#38 USC Men's Basketball 2018-2019 Preview

USC Trojans
2018-2019 Overall Rank: #38
Conference Rank: #4 Pac-12
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After two straight trips to the NCAA Tournament, USC had to settle for the NIT last season. The Trojans played well in Pac-12 play, going 12-6, but the strength of schedule was not enough to get them into the NCAA Tournament. Three starters are gone and Chimezie Metu, Jordan McLaughlin and Elijah Stewart were all double digit scorers and will not be easy to replace. However, this is a pretty experienced team that has the talent to be much improved over last year’s team.
2017-18 Record: 24-12, 12-6
2017-18 Postseason: NIT
Coach: Andy Enfield
Coach Record: 94-76 at USC, 135-104 overall
Key Departed Players:
Chimezie Metu, Forward, 15.7 ppg
Jordan McLaughlin, Guard, 12.8 ppg
Elijah Stewart, Guard, 11.7 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Jonah Mathews, Junior, Guard, 9.3 ppg
Nick Rakocevic, Junior, Forward, 8.1 ppg
Bennie Boatwright, Senior, Forward, 13.6 ppg
Jordan Usher, Sophomore, Guard/Forward, 4.8 ppg
Shaqquan Aaron, Senior, Guard, 4.3 ppg
Derryck Thornton, Junior, Guard, 3.8 ppg
Victor Uyaelunmo, Sophomore, Forward, 1.4 ppg
Charles O’Bannon Jr, Sophomore, Guard, 1.3 ppg
Key New Players:
J’Raan Brooks, Freshman, Forward
Kevin Porter Jr, Freshman, Guard
Elijah Weaver, Freshman, Guard
Bennie Boatwright missed part of last season, but he is now ready to emerge as USC’s top scoring threat. After averaging 13.6 points and 6.4 rebounds, Boatwright should be in for a big senior season. Nick Rakocevic will join Boatwright in the frontcourt. The 6-11 junior is strong on the glass and is developing into a consistent interior scorer. For now the backcourt will lean on junior Jonah Mathews. He started 23 games as a sophomore and averaged 9.3 points per game while shooting 42.3 percent from beyond the arc. Sophomore Jordan Usher is a big 6-7 wing who has a lot of potential and Shaqquan Aaron and Derryck Thornton have plenty of experience. But it is freshman Kevin Porter that could dominate this backcourt. The 6-6 wing is garnering one and done attention and nobody would be surprised if he led the Trojans in scoring in 2018-2019. If Porter lives up to the hype and Boatwright is ready to replace Metu as a consistent dominating force in the paint, USC could be a surprise team in the Pac-12 and compete for a conference title.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 77.7 (70th in nation, 5th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 71.2 (147, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 47.0 (55, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 44.1 (191, 9)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.2 (112, 6)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 37.6 (55, 3)
Free-Throw Percentage: 70.6 (211, 9)
Rebound Margin: 1.0 (163, 7)
Assists Per Game: 15.8 (43, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 10.6 (15, 1)
Madness 2019 NBA Draft Rankings:
#47 Kevin Porter
#54 Bennie Boatwright
Madness 2018 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#26 Kevin Porter
#41 Elijah Weaver
#73 J'Raan Brooks