USC Men's Basketball Opens With California Baptist Tomorrow
USC will be opening the 2020-21 men's basketball season by hosting California Baptist at the Galen Center on Nov. 25 at 6 p.m. The game will air on the Pac-12 Network and J.B. Long and Don MacLean will be calling the action. Jordan Moore once again will be painting the picture on KABC Radio 790 AM.
THE 2020-21 TROJANS - The USC men's basketball team will have a new look for the 2020-21 season as the strong sophomore core of Ethan Anderson, Isaiah Mobley and Max Agbonkpolo will be joined by eight new players which includes a consensus top three recruit in Evan Mobley and Noah Baumann who redshirted last season following his transfer from San Jose State. The 2020-21 Trojans will be a team with many interchangeable parts and feature players who can guard multiple positions. USC has won 109 games over the last five seasons, the winningest five-year stretch in school history and the 2020-21 Trojans look to continue the upward trend.
ROSTER BREAKDOWN -- There are a total of 16 players on the 2020-21 USC men's basketball roster. The Trojan team by class are: Seniors (4): McKay Anderson (G), Tahj Eaddy (G), Chevez Goodwin (F), Isaiah White (G); Juniors (5): Noah Baumann (G), Talin Lewis (G), Reggie Parris (G), Drew Peterson (G), Amar Ross (G); Sophomores (5):Max Agbonkpolo (F), Ethan Anderson (G), Drake London (G), Isaiah Mobley (F), Josh Morgan (F); Freshman (2): Boubacar Coulibaly (F), Even Mobley (F).
YOU WILL BE MISSED... -- The Trojans have re-loaded and are anxious to continue the program's upward surge, but there is no doubt that this edition will be a different team. Gone are All-Pac-12 and now NBA forward Onyeka Okongwu (16.2 ppg, 8.6 rpg) and a pair ot four-year players in all-time USC three-point baskets leader Jonah Mathews (13.4 ppg and 247 career 3-pointers made) and second all-time rebounder Nick Rakocevic (10.5 ppg, 923 career rebounds). In all, 8 of the 11 Trojans to score a point in the 2019-20 season are no longer on the roster. All that means is the new edition of the Trojan cagers will be called upon to replace 80.6 percent of the scoring, 76.4 percent of the rebounding and 74.7 percent of the minutes played
RECAP OF THE 2019-20 SEASON -- The 2019-20 Trojans went 22-9 and led the Pac-12 in rebounding and were among the Conference's top teams in blocks, scoring defense and defensive field goal percentage. USC seemed to be just hitting its stride heading to the postseason as winners of five of its last seven games and finishing tied for third in Pac-12 play at 11-7 before the season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. USC led all Pac-12 teams in Conference play in points allowed and field goal percentage defense.
USC IN HOME OPENERS - USC is 21-4 in its last 25 home openers, defeating FAMU 77-48 to start the 2019-20 season. USC has won 11 of its last 12 home openers. USC is 79-35 all-time in season openers.
TROJANS HOST CALIFORNIA BAPTIST IN OPENER -- USC will open the 2020-21 season by hosting Cal Baptist at the Galen Center on November 25. The Lancers were 21-10 during the 2019-20 season and finished second in the Western Athletic Conference. California Baptist under head coach Rick Croy is 169-54 and has won 20 or more games six of his seven seasons guiding the program. Brendan Wheeler, the Director of Player Development for the Lancers, served as a graduate assistant at USC for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons. Redshirt junior guard Ty Rowell is the Lancers top returning scorer at 8.1 points per game in eight contests before his season was cut short due to injury. California Baptist has also had virtually an entire roster overhaul from last season. This will be the first meeting ever between USC and the Lancers.
TROJANS TO PLAY AT THE LEGENDS CLASSIC - USC will be playing in the 2020 Legends Classic, held at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn. from Dec. 1-3. USC will open up taking on BYU on Dec. 1. The winner of that game will face the winner of the UConn/Vanderbilt game in a contest on Dec. 3, with the other two teams playing that day also. BYU was 24-8 during the 2019-20 season and won its last nine regular season games. The Cougars lost five of their top seven scoring leaders from that team and senior guard Alex Barcello is the top returning scorer at 9.3 points per game. USC is 7-3 all-time against BYU, winning the last contest 91-84 on Dec. 3, 2016. UConn was 19-12 during the 2019-20 season and its top returning scorer is sophomore James Bouknight at 13.0 points per game. Vanderbilt was 11-21 and its top returning scorer from last season is sophomore guard Scotty Pippen Jr. at 12.0 points per game. .
MOBLEY GETTING NOTICED - USC freshman forward Evan Mobley has been racking up the preseason honors being named to the NABC Player of the Year Watch List, the Naismith Trophy Watch List, the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award Watch List and to the Pac-12 Media All-Conference First Team.
THE HEIGHT OF SUCCESS -- USC hopes that height translates into success as eight players on the roster are 6-7 or taller.
EADDY CLOSING IN ON 1,000 CAREER POINTS - USC graduate transfer guard Tahj Eaddy has scored 990 career points entering the opener vs. California Baptist.