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.
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.
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.