Feb 13, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans coach Andy Enfield (right) and forward Nikola Jovanovic (32) during the game against the Utah Utes at Galen Center. Utah defeated USC 79-71. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

USC Trojan Basketball: Freshman and the Rebirth of Dunk City

In 2013, Coach Andy Enfield and the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles took the nation on a wild ride through the NCAA Basketball Tournament.  That rag-tag group of forgotten recruits made it into the Sweet 16 and the hearts of basketball fans everywhere with their highflying, run-and-gun style that appropriately made the Eagles’ Alico Arena “Dunk City.”

Enfield parlayed his tournament success into a head-coaching job in the Pac-12 at the University of Southern California.  After a transitional 2013-14 season at USC where the team went 11-21, Enfield now has the recruits he selected and will be expected to be much more competitive.

No disrespect to Florida Gulf Coast and what they have built there, but it’s a little tougher to get top recruits to go to Fort Meyers as opposed to Los Angeles.  Thankfully for Coach Enfield, being able to say the university is close to the 90210 zip code and that Hollywood sign gets the attention of talented prospective players.  That coupled with his exciting style of play has landed him a nice batch of incoming freshmen that will the keys in helping the Trojans out of the Pac-12 cellar.

At FGCU, Enfield had Brett Comer running the offense at the point guard position, a position that he had no idea how to play coming to FGCU.  At USC, he now has arguably the best point guard on the west coast in four-star recruit Jordan McLaughlin, the crown jewel of USC’s 2014 recruiting class.  A slick ball handler with great court vision, McLaughlin loves to get out in transition and has no problem getting to the rim and creating for himself and his teammates.  He also possesses a consistent jump shot with 3-point range.

Joining him in the backcourt is fellow four-star recruit Elijah Stewart.  The wiry 6-5 shooting guard is armed with a smooth jumper and the ability to create contact and finish.  Think of him as a more heralded Sherwood Brown, who was a walk-on turned star at FGCU.  If Stewart continues to the develop, he may be the Trojans leading scorer by the end of the year much like Brown was for the Eagles.

Of course this wouldn’t be an Enfield team with a couple of forwards to catch lob after lob that will inevitably be thrown.  In the front court, the Trojans have a pair of three-star recruits in Malik Marquetti and Malik Price-Martin.  Marquetti does his damage from the small forward position where he drives in and finishes strong at the rim through contact.  Price-Martin is a pogo stick power forward who finishes with dunks and has three point range.  Both can run the floor and finish for Enfield (surprise, surprise).  Couple them with returning forward Nikola Jovanovic who is coming off an 8.0 point, 4.4 rebound per game season and you have a frontcourt that can run the floor with ease and finish strong at the basket.

According to 247Sports Composite, the Trojans 2014 recruiting class is ranked 19th in the country.  However, their impact for the Trojans will be invaluable this year.  The 2014 recruits will be essential in changing the culture of Trojan basketball with their flashy brand of basketball, endearing themselves to a local fan base that is starved for Showtime Laker style basketball.  Get your popcorn ready Trojan fan, the most exciting show in the Pac-12 is about to start.

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Tags: Andy Enfield College Basketball Season Preview Jordan Mclaughlin Usc Trojans

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