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USC Basketball: Most Important Player #7 - Elijah Stewart

Elijah Stewart could be a major difference maker.
Elijah Stewart could be a major difference maker.

The last recruit to arrive on USC's campus, switching his commitment by way of Loyola Marymount University, has already made his impact felt for the program. As a lanky dual-threat guard, Elijah Stewart has shown a tremendous ability to showcase his athleticism all over the basketball court.

Not the final freshmen on our list, but Elijah Stewart, who started in the Trojans' exhibition win over Cal State Los Angeles, will be a crucial part of the rotation.

7. Elijah Stewart - Guard

Elijah Stewart is probably the most athletic player on USC's team, even at just 6-foot-5, 194 pounds of basketball player. The role is rather uncertain for Stewart, who could play the one, two or maybe even three position. What Stewart can do for sure is impact the basketball game with his quickness on the floor.

Stewart quietly put together an impressive performance against Cal State Los Angeles, posting 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting. He forced five steals, grabbed three rebounds and blocked one shot. His skill set was featured all over the court hustling after the basketball. Whether it was reaching his hand into the passing lane, running up and down the perimeter to contest shots or elusively sneaking into the paint for easy shots, Stewart was making his presence felt.

His best play came in a moment of both growth and frustration. Head coach Andy Enfield says Stewart could be the best defender on the team, maybe even the best in the conference if he just learned to be in the right position. Well on one play early in the second half, Stewart was once again out of position when he got caught by a backscreen. But Stewart recovered quickly out to his man, who was attempting a 3-pointer, and blocked the shot. Then, exhibiting cat-like reflexes, he leaped into the air to save it from going out of bounds, propelling an easy fast-break bucket on the other end.

Stewart was the 2014 Los Angeles City Section Player of the Year for a reason. The talented freshman can hustle, he can defend and he can also hit open shots from the perimeter. Stewart will play very well this season alongside a quicker guard like Jordan McLaughlin, who will attract attention away for more one-on-one chances.

On the defensive end his game somewhat resembles what you see from Lance Stephenson, except without all the attitude. Stewart is a laid back guy who also likes cutting to the basket and making plays off the ball.

Here are some Elijah Stewart highlights from his high school days at Westchester High School. Stewart transferred in midway through high school, spending most of his life in Louisiana as a basketball prodigy.