Let’s get serious. If we’re going to discuss USC basketball we’re going to talk about Andy Enfield’s wife comments about UCLA, “Wanna play slow? Go to UCLA.” Boooom! And then he swiftly glowed about his respect for “Steve” and the UCLA program. I don’t doubt his sincerity, but I also don’t fully believe the fact that he wants that spice behind closed doors. In a recent meeting a co-worker told me that if you’re going to write a marketing email that everyone is going to like you’re going to be boring. No one likes boring. No one plays for boring. So Dunk City needed to make a splash. Dunk City has to come into Los Angeles – which is UCLA’ s town – and make itself loved. To be loved, someone’s gotta hate you. Because you’re either loved, hated, or forgotten. Andy Enfield aims to not soon be forgotten.
Why I love them: This team has almost nothing going for it from the standpoint of a talented roster. This is a predicament that – in the realm of sports – not conducive to left column. USC is not going to win many ball games. But they’re winning the press conference. They’ve won a recruiting battle. And Mrs. Enfield. Pe’Shon Howard is a nice transfer and Omar Oraby is gigantic. Byron Wesley returns after a sound sophomore campaign and JT Terrell is going to shoot more often than Lane Kiffin changes jobs. Darion Clark won a title at Oak Hill Academy and arrives in LA by way of transfer from Charlotte. DJ Haley brings all seven feet of himself to the Galen Center from VCU… along with his 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game. So many nice parts, right?
Why I hate them: Ever asked someone how their date went and they say, “Good time. He was nice.” Yeah, game over. Nothing good is ever nice and everything inside the Galen Center just feels nice. JT Terrell is stoked to be let loose as an athlete (“Been a lot of people getting dunked on in practice”) as I imagine everyone else is. But when two of your greatest assets – at least on paper – are seven-plus footers (Oraby and Haley), well then your run-n-gun, up-tempo offense wouldn’t seem to have the right pieces. I’m excited about USC’s direction, but it’s just really nice right now.
Stat you need to know:
Andy Enfield’s time on stage at Pac-12 Media Day. Worth noting, Steve Alford’s time on stage was 14:54:45. Who’s faster?
“We play up-tempo basketball here. If you want to play slow, go to UCLA.” – Andy Enfield’s quote that ain’t going anywhere.
Outlook: I suppose it’s a loaded question because, amongst all of the teams we’ve previewed, in the long term USC has the greatest ceiling. Or at least they’ve got the best opportunity to become a regular dancer. They’re sure as shit not there yet. Katin Reinhardt is riding the pine and won’t take the court until Jordan McLaughlin arrives on campus. 2013-14 won’t be easy to swallow in the Galen Center but neither was Bozo Ball. Did you know that one of KO’s USC teams had the 335th best offense in the nation (87.9 ORtg)? In a word: awful. On to the Enfield-era where offenses move like grandmas with cheetahs taped to their backs and dunks flow like 405 traffic after a SigAlert clears. You wanna play slow? Go to…