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USC Basketball: Two-Man Freshman Class Could be Huge

After two small but talented recruiting classes, could this be the year that the Trojans begin to turn things around on the hardwood?

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The USC Trojans finished the 2014-15 college basketball season with a 12-20 overall record and a 3-15 record in the Pac-12 conference. Basketball hasn't really been relevant at USC since O.J. Mayo left for the NBA, which was seven years ago. While the Trojans have a pretty lengthy distance to travel before they are actual contenders, this upcoming season could be the one that turns the tide for the program. A major reason to support that claim is the incoming freshman class which features two Top-100 recruits.

Although USC's 2015 recruiting class only consists of two players, those two come with raw talent and plenty of upside. The pair of 4-star forwards, Chimezie Metu and Bennie Boatwright, both figure to play significant roles in their debut seasons with the Trojans. Both players are featured in the ESPN100, Metu at No. 40 and Boatwright at No. 87.

Metu provides the Trojans with a much-needed low-post defensive presence that hasn't been seen there in a very long time. Standing 6-foo-9, his length should allow for him to become a formidable rim protector. Even though his strength is on the defensive end of the floor, Metu is far from inept on the offensive side of things. He's a tremendous athlete and that alone should help him create some decent looks for himself.

Unlike Metu, Boatwright's strength is on the offensive end. He possesses a great shooting touch and has a smooth release. Boatwright is one of the best shooting big men in the entire class. He should fit right into the role of a stretch-4, but he is also athletic enough to play on the wings. Boatwright can get it done inside and out, making him a potent offensive threat.

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When you factor in the 2014 class that the Trojans brought in, which includes point guard Jordan McLaughlin and shooting guard Elijah Stewart, the program has the potential to take a major leap this season. With four ESPN100 commits in the past two years, it's time for USC to start to make some noise.

You obviously don't want to get excited too quickly, but the program has suffered long enough. It's time to give those fans something to cheer about off the gridiron.