USC Introduces New Basketball Coach Andy Enfield

Assigned Reading: Andy Enfield looks to rejuvenate USC basketball

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First-year USC head coach Andy Enfield used an entertaining brand of basketball to lead FGCU to an Atlantic Sun tournament crown and a trip to the Sweet 16 last season, resulting in his move to Los Angeles. And he’s got quite the task in front of him, as USC AD Pat Haden hired Enfield with the expectation that he’s the man to turn things around.

Armed with an entertaining style on the court, Enfield’s also quite the entertainer off the court. In a story written by Stephen Rodrick of Men’s Journal, Enfield makes some eye-catching remarks at a luncheon with some USC booster regarding both UTEP head coach Tim Floyd and UCLA head coach Steve Alford.

He then told the men he’d have no problem recruiting one-and-done players. He was asked about competing with UCLA, particularly now that their crosstown rival had hired Steve Alford, the former Indiana star. “I don’t worry about them,” said Enfield with a smile. “I’ve made it to one Sweet Sixteen in two years, and he’s made it to one Sweet Sixteen in 18 years.” The boosters hooted. By the end of the meal, they would have rubbed out Alford and Floyd with just an Enfield whisper and some piano wire.

Clearly Enfield’s not one for “coach speak,” and that should make for interesting times at USC. The full story can be read here.

2014 center Jabari Craig verbally commits to attend USC
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With centers Omar Oraby and D.J. Haley out of eligibility at the conclusion of the 2013-14 season, the USC Trojans can use some more big men as they look to improve their standing within the Pac-12. On Thursday head coach Andy Enfield and his staff received a verbal commitment from 6-foot-10 center Jabari Craig, who becomes the Trojans’ third commitment in the 2014 class.

Craig joins power forward Malik Price-Martin and point guard Jordan McLaughlin in USC’s 2014 class, and each player plays a position in which the Trojans had a need for additional depth. Craig, who currently attends Fishburne Military Academy, took official visits to both USC and Arizona State last month. Craig attended Tucker High School in Georgia last year, where he averaged 8.5 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game.

“USC was a dream school for me. I always wanted to go to the school. I’ve been there, I’ve seen what it’s like,” Craig said on Fishburne’s athletic website. “They have everything to offer for me, and I have what they need.”

Outside of seniors Oraby and Haley (one-year transfer from VCU) the Trojans are young in the front court, with sophomores Strahinja Gavrilovic and Darion Clark (Charlotte transfer; will sit out the 2013-14 season per NCAA transfer rules) and freshman Nikola Jovanovic being the only players with eligiblity remaining after this season.

With that being the case both 2014 front court commitments should have the opportunity to compete for minutes as freshmen, and the same can be said for McLaughlin on the perimeter with USC losing Pe’Shon Howard and J.T. Terrell.

Here are a few highlights of Craig in action.

2014 PG Jordan McLaughlin a big commitment for USC

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When Andy Enfield took over as head coach at USC the question was how long would the process of turning the Trojans into a factor in the Pac-12 take. On Wednesday the head coach received an important verbal commitment, as Etiwanda (Calif.) point guard Jordan McLaughlin announced his decision to attend USC (subscription required).

The 5-11 McLaughlin picked the Trojans over crosstown rival UCLA but this doesn’t change much for the Bruins, as they continue their pursuit of former Louisville commit Quentin Snider (and keep in mind the fact that they’ve got freshman Zach Levine).

The addition of McLaughlin fills a need for USC, which will rely largely upon Maryland transfer Pe’Shon Howard to handle the point guard responsibilities in 2013-14. Howard (3.3 ppg, 3.6 apg) has just one year of eligibility remaining, and the question of where the Trojans will turn in 2014-15 was an important one to answer. In McLaughlin they’ve got themselves a talented prospect who will likely be handed the keys to the USC offense upon his arrival.

McLaughlin, who averaged 15.6 points per game and helped lead Etiwanda High to a CIF-SS Class-1AA title last season (they knocked off a Mater Dei squad led by the highly-touted Stanley Johnson in the title game), joins a perimeter rotation that will also feature UNLV transfer Katin Reinhardt and 6-5 wing Byron Wesley next season. Add in this year’s current crop of freshmen on the perimeter (Khalil Dukes, Julian Jacobs and Roschon Prince), and USC has the potential to put forth a formidable group next season.

McLaughlin joins power forward Malik Price-Martin as commitments in USC’s 2014 class, and with centers D.J. Haley (transferred in from VCU) and Omar Oraby both being seniors the Trojans will have more work to do on the recruiting trail when it comes to their interior options.

Former USC point guard Maurice Jones looking for a fresh start

Maurice Jones, Josh Huestis
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Just a few days into the fall semester last year, it was announced that USC point guard Maurice Jones was academically ineligible to play in 2012-13. Coming off of a season in which he averaged 13.0 points and 3.5 assists per game, Jones would have seen his role change some due to the addition of players who missed the 2011-12 season due to injury or transfer rules would could have helped handle the scoring load.

In theory that assistance would have made Jones a more efficient player, as he posted an offensive rating of 85.4 despite having a possession percentage of 27.4% as a sophomore according to But Jones’ ineligibility turned out to be the first sign that the 2012-13 season wouldn’t be a stable one for the Trojans, who struggled with inconsistency all season long and eventually handed the keys to the program over to Andy Enfield in the spring.

What happened to Jones after being ruled ineligible? He transferred to Iowa State with the intention of being eligible to play for the Cyclones in 2013, but that plan fell through when he was ruled ineligible to join Fred Hoiberg’s program. With that door being closed the Saginaw, Mich. native spent last season at home. No basketball, no school. Jones is back on the college landscape this fall however, as he’s enrolled at Division II Northwood University in Midland, Mich. and has joined the basketball program.

“When I found out I didn’t have a scholarship, I transferred from Southern Cal, but then I couldn’t get a scholarship at Iowa State either,” Jones said. “I didn’t even go to school last year.

“Nobody was interested in letting me play. I was shooting around with one of my best friends from Saginaw, Darvin Ham, and he plays for Northwood. He said to give Northwood a chance. It’s funny, but once people found out I was going to Northwood, other coaches were a lot more interested.”

Jones expects to hear from the NCAA in regards to when he’ll be eligible to take the floor in a couple of weeks, with the hope that he’ll be allowed to play immediately according to Hugh Bernreuter of Jones’ situation is a bit more complicated than that of the standard transfer however, as he has two appeals to file.

According to the story not only is there the appeal to be allowed to play immediately, but also an appeal to regain the semester lost since he began the fall 2012 semester at USC. But regardless of what happens with his appeals Jones knows at he will have another opportunity to play somewhere, it’s just a matter of when.

Just a year ago, that possibility wasn’t a sure thing.

Stanley Johnson, Justise Winslow package deal?

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This past weekend at the Under Armour Elite 24 in Brooklyn, the latest potential package deal — one that could punish defenses on the wing in the 2014-2015 season — was born.

Mater Dei High (Calif.) wing Stanley Johnson and St. John’s School (Texas) small forward Justise Winslow told that they have discussed that possibility.

“We got a couple of similar schools on our lists and I think together we can do something real special in college,” Johnson said after earning Co-MVP honors with Emmanuel Mudiay for Team Bed Stuy at Saturday’s Elite 24. “Me and him think similarly so me and him are really  talking about it, trying to get a decision done.”

The commons schools between the two 2014 wings are Arizona, Duke, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky and UCLA, though, Johnson said the two are keying in on Zona, UK and Florida with the USC potentialy becoming an option at some point.  Last week, the 6-foot-6 Johnson has set official visits to the Gainesville, Lexington, Tucson campuses as well as Southern Cal. Winslow told SNY that he is going to once again trim his list of offers; this time he’s be cutting it down to five from eight remaining schools.

“The best one-two punch in the country,” Johnson referred to himself and Winslow if they do make it to the same school.

It seems like these package deals will be tough to actually complete, specifically this one. Both Johnson and Winslow play the same position. Obviously, these two are versatile enough where one could be two-guard, but when you look at the schools that they are both considering, there’s too many factors. What if a guy like James Young remains at Kentucky for a sophomore year? Arizona freshman Rondae Hollis-Jefferson doesn’t appear to be a one-and-done candidate. Billy Donovan already landed a shooting guard for 2014 and like Kentucky is still in play for other elite wings like Devin Booker and Kelly Oubre.

As fun as the Johnson-Winslow combo would be, I’d like to see it before I believe it.

Johnson is ranked No. 8 in the Class of 2014 by Rivals, and Winslow is listed as No. 16, also by Rivals. It should be noted that the 6-foot-6 Winslow has also been rumored to be part of the Jahlil Okafor-Tyus Jones package deal.

Maryland transfer Pe’Shon Howard granted waiver at USC, eligible to play this year

ACC Basketball Tournament: Maryland v Duke
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Andy Enfield and USC have their point guard for next season. The NCAA granted a waiver to Maryland transfer Pe’Shon Howard on Monday evening.

Howard is a Los Angeles native and played his first three years at Maryland before he decided to transfer back to the west coast in June. The reason behind Howard’s transfer was so he could be closer to his ailing grandmother. The NCAA granted him a hardship waiver, allowing him to play immediately this season.

“We are happy that Pe’Shon will be able to spend time with his grandmother who helped raise him here in Los Angeles,” Enfield said in a statement released by the school. “On the court, Pe’Shon will provide leadership and we expect him to have a terrific senior season.”

The Trojans will be one of the younger teams in the Pac-12 with six freshman and four sophomores on the current roster (not including Katin Reinhardt because he is sitting out this season). USC will combat that with an experienced backcourt  with the addition of Howard and returning J.T. Terrell for his senior year after averaged 11.7 points per game as a junior. The newest Trojan will fill the role left by the graduating Jio Fontan, who was second in the conference with 5.3 assists per game.

The 6-foot-3 Howard will have one more year of eligibility, as he will provide a bridge for Reinhardt, his successor. Reinhardt transferred from UNLV after his freshman year, and is sitting out this season per NCAA transfer rules. Reinhardt will have three years remaining.

This is the second transfer USC has landed in the past four days. On Friday, USC announced the addition of former VCU center D.J. Haley. The 7-footer averaged 2.1 points and 2.5 rebounds per game in his career with the Rams. Haley graduated from VCU, and according to NCAA rules is also eligible to play this season for the Trojans.

Howard averaged 3.3 points, 3.6 assists and 2.4 rebound per game for the Terrapins this past season.