Welcome to The Sports Bank’s fourth annual college basketball season preview series where we break 111 teams in the 111 days leading up to the opening tip-off of the 2013-2014 season. We will rank the 84 power conference teams (including the new Big East and American Athletic Conferences) and top 27 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order. We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.
Andy Enfield cashed in on Florida Gulf Coast’s Sweet 16 run by parlaying that success into the head coaching job for the USC Trojans. He will face the daunting challenge of re-building the USC program that should take its share of bumps this season.
Last Season: T-6th, 9-9 in Pac-12, 14-18 overall
Predicted Pac-12 Finish: 11th
Projected Depth Chart
C: Omar Oraby (Sr)
PF: Ari Stewart (Sr)/Strahinja Gavrilovic (So)/Nikola Jovanovic (Fr)
SF: Byron Wesley (Jr)/Roschon Prince (Fr)
SG: J.T. Terrell (Sr)/Kahlil Dukes (Fr)
PG: Chass Bryan (So)/Brendyn Taylor (So)/Julian Jacobs (Fr)
Gone: PF-Eric Wise, PG-Jio Fontan, PF-Aaron Fuller, C-DeWayne Dedmon, C-James Blasczyk, F-Renaldo Woolridge, SG-Greg Allen
Enfield will rely heavily on returning starting wings J.T. Terrell and Byron Wesley. Terrell is a volume shooter who has never met a jumper he hasn’t liked while Wesley is a versatile wing who does a little bit of everything on the floor. Former Wake Forest transfer Ari Stewart had a disappointing first season at USC and needs to emerge at the power forward position after missing a good chunk of last season with a broken hand. 7-2 Omar Oraby holds down the fort inside but is pretty much a stiff big man with a somewhat competent back to the basket game.
The point guard position is a toss-up with Chass Bryan, Brendyn Taylor, and Julian Jacobs vying for the starting spot. Bryan was the backup floor general a year ago and would appear to have the leg up in the battle. Taylor was used sparingly last season as a freshman and I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see Jacobs take over the spot by the end of the year.
The thin bench is loaded with inexperienced players. Strahinja Gavrilovic barely saw the floor during his freshman year while three freshmen must add depth in the frontcourt and on the wing.
Enfield did pick up a pair of key transfers in UNLV sharpshooter Katin Reinhardt and Charlotte forward Darion Clark. Both guys must sit out this season per NCAA rules, but will add some needed experience to the roster and have three years of remaining eligibility in 2014-15.
It was painful to watch the USC Trojans offense the past couple of seasons and Enfield brings a more up-tempo style of play to So Cal that should make the team easier on the eyes. Still, USC lacks the talent this year to be anything more than a cellar dwelling team in the Pac-12.
Player to Watch: J.T. Terrell
The former Wake Forest transfer is now playing for his fourth head coach. He is a talented scorer especially from the perimeter but is known for having too quick of a trigger and pretty awful shot selection. USC needs somebody to score the basketball this year and Terrell will be asked to shoulder the load.
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/8 at Utah State
11/28 vs. Villanova (Battle 4 Atlantis)
11/29 vs. Kansas/Wake Forest (Battle 4 Atlantis)
11/30 vs. Tennessee/UTEP/Xavier/Iowa (Battle 4 Atlantis)
12/8 vs. Boston College
12/19 at Long Beach State
12/22 at Dayton
OTHER 111’S IN 111:
#95 Seton Hall
#97 George Mason
#99 Penn State
#101 West Virginia
#102 South Florida
#103 Mississippi State
#105 South Carolina
#106 Texas Tech
#108 Virginia Tech
David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu to Milwaukee. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet , AND the second most accurate 2013 NBA Mock Draft. (Yup, nearly 3peat champ… #humblebrag.)
You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.Powered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks