When USC athletic director Pat Haden made the decision to hire Andy Enfield as his new head coach there was a great deal of excitement amongst the Trojan faithful.
The program went through a tough season that included the firing of Kevin O’Neill, and the specter of hiring the man who gave birth to a brand of basketball that would earn the moniker “Dunk City” was seen as an encouraging step.
On Tuesday the school announced the first non-conference schedule of Enfield’s tenure, with games against Boston College, Long Beach State and Utah State sticking out as does an appearance in the Battle 4 Atlantis.
The season opener certainly won’t be an easy one, as USC will open at new Mountain West member Utah State. Stew Morrill’s led the Aggies to at least 20 wins in every season he’s spent at the school with the exception of his first (1998-99). The Aggies finished the 2012-13 season with a record of 21-10 despite having to deal with multiple injuries throughout the course of the season.
USC’s home opener will be against Cal State Northridge, which also has a new head coach in Reggie Theus. The Matadors may have lost forward Stephan Hicks but they do have two established contributors in guard Josh Greene (14.5 ppg, 3.7 apg) and forward Stephen Maxwell (14.6, 8.3 rpg).
USC’s game against Boston College (December 8), which has the potential to be a much-improved team in the ACC, will be a homecoming of sorts for four players on the Boston College roster. Ryan Anderson, K.C. Caudill, Lonnie Jackson and Joe Rahon all hail from southern California.
According to the school there’s the potential for USC, which returns three key contributors in shooting guard J.T. Terrell, small forward Ari Stewart and center Omar Oraby, to play 11 games against teams that reached the NCAA tournament last season.
The Trojans will also incorporate four freshmen into the program, with Long Beach Poly forward Roschon Prince being one of the notable additions.
Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.