USC Basketball: Can Trojans land 2020 prospects Jalen Green and Keon Ambrose?

USC Basketball hosting a couple of big-time 2020 recruits this weekend and hoping they can woo them enough to convince them to join the program. The two recruits are consensus top-100 players, Jalen Green and Keon Ambrose.

USC Basketball will likely be one of the youngest squads in the nation next year. USC had the No. 7 recruiting class in 2019, per 247Sports, as the Trojans added six freshmen and two transfers. The Trojans already have a commitment from the class of 2020 in top-ranked prospect Evan Mobley, but they are expected to have four more scholarships available. They currently have 11 open scholarships to prospects with wings and big men being their most significant needs.

USC hosted two players, Jalen Green and Keon Ambrose, this weekend (Oct. 17-20). Both players could help in filling the Trojans’ needs on the wing.

Jalen Green

Green is a consensus top-3 player in the 2020 class as he is ranked as the third-best prospect by all four major recruiting services. The 6-5 combo guard was initially slated to be in L.A. on an unofficial visit, although he recently changed it to an official visit. The visit coincided with the Trojans’ exhibition game against Villanova Wildcats on Friday.

Green is an excellent athlete who thrives with the ball in his hands. He is at his best when slashing to the hoop as the Fresno (CA) native is a strong finisher at the rim. The five-star recruit has shown the ability score in bunches and the capability to score on all three levels as he possesses a soft shooting touch. Green is also a solid shooter, whether off the catch or dribble.

The Prolific Prep native participated with the USA national team for a third time this past summer. Green averaged 10.1 points, 2.1 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1.7 steals per game in helping lead the United States U19 team to the gold medal at the 2019 FIBA World Cup. He scored in double-figures in four of his seven appearances, which included a18 point and six rebound performance in the semifinal victory over Lithuania. Last summer, Green was named the 2018 World Cup U17 MVP.

Green, who had previously taken an unofficial visit to USC, has also taken official visits to Oregon, Auburn, Florida State, and Memphis. UCLA and Fresno State are also now involved in his recruitment, according to ESPN.

Memphis is projected to have one scholarship available for next year. While the Tigers could use a shooting guard, their biggest need is at power forward. Memphis is reportedly still in the mix for shooting guard Jaden Springer along with big men Greg Brown, Dawson Garcia, and Chris Moore.

Meanwhile, Oregon has three scholarships available for 2020. The Ducks are in desperate need of guards and wings. They are also involved with combo guard Nimari Burnett, wing Ziaire Williams, center Makur Maker, as well as, point guards Andre Cuberlo and Moses Moody.

Keon Ambrose

Ambrose is down to five schools with North Carolina State, Arkansas, Alabama, and Dayton being the other programs. He has taken official trips to NC State, Arkansas, and Dayton. The Toronto (ON) native will visit coach Nate Oats and the Crimson Tide (Oct. 27-29).

Ambrose is a consensus four-star prospect. However, he is all over the rankings, ranging between 59-99. ESPN has him rated the highest at No. 59, and Rivals has him ranked at No. 99. Meanwhile, the 6-8 combo forward is situated at No. 75 by 247Sports Composite and No. 95 by 247Sports.

The Andrews Osborne Academy product is exceptionally athletic and likes to play up-tempo. He possesses an all-around game and can stretch the floor with his shooting. Ambrose also can start the break after grabbing a rebound.

Ambrose’s recruiting appears to be wide open, although NC State, Dayton, and Arkansas seem to have a slight edge at this point. But anything can happen.

NC State has just one scholarship left for 2002, and they seem to be prioritizing Ambrose. The Wolfpack could use another forward. They are also in the mix for shooting guard Cameron Thomas, small forward Josh Hall, and center Cliff Omoruyi.

Arkansas is projected to have three more scholarships available for the 2020 campaign. The Razorbacks, who are also making Ambrose a priority, definitely need to add depth up front. The  Hogs do seem to be more interest interested in Moore, an Arkansas native, and 6-5 wing Kyree Walker. But they have enough roster spaces to nab all three if they can pull it off.

Dayton has been “in-on” Ambrose since Day 1 and is the Flyers’ No. 1 target. UD has two more scholarships available for 2020.

Alabama is projected to have just one scholarship available for 2020. The Tide is highly interested in Ambrose, but they do have other players that appear to be more of a priority, such as Burnett, Jayden Stone,  Isaiah Jackson, and Earl Timberlake.

Can USC nab either Green or Ambrose?

It is going to be difficult, but I believe that the Trojans can convince Green to come to Los Angeles. Oregon and Memphis are widely seen as the favorites for Green’s services, but USC has been gaining momentum recently. Green will make his decision on Christmas Day.

USC has made Ambrose one of its top priorities. However, Ambrose doesn’t sound as excited about the Trojans as he does about Arkansas, Dayton, or NC State. So, I would say that the Trojans have about a 10-15% chance of securing his services. Ambrose is slated to make his decision in early November.

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The Trojans are also extremely interested in Moody, Williams, Maker, Jaylen Clark, Mwani Wilkinson, Tari Easton, and Bradley Ezewiro. Clark is expected to pick the Trojans, and USC is believed to have a perfect shot at picking up a commitment from Williams.