By Rich Ruben
It is hard to keep track of the comings and goings thru the transfer portal. We live in a new recruiting era, and my head is spinning. Andy Enfield might have a daily migraine.
The Trojans lost a good JC player, KJ Allen, who has committed to Texas Tech. Last fall he said he was 100% committed to the Trojans and it may be that USC came to the conclusion he would not be academically admitted; or he may simply have changed his mind. Either way he would have been very valuable to next season’s team and beyond.
At roughly the same time the best potential replacement, All-Pac-12 forward Timmy Allen committed to Texas from the transfer portal. Allen was Utah’s best player for the past two seasons and a good offensive player inside 15 feet and a very good rebounder for his size.
With these moves, where does this leave the Trojans? They have two good size wings in Drew Peterson and Max Agbonkpolo, and are still waiting for Isaiah White’s decision on whether to return. USC also has four front court players with the return of Chevez Goodwin. He joins three very inexperienced players, Josh Morgan, Boubacar Coulibaly and Harrison Hornery and are waiting on Isaiah Mobley’s decision. If nether of the Isaiahs return, the Trojans will need at least one more player either to play in the front court or who can play inside and out.
There are plenty of players still in the portal. I will venture to guess that if Allen was unable to enroll due to academic deficiencies, the Trojan staff has already been looking for a replacement. If instead Allen simply changed his mind, the staff will have more work to do.
Unlike the most recent season, the Trojans will have many backcourt options. Ethan Anderson and Boogie Ellis have played two years in college, and three highly regarded guards come in. Reese Waters played very limited minutes after graduating high school early and enrolling mid season. He practiced with the team beginning the first of the year and will have an advantage over his classmates, Malik Thomas and Kobe Johnson. Drew can also play at guard if needed, and the backcourt will have a lot of talent.
Looking at the portal in a cold manner, the Trojans traded up by getting Ellis and losing Baumann. We will have to wait to see if there is another front court addition which will definitely be needed if needed one of the Isaiahs doesn’t return. Since Mobley will likely not make a decision for a couple of months, I look for the Trojans to add a player who can be counted on to provide some offense in the front court.
One final note: Though he doesn’t get a lot of attention from fans or the media, I’m high on Boubacar’s upside. I’m not sure how much he will be able to contribute this season, but look for him to breakout over the next two seasons.
Stay tuned for what happens next.