The head coach of the USC Trojans is Andy Enfield. Last season, it was not. Leading the Trojans was Kevin O'Neill. He is gone now. While it is never a good thing to hope that someone gets fired (it still is their job and how they provide for their families), it seemed that there were some that were very happy that Kevin O'Neill, the person, was getting fired.
After the removal of O'Neill, Bob Cantu took over as interim head coach. Cantu ran a much faster pace than the plodding snails O'Neill raced against his players.
Enfield wants to have that up-tempo offense as well. "We play up-tempo basketball here. If you want to play slow, go to UCLA."
You may remember Enfield from "Dunk City" in the NCAA Tournament last season. He led Florida Gulf Coast to two wins and into the Sweet Sixteen as a major Cinderella from a 15th seed. Most of us (myself included) had never heard of Enfield before those games. Now he is head coach at USC.
Also, Andy Enfield is married to a model. Lane Kiffin is also married a model, but that guy got fired so... wait, he's still married to an insanely hot woman.
This is the two of them:
I feel dirty.
What, basketball? Shoot, yeah. Uuummmm. There is this guy named O.J. Mayo. What? He is gone? Crap.
What happened last season?
"He had been told that he needed to make the NCAA tournament in order to see his expiring contract renewed, and the team's 7-10 record on the heels of last year's 6-26 finish made it clear that wasn't happening."
The head coach got fired, that's what happened.
Interestingly enough, O'neill was fired after a win against Utah. Yes, it is Utah, but a win is a win nonetheless.
Probably the best player on the Trojans last season was transfer Eric Wise. He had one year of eligibility after transferring from UC Irvine, similar to Perris Blackwell this season. Wise led the team in scoring, and was second in rebounding. Leading USC in rebounding was DeWayne Dedmon. Dedmon was a junior last season but left school early to enter the NBA Draft due to some legal issues coming back to school. Dedmon is still with the Golden State Warriors as an undrafted free agent at this time.
Jio Fontan ran point for USC last season, and will be gone this season. That means the leading scorer, rebounder, and playmaker all graduate from a team that went 9-9 in conference play.
Leading the team this season is going to be sweet-shooting senior guard JT Terrell. The 6-3 Terrell led the Pac-12 in three-pointers made last season in-conference with 2.5, to go along with shooting 40 percent from deep in conference. His game isn't limited to just shooting. He has the athletic ability to drive to the basket and finish with authority.
That dunk was voted best in the Pac-12 Tournament. Also, something that Terrell excels in is getting to the free throw line. He had over three attempts per game in his lone season at Wake Forest. He spent more time behind the arc in this last season. It was probably a byproduct of the offensive scheme and how he was used that caused him to have fewer attempts in 2012-13.
Omar Oraby is another senior returning for his final season. Oraby began his collegiate career at Rice, where he played for two seasons before transferring to USC. Oraby is a very big man: he stands at 7-2 and weighs in at 270 lbs. He is a force to move around in the middle. Last season he did play only 14 minutes per game, expect that number to increase.
As should be expected of any player that is 7-2, Oraby is a very good shot blocker. He sends back over ten percent of opponent's shot attempts when he is on the floor. This is someone that opposing offenses have to look out for, when he is on the floor.
The last impact player returning for USC is junior guard Byron Wesley. Wesley greatly improved at least one thing between the 2011-12 season and this last one: shooting the ball. He attempted nine total three-point attempts as a freshman. Last year he shot 40 percent from deep on 58 attempts. His free throw shooting also saw a 20 percent bump as well.
He still earned a lot of playing time his freshman season, and still averaged almost ten points per game. It goes to show that shooting is not his only skill. He is able to slash into the paint as well as shoot. As a freshman, he also was playing 65 minutes per game. He is good, and he plays a lot. Look out for Wesley. I predict a breakout for him.
Sophomore Chass Bryant also received a little bit of playing time last season. He brings a strong defensive intensity that may earn him some minutes.
Who is coming in?
D.J. Haley is someone coming in who can make an impact right off the bat. He transferred from VCU (Shaka Smart is one of the best coaches in college basketball) because VCU didn't have the Master's program that he wanted. Since he finished his undergraduate degree in three years, he is eligible to play this season.
Haley is an athletic and agile big man (7-0) who specializes in running the floor. Sounds perfect for the offense that Enfield is bringing in to USC. He is a decent rebounder, but didn't get very many minutes last season, so the numbers aren't completely reliable.
There may be other players who make an impact, but looking at the team right now, these are the main guys to look at for the upcoming season for USC. Terrell and Wesley will do the scoring, Haley will team up with Oraby to dominate the middle and the boards, while I have no idea who will be running point guard. Regardless, Enfield has brought some buzz to USC basketball that hasn't been there in a while.