USC Men's Basketball To Open The Season Hosting CSUN Tuesday
THE 2021-22 TROJANS -- The USC Trojans return six of their top eight scorers from the 2020-21 team which went 25-8, finished second in the Pac-12 by percentage points and advanced to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight. Gone are leading scorers Evan Mobley (NBA) and Tahj Eaddy (graduated), but back are forwards Isaiah Mobley, Chevez Goodwin and Max Agbonkpolo and guards Ethan Anderson, Drew Peterson and Isaiah White, almost all logging over 500 minutes of action last season. In all, 11 players return and the Trojans have added transfer guard Boogie Ellis, the AAC Co-Sixth Man of the Year and three new freshmen, including California Gatorade Player of the Year guard Malik Thomas.
WINNING WAYS - USC has a 47-17 record the last two seasons which ranks third among all of the schools in the six power basketball conferences (ACC, SEC, Big Ten, Big 12,AAC and the Pac-12). The Trojans went 25-8 during the 2020-21 season and have won 20 or more games in five of the last six seasons under Andy Enfield. The 25 wins last season were tied for the second most in school history, one behind the USC record of 26 wins set in 2017 (26-10). USC's 134 wins over the past six seasons is tied for 15th among all of the Power 6 conference schools.
ROSTER BREAKDOWN - There are a total of 16 players on the 2021-22 USC men's basketball roster. The Trojan team by class are: Seniors (5): Chevez Goodwin (F), Reggie Parris (G), Drew Peterson (G), Amar Ross (G), Isaiah White (G); Juniors (5): Max Agbonkpolo (F), Ethan Anderson (G), Boogie Ellis (G), Isaiah Mobley (F), Josh Morgan (F); Sophomores (2): Boubacar Coulibaly (F), Zach Brooker (G); Freshman (4): Harrison Hornery (F), Kobe Johnson (F), Malik Thomas (G), Reese Dixon-Waters (G).
FACING CSUN - The CSUN Matadors are under the direction of interm head coach Trent Johnson and feature eight newcomers to the squad which went 9-13 in the 2020-21 season. Point guard Darious Brown II, an All-Big West secont-team performer last season, averaged 10.5 points and 5.2 assists last season, while finishing fifth in the nation in assists to turnover ratio (3.6). USC is 7-1 all-time against CSUN, with the last meeting being a 96-61 win at the Galen Center on Nov. 23, 2015.
USC IN HOME OPENERS - USC is 22-4 in its last 26 home openers, defeating Cal Baptist 95-87 in overtime to start the 202-21 season. USChas won 12 of its last 13 home openers. USC is 80-35 all-time in season openers.
THE UNICORN HAS LEFT, BUT THE STABLE IS FULL -- 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 is Evan Mobley who averaged 16.4 points and 8.7 rebounds last season and became the first Pac-12 player ever to win the Pac-12's Player of the Year, Freshman of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season. Also gone is Tahj Eaddy who was named 2021 second team All-Pac-12 while averaging 13.6 points and making 66 three-point baskets. Isaiah Mobley is USC's top returning scorer, averaging 9.9 points last season and his 233 rebounds are second among returning conference players. Drew Peterson averaged 9.8 points and 5.0 rebounds in his first season with USC, starting 30 of 33 games. Isaiah White started 28 games and averaged 7.6 points per game, while leading USC iwth 31 steals. Guard Ethan Anderson was slowed by a back injury last season, but did manage to average 5.7 points and 2.7 assists in 25 games. Forwards Chevez Goodwin (5.6 ppg/3.5 rpg) and Max Agbonkpolo (3.9 ppg/2.6 rpg) also return.
2020-21 RECAP -- USC went 25-8 during the 2020-21 season and advanced to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight before falling to championship finalist and then undefeated Gonzaga. It was USC's fourth Elite Eight run and first since 2001 and its No. 6 seed in the Tournament was its highest since being the same in 2008. The Trojans also went 15-5 in Pac-12 play to finish second, percentage points behind Oregon (14-4) who it defeated in the regular season and in the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16. USC was ranked No. 9 in the final Coaches Poll of the season, its highest final ranking ever.
USC's NBA DRAFT SUCCESS CONTINUES -- Evan Mobley was selected No. 3 overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2021 NBA Draft. He becmae the fifth Trojan ever selected in the top 10 of the draft. Only USC and Florida State have had a player taken in the top 10 in each of the last two NBA Drafts and only USC, FSU, Kentucky and North Carolina have had at least one first-round selection in each of the last three NBA Drafts. USC currently has 10 players on 2021-22 NBA rosters.
MOBLEY NAMED TO THE KARL MALONE WATCH LIST - USC forward Isaiah Mobley was named to the 20-man watch list for the Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award, it was announced by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hal of Fame on Oct. 28. The award honors the top power forwards in Division I basketball as determined by a national committee of tob college basketball personel.
MOBLEY ALSO NAMED TO THE LUTE OLSON AWARD PLAYER OF THE YEAR WATCH LIST - Isaiah Mobley was named to the 40-man watch list for the 2021-22 Lute Olson National Player of the Year award on Nov. 4. The award is presented annually to the top player in Division I basketbll, in honor ot Hall of Fame coach Lute Olson.
PAC-12 PRESEASON RECOGNITION - Isaiah Mobley was named to the 2021-22 Pac-12 preseason first team and Boogie Ellis was named to the conference's second team.