As a freshman at USC this season, 6-foot-6 forward Roschon Prince averaged 4.2 points and 2.7 rebounds in just over 11 minutes of action per game. Prince didn’t receive a large amount of playing time during Pac-12 play, as he didn’t see action in five games and played single-digit minutes in seven others.
With this being the case Prince made the decision to transfer, and as reported by Mike Guardabascio of the Long Beach Press-Telegram the forward is headed to Long Beach State. Prince is a Long Beach native, and at Long Beach Poly he became the lone player in school history to surpass the 2,000-point mark.
According to the report Prince will sit out the 2014-15 season and have three years of eligibility beginning with the 2015-16 campaign. Long Beach State has nine juniors on the 2013-14 roster, so adding Prince to the fold will give them a newcomer who knows what head coach Dan Monson wants to run when 2015 rolls around.
As for why he made the decision to join the Long Beach State program, Prince stated the following in the story:
One of the things that appealed to Prince about Long Beach State, besides the zip code, is the way he said head coach Dan Monson and his staff know how to use their players. “They really don’t pigeonhole people into being a two or a three,” he said. “They play the five best players…and they’re not just going to stick me down on the block.”
With guards Mike Caffey (16.2 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 4.2 apg) and Tyler Lamb (15.4, 3.6, 2.2) leading the returnees in 2014-15, Prince will have some experienced players to learn the Long Beach State system from while sharpening his skills for a return to the court in 2015.
Based upon the program Andy Enfield inherited when it signed on to become the new head coach at USC, the general expectation was that the Trojans would take their lumps as they transition to the fast-paced style that resulted in FGCU reaching the Sweet 16. And that may very well be the case as the season wears on, with the Trojans part of a much-improved Pac-12.
But on Sunday night USC (6-3) outclassed a struggling Boston College (3-6) squad by the final score of 78-62, and the outcome may have provided a glimpse into what’s to come at the Galen Center.
Of the five players to score in double figures three were freshmen who all established new season-highs in points: guard Julian Jacobs (16 points, eight rebounds) and forwards Nikola Jovanovic (15 points, seven rebounds) and Roschon Prince (14 points, five rebounds). As a team USC shot 46.6% from the field while limiting the Eagles to 37.3% shooting. USC controlled the glass (44-27 edge; offensive rebounding percentage of 40.6%) as well, and their 1.16 points per possession is the second-highest figure of the season in that category.
While part of this can be attributed to playing a team in Boston College that’s in serious trouble (they begin ACC play against Maryland on Thursday night), USC certainly deserves credit for this performance. They were assertive for much of the night, showing signs of progress in their quest to play the style that Enfield prefers. Veterans such as Pe’Shon Howard and Byron Wesley will be key figures as well, but their impact on the future of USC basketball won’t be as great as the freshmen and that’s what makes a game like this so important.
Of the three newcomers listed above Jovanovic entered Sunday as the high scorer, averaging 7.8 points per contest with Jacobs (4.9 apg, 4.6 rpg) being the leader in both assists and rebounds. An outing like tonight’s can only help the trio going forward, and next season they’ll be asked to lead the way. Of course additions like Jordan McLaughlin, Jabari Craig, Malik Price-Martin and transfers Darion Clark and Katin Reinhardt will be available, but the presence of players who not only know what Enfield wants but also how to carry over those lessons into game action is important.
Beating a struggling Boston College team may not move the needle much, but the way in which their freshmen played is an important step in the right direction for USC.