A team with NO SENIORS will have a lot of growing up to accomplish in year two under head coach Andy Enfield. The USC Trojans men's basketball program kicked off official team practice this week from the Galen Center, hoping to improve upon an underwhelming 11-win campaign last season.
It may only be the early part of October, but the start of the regular season is only four weeks away for an upstart Trojan squad featuring the talents of four talented freshmen, two capable transfers in Katin Reinhardt (UNLV) and Darion Clark (Charlotte) plus an added year of experience for centerpieces Julian Jacobs and Nikola Jovanovic.
First day of hoops practice! Nov. 15 opener against Portland State will come fast! pic.twitter.com/nYPAoajvs5— USC Men's Basketball (@USC_Hoops) October 7, 2014
The Trojans have a much-more winnable schedule this season, but the mix of non-conference games provides this team an opportunity to build off last year's 9-4 start outside the Pac-12 conference. USC opens at home with games against Portland State and Tennessee Tech before traveling to the Charleston Classic (which features a somewhat underwhelming field, we might add) along with a tough road game against the New Mexico Lobos.
What coach Enfield does have is experience, not necessarily in starters with only two returning, but in the style of play as the Trojans want to run up and down the floor.
While Enfield is fair to be vague in terms of his team's expectations, all of these players have now been recruited or developed by Enfield, leaving no hangover from the previous staff, excluding backups Chass Bryan and Brendyn Taylor for argument's sake. That continuity, both in players and offensive personnel, may allow the squad to run the up-tempo fast break offense with more rhythm and fluidity over the course of 40 minutes.
All in all, 11 of the 14 players will either be freshmen or sophomores, which means coach Andy Enfield and his assistants will have to mold a better brand of basketball in the weeks to come. USC's recruiting class was ranked No. 12 overall by Scout, led by talented point guard Jordan McLaughlin, who is coming off shoulder surgery during the offseason, but should be an active part of the rotation this season.
Coach Enfield shared his thoughts on the season during Tuesday night's Trojans Live, an all-encompassing sports radio program on KFWB News 980 right near The Lab.