Well we’re not in El Paso any more, Amanda. Ok, so the Enfields never were in El Paso but I still haven’t come down from Andy’s jab at the guy who used to have his job, Tim Floyd. Nevertheless, getting this Trojan program up to par is going to take a little more than tapping heels and repeating a wishful determination. It’s also going to take more than Katin Reinhardt. But with Byron Wesley returning…wait, he’s in Spokane playing for a national title contender? Well shit. So let’s be serious: Year 2 of the Galen Dunk Center is probably going to be a little rough. Not quite two-conference wins rough, but not a ton better.
Why I Love Them:
Look, the obvious choice is to mention Amanda Enfield. But seeing as how I didn’t disappear, I’ve got to take my own advice and drop the babe oogling. So let’s talk some round ball. Andy promises up-tempo hoops and up-tempo hoops is generally a lot of fun. He’s begun to stockpile players that can play his style – buckets-o-fun! – and now I want to mention Jordan McLaughlin. Andy swooped a local PG from UCLA’s grasp and naturally he ran his mouth (maybe that came first but I like to think that once again, behind closed doors, he said something like if you want to play slow and call your coach ‘Dad,’ go to UCLA). But now is where the rubber is going to meet the road. PG is a monster position in the Enfield system and McLaughlin is going to have to be monstrous (more in the Stat section). He’ll have a few nice pieces and Nikola is mature below his years:
nikola is old as dirt pic.twitter.com/5Y8mI5ORQP
— Adam Butler (@pachoopsab) January 5, 2014
But seriously, possible breakout player.
Why I Hate Them:
They’re just really not that good. Kevin O’Neill left a decimated roster and what was remaining had no business in the Galen Dunk Center. Make no mistake: Andy Enfield is rebuilding. And Rome was not built in a day (I’m taking pun credit here even though Trojans were Greek). So basically I still kinda hate their lineup. They’re young – a staple of rebuilding – and their only upperclassmen combined to average 5.8 points per game.
The Stat You Must Know:
Percentage of Brett Comer’s 2013 possessions that resulted in a score at the rim. Who gives a shit, you might ask? Well I do and maybe that’s why you’re here. Comer was the last PG to very successfully run Andy Enfield’s offense. He did so into the Sweet Sixteen. Last year Pe’Shon Howard produced a rim score on 39% of his possessions. The Dunk City offense needs to be dunking.
Which is going to be a segue into a USC-UCLA special segment called:
Unique Storyline I’d Like us to Monitor:
Jordan McLaughlin picked USC over UCLA. The Bruins then struck out on every other PG recruit they were aiming to bring in for the 2014 class. The Battle for Los Angeles. I’m not soon going to tell you that Jordan McLaughlin is the program changing player that will lead to USC rattling off 10 titles. But with UCLA having lots of questions in its backcourt, it’s worth noting the development and skill of McLaughlin. Winning LA talent is a major advantage to these programs and UCLA is the greater program. But sometimes the little wins can start to add up. This McLaughlin storyline might be one worth keeping an eye on as the reins are handed over to Bryce in Westwood.
Top-5 Temperatures in SoCal:
Mountain High (best possible season):
They snake a couple non-con games and start to think that they’re allowed to be good. They don’t lose by 34 to UCLA. In fact Andy gets his first win over UCLA. Katin Reinhardt, makes an efficient number of his shots (previously a 98.6 Ortg at UNLV with a knack for shooting. A lot.) and actually Dougys at mid-court after that big UCLA win. Nikola does something we all talk about and Julian Jacobs emerges as a quality P12 hoopster. These guys ain’t dancing, but faith is renewed. Amanda smiles.
Rock Bottom (worst possible season):
I mean…these babies are overwhelmed. Katin doesn’t make many shots and McLaughlin can’t harness Galen Dunk City. It’s not easy. Nikola doesn’t make quite the Fr>So leap we’d expected or hoped for and, well, it’s another year that looks something like a – dare I say – slow rebuild. But it’s still not El Paso. Amanda smiles.