USC Men's Basketball Is Looking For Respect
December 8, 2016
What does the USC men's basketball team have to do to be recognized? The answer is, keep winning. The Trojans are 8-0 and they are coming off a 91-84 victory over BYU last Saturday at Staples Center, yet they are still on the outside looking in college basketball's top 25 rankings.
What's really surprising is USC is producing after six of their top players either transferred or left for the NBA before the 2016-17 season started. To add insult to injury one of their best players, sophomore Bennie Boatwright is out for several weeks with a knee injury but the Trojans keep on winning.
Their next game is Sunday against Pepperdine at 7 p.m. at the Galen Center on the USC campus.
When a reporter asked USC head coach Andy Enfield how has he been able to win under tough conditions, he replied after the win over BYU, "You see all of these gray hairs," Enfield hopes his team can continue to win without the 6'10 Boatwright who is an outstanding three-point shooter.
"We can still play well without Bennie but sometimes we have to play with four guards and we have to play a lot of zone defense" said Enfield.
Right now USC's starting lineup consists of three guards, 6'7 Shaqquan Aaron, 6'1 Jordan McLaughlin and 6'5 Elijah Stewart and two forwards, 6'11 Chimezie Metu and 6'11 Nick Rakocevic. They have a solid bench led by 6'9 forward Charles Buggs, 6'3 guard Jonah Mathews and 6'5 guard De'Anthony Melton.
The team leader and floor general is point guard McLaughlin. Against BYU he was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Game. He scored 24 points, grabbed six rebounds and dished out four assists.
"I just go with the flow of the game," said McLaughlin. "If I'm open I have the confidence to knock down shots. My teammates have confidence in me and we all have confidence in each other."
Enfield is also excited about the play of freshman Melton from Encino's Crespi high school. "For a freshman to come in and play like he has been playing proved that he is ready for college basketball," said Enfield. "He is strong and he is in the top 10 in the nation in steals. We recruited him as an all-around player."