Superteams in the sport of basketball are not uncommon to see, but they are special, and one may be developing at the University of Southern California.
Shooting guard Bronny James is one of the best players entering college basketball this upcoming season. James, however, might be most famous for being the son of 19-time NBA All-Star and current Los Angeles Laker forward LeBron James. After a solid high school basketball career and an extensive search, Bronny is staying home to play for the USC Trojans. James made a hard commitment to play for the Trojans on May 6.
James is the second five-star prospect from the 2023 recruiting class to have either signed or commited to the Trojans. He is set join his fellow five-star prospect and the top-ranked ranked player of the 2023 recruiting class, point guard Isaiah Collier from Marietta, Georgia. Collier signed his letter of intent to play the Trojans early on November 9, 2022.
Another high-profile name starting at USC this fall is Washington State grad transfer DJ Rodman, son of Dennis Rodman. This past season at Washington State was his best in his collegiate career, when he played in 31 games while starting 30 of them. He averaged 9.6 points shooting 46.2% of field goals, with a three-point shooting percentage of 38.1% and a free-throw percentage of 79.2%. Rodman also averaged 5.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 0.7 steals per game. Much like his father, Rodman is a fiery and tenacious defender and a solid role player.
To add the cherry on top for an already stacked and dynamic team, the Trojans will return their leading scorer in Boogie Ellis. Last season, Ellis averaged 17.7 points per game shooting 43.4% of field goals successfully and 38.6% from the three-point arc. He also averaged 3.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.4 steals in his 33 games he played and started for the Trojans.
The Trojans will have a different set of leaders as they look to be national championship contender this upcoming season. But first, the Trojans will aim to be PAC-12 Conference Tournament Champions for the first time since 2009.
This is the latest superteam to be created at the collegiate level. There is going to be a lot of of preseason hype for the Trojans based on the addition of three stars, including James and Collier. There have been a few teams that attracted attention during the preseason within the past couple of years, but there is a solid chance that USC will be closer to the superteam label than any others as the season gets closer.
One of the most recent memories of a superteam in college basketball were the 2014-2015 Kentucky Wildcats, coached by John Calipari with players on a loaded roster including forward Karl-Anthony Towns, guard Devin Booker, forward Willie Cauley-Stein and guard Aaron Harrison. The Wildcats won 38 consecutive game and made it as far the final four of the 2015 March Madness Tournament, where they lost to the Wisconsin Badgers 71-64. This gave the Wildcats their first and only loss of the season and the loss to the Badgers was one of the most shocking outcomes in the history of college basketball.
It is too early to tell if the 2022-2023 Trojans will have the same potential as the 2014-2015 Wildcats, but they are showing they have the talent. The Wildcats didn't have the feel of the superteam label until they were halfway through the regular season and going into the tournament.
Regardless, the Trojans look to be a fun team to watch after the fall of some of college basketball's blue bloods. Bronny could just like his father, but LeBron didn't play at the collegiate level. Collier will be the immediate star addition to the team as the number one recruit. Rodman will look to create his own legacy and potentially follow in the footsteps of his own father to the pros. Finally, this team will have the leadership and experience of Ellis.
It will be up to Andy Enfield, who is going into his 11th season as head coach, to lead the team to its first championship in program history. Remember, the Trojans' biggest rival in the University of California at Los Angeles Bruins have 11 NCAA Tournament titles.