In the middle of the first half of the 82-74 victory for USC against California in the third quarter on Wednesday Bronny James, the Trojans famous freshman, gave the team’s first highlight. After a steal by Isaiah Collier, James sprinted through the air in transition. From just beyond the three-point line Collier made a flip to the rim that James took in mid-air and threw down an acrobatic two-handed slam.
Five months after suffering a heart attack that was near fatal, James, 19 is still working his way back to his former. On Saturday James recorded a record-setting 15 points in an defeat against Oregon State. The following day, James, the oldest son of Lakers LeBron James added 10 points shooting 4-for-6 with three assists.
“He’s developing as a player,” said USC coach Andy Enfield. “It’s pleasing to observe it, and enjoyable to watch.”While James is contributing offensively however, his defense has been a standout. James had one steal, however, he recorded four deflections during the first half, consistently disrupting the half-court offense of Cal. “He’s very active with his feet and his hands,” Enfield said. Enfield. “He’s strong and he anticipates well.” As Cal taking away USC’s lead in the second period, Enfield reinserted James, who was on a minute restriction, for the last 93 seconds.
“Just his anticipation,” Trojans guard Kobe Johnson said of James’s defense. “He is aware of that passes will exactly the correct place at the right moment. He is active with his hands. This is what you need when you’re a defensive. He’s very intelligent. He can tell when not to bet, and when to gamble. It’s nice to have someone who is able to stop the opponent’s top player is great to be able to.”
The victory on Wednesday has was a major boost for USC down to .500 which is a poor performance for an team who started the season with high expectations. In the game on Wednesday Enfield admitted that he was responsible for the Trojans with their heavy, road-based early-season schedule. Enfield has pushed the players their defense in top form and keep the turnovers under control in the midst of USC starts the stretch of three consecutive home games.
“I know there was a lot of expectations,” Johnson admitted. Johnson. “We all read on the internet, and what peoplesay about us, about how wonderful we’re supposed to be. We’re simply going to play our part. We’re all aware of how great we are. We’re one big family here. Whatever happens, we’ll keep the same group. We’re going to just continue to play. I believe we’re beginning to become the team. I think the next couple of games will be extremely good.”An increasingly productive James will assist. Enfield claimed there was no timetable specific regarding the lifting of James’s time limit and describing the decision as to lift the restriction a “week-by-week type thing.” Johnson however, claims that he has confidence of James improving each day in training. The back-to-back games that have been strong are only the beginning.
“He’s starting to be more confident as a player and he’s starting to play his game,” Johnson declared. “He’s getting into his groove and is becoming the player everyone believes he is. It’s fantastic having him.