Southern Cal's Fresh Faces Are Seeking A Fresh Start

A fresh start can be uplifting, as USC basketball aims to find out with its Aug. 6-16 tour of Spain and France.

The Trojans begin their three-game trip in Barcelona. That’s where the basketball world gets its first look at a revamped cardinal-and-gold lineup, welcoming six 2019 newcomers.

Headliners of the new corps—ranked No. 6 overall in the country—are 5-star prospects Isaiah Mobley and Onyeka Okongwu. USC also officially debuts 4-star recruit Max Agbonkpolo on the European swing.

The impressive freshman trio all signed with USC coach Andy Enfield from high schools in southern California. Mobley shined for national powerhouse Rancho Christian in Temecula; Okongwu comes from Chino Hills; and Agbonkpolo starred at Santa Margarita Catholic in Orange County.

USC’s impressive recruiting haul hits a reset button of starts after a disappointing two years for the program. The Trojans won a pair of games in the 2017 NCAA Tournament, and with a veteran roster returning for the following season, were tabbed in the preseason Top 10.

Despite winning 23 games in the regular season, and reaching the championship of the Pac-12 Tournament, a rocky start and the overall struggles of the conference relegated USC to the NIT. A talented squad in 2018-19 finished below .500, 16-17, after a bevy of injuries.

A fresh, athletic—and hopefully healthy—USC team figures to challenge in a wide-open Pac-12 in 2019-20, however. And Enfield has more than a kiddie corps on which to rely.

The new blood also includes swingman Daniel Utomi, a graduate transfer from Akron and double-figure scorer in each of the previous two campaigns. Utomi’s skill set should pair nicely with that of one of the Trojans’ cornerstone returners, Jonah Matthews.

Utomi is an effective 3-point shooter, last season knocking better than 37 percent on 232 attempts. Combined with Matthews, who shot north of 39 percent in 2018-19, opposing defenses will have to honor the long ball.

And if there’s any clear benefit to tipping off the season in Europe, it’s the early introduction that tandem will have to the FIBA 3-point lines, which the NCAA voted to adopt this season.

Enfield’s career-long emphasis on spreading the floor offensively could come to fruition with this USC bunch. The roster features a potential combination of players adept at all phases, with Mobley a dangerous slasher, and returning center Nick Rakocevic back to bang on the inside with Okongwu.

Okongwu’s USC debut in Europe continues a busy summer for the promising prospect. He reunited with former Chino Hills teammate LaMelo Ball at Los Angeles’ famed Drew League in June. 

Although not arriving at USC with the same fanfare as the highly rated recruiting class, a possible key to the season -- and someone to keep an eye on during the European tour -- is graduate transfer Quinton Adlesh.

Adlesh comes from Columbia, taking over a spot guard spot where Jordan McLaughlin still casts a long shadow. McLaughlin graduated in 2018, having set a bevy of records for his passing.

With as much talent as Enfield promises to throw on the floor, an effective distributor managing touches could prove critical for the Trojans.

Prince Aligbe Exploded On The Under Armour Circuit This Summer

Prince Aligbe had a breakout summer running with Grassroots Sizzle 17U team on the Under Armour circuit. 

Q&A With Bryant's KK Robinson

This summer was a huge one for KK Robinson. The six-foot point guard picked up several offers and showed the Nike EYBL circuit that he is for real. 

Shakeel Moore Has Set His First Official Visit

Three-star prospect Shakeel Moore has set his first official visit: NC State.Moore burst onto the scene this year and announced his transfer to in-state powerhouse Moravian Prep, who figures to be among the top programs in the nation.Moore says that NC State, Providence, Saint Louis, Ole Miss, Pittsburgh, DePaul, Notre Dame, South Florida, Tulsa and Seton Hall, are each heavily involved in his recruitment process at the moment.Moore intends to trim his list later this month.

How to Watch: NCAA Foreign Tours

Every 4 years, college programs can travel abroad and FloHoops has you covered! 

Hoyas Head To The Bahamas For Foreign Tour

Patrick Ewing’s illustrious playing career at Georgetown produced three Final Fours in four years and a national championship. As head coach, Ewing leads a promising Hoyas team in pursuit of its first NCAA Tournament, taking their first steps of the 2019-20 season Aug. 10-17 in the Bahamas.

Josh Hall's Stock Is Soaring After Re-Classification

Josh Hall has scheduled two official visits. The five-star prospect from the 2020 class, formerly of the 2019 class, will visit Louisville officially on Sept. 1.

After Magical Run, Texas Tech Returns To The Hardwood At Atlantis

From the wooded north of Minnesota, to the tropical paradise that is the Bahamas, Texas Tech basketball takes its first steps to a Final Four return Aug. 12 at Atlantis.

Fight Prep: Xavier Gears Up For Big East With Trip To Spain

Big East basketball promises to be a fight in 2019-20, with any number of members having the pieces to go into the season considered a championship contender. In a conference as strong top-to-bottom as it, every time on the court counts.

Before Myles Powell Vies For The Naismith, He Leads Pirates On Foreign Tour

Want a sneak peek at college basketball’s Player of the Year for 2019-20? Tune into FloHoops for Seton Hall’s tour of Italy, and you just might get your wish.