This was set to be an offseason of transition for USC basketball, as the Trojans were set to lose multiple mainstay seniors, two grad transfers and a one-and-done star. But it feels like there has been non-stop roster movement for the Trojans this week.
USC officially lost freshman Onyeka Okongwu to the NBA Draft earlier this week. The Trojans also landed a recruiting twofer as grad transfer shooting guard Tahj Eaddy committed to USC the same day the Trojans landed a commitment from 2021 four-star shooting guard Reese Dixon-Waters.
That combination happened again on Friday, as USC landed a commitment from another in-state four-star shooting guard in the 2021 class, as Malik Thomas (La Verne, Calif./Damien) announced his pledge. And while the Trojans won’t have his services next season, USC did add another potentially pivotal piece to its 2020 season, as grad transfer Isaiah White committed to USC.
The 6-foot-7, 205-pound guard also attended Damien High School before spending to years at Salt Lake Community College, and then the past two years at Utah Valley.
White averaged 8.5 points per game his first season at Utah Valley, then led the Wolverines with 14.5 points and 8.4 rebounds this past season. While he isn’t a great three-point threat, having hit just 22% this past season, his 137 free throw attempts were just six fewer than Okongwu had this past season, as the team leader in that stat.
USC is in need of scoring and rebounding, and that will come with a veteran presence in White, which is also something this roster could use.
With seniors Nick Rakocevic, Jordan Mathews, Daniel Utomi and Quinton Adlesh exhausting their eligibility, Okongwu gone from the middle, and point guard Kyle Sturdivant in the transfer portal, there are more than a few holes to fill in the starting lineup and depth needed just about everywhere. That leaves guards Ethan Anderson and Elijah Weaver, and big men Isaiah Mobley and Max Agbonkpolo as the only returning players who appeared in more than two games last season.
The Trojans will get a boost as transfer Noah Baumann and his career 45.7% mark from three-point range will be eligible to play. The arrival of five-star true freshman Evan Mobley should ease some of the sting of losing Okongwu, but finding another big man in the transfer portal could still be on the table.