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USC men’s basketball projected to finish 6th in Pac-12

Evan Mobley was predicted to win the Freshman of the Year, unsurprisingly

USC v Baylor Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images

The USC Trojans were selected to finish sixth in the Pac-12 Conference for the 2020-21 basketball season, but that took a second seat to the CBS Sports predictions for individual awards.

USC was selected to finish sixth behind Oregon (1st), UCLA (2nd), Arizona State (3rd), Stanford (4th) and Arizona (5th), with the caveat being the Wildcats were selected fifth in the conference before NCAA violation allegations came forward surrounding Arizona’s Sean Miller and their program.

It’s another year and another roster remake for Andy Enfield as he enters his eighth season at USC. Fortunately for the Trojans, one of this year’s newcomers is 6-11 Evan Mobley. The No. 3 overall prospect in the 2020 recruiting class will pair with brother Isaiah, a five-star prospect from the previous class, to form an imposing front court duo. The younger Mobley should replace most of the production that one-and-done star Onyeka Okongwu provided last season. Otherwise, USC will be leaning heavily a group of transfers to contribute as the Trojans lose their top five scorers from last season’s 22-9 (11-7 Pac-12) team. The development of sophomore point guard Ethan Anderson will also be key after he dished out 4.2 assists per game while starting 28 times as a freshman.

The aforementioned Evan Mobley, however, dominated the preview packet from the fine folks over at CBS Sports — as they selected Mobley as their preseason pick for Freshman of the Year.

It’s not hard to see why but the writeup is particularly fond of Mobley’s impact for the Trojans against some other fabulous freshman expected in the Pac-12 this impending season.

Mobley, who was ranked the No. 3 prospect in the class of 2020 by the 247Sports Composite, faces stiff competition to be the Pac-12’s top freshman. Stanford wing Ziaire Williams (the No. 6 overall player) and Arizona State’s Joshua Christopher (No. 12) could have special seasons, as could any of the five four-star players that are part of Arizona’s No. 5 ranked signing class. But at 6-foot-11, Mobley’s elite size and athleticism make him the top choice as he seeks to follow Onyeka Okongwu and be an elite one-and-done post player for the Trojans.

The season will unfold at some point and we’ll eventually know their schedule, but right now, as we await Onyeka Okongwu’s NBA Draft destination, we at least know that we’ve got another great season potentially on our hands.