-7 record, losing to undefeated Mater Dei in the Southern California Regional Open Division final last Saturday. Stewart scored 19 points in the defeat.
Stewart isn’t the only former Loyola Marymount signee looking into other options, with point guard Kyron Cartwright reportedly on an official visit to Providence according to Kevin McNamara of the Providence Journal.