A collection of injuries to the USC lineup lately created a gap for Bronny James to make his first collegiate start at Colorado on Saturday evening. Starters Joshua Morgan, Boogie Ellis and Isaiah Collier have been sidelined, so Trojans coach Andy Enfield added the son of NBA star LeBron James to his beginning 5.
Nevertheless, the absence of Morgan (averaging 2.3 blocks per sport), veteran Ellis and projected first-round NBA draft pick Collier took its toll, and the Trojans went into the CU Occasions Heart — which sits at an elevation of 5,430 toes because the fifth-highest venue in faculty basketball — and squandered a 13-point halftime result in lose 68-58. It was additionally a chilly evening for James, who completed 0-for-7 with simply two rebounds and one help.
With the defeat, the Trojans at the moment are 8-9 (2-4 Pac-12) with a NET rating within the 90s. They may want a serious turnaround to earn a spot within the NIT. The NCAA match just isn’t but a sound dialog for Enfield’s program.
And but James, who performed 25 minutes Saturday evening, continues to display his progress, in addition to among the challenges he’s navigating. It is also essential to notice that the competition in Boulder was solely his ninth sport as a Division I participant. Nonetheless, USC will want extra from the freshman — and all the roster, actually — to alter its present trajectory.
Right here, we break down what we realized about Bronny James the starter and USC with out its star gamers.
James makes key play simply minutes into matchup
With 17:31 to play within the first half, James drew an offensive foul on KJ Simpson, Colorado’s main scorer. It was additionally Simpson’s second foul of the sport, sending him to the bench till across the 14-minute mark. Because of these two early fouls, Simpson performed the remainder of the primary half extra cautiously than he sometimes does and was 2-for-6 from the sphere going into the break.
James efficiently defended Simpson on a number of possessions and continued to show himself as a participant keen to make hustle performs, which could not earn a point out on “SportsCenter” however nonetheless impression the sport.
Cody Williams blocks Bronny James’ layup try
Cody Williams makes a pleasant defensive play with this swat on Bronny James’ shot try.
Must work on his assertiveness
James likes to defer, and he had good purpose to try this at the beginning of the sport. His teammates, together with Oziyah Sellers, helped USC go on an early run to finish the primary half up 37-24. However two of James’ early pictures have been blocked in what was an 0-for-5 begin for the freshman. He’s nonetheless looking for his offensive position for this group.
Saturday’s contest was an opportunity for James to showcase his full ability set that had made him a top-20 highschool recruit, however he did not play with the aggression that might have allowed him to try this. It is clear he’s nonetheless looking for the stability between getting his teammates concerned, which he does nicely, and growing his scoring output.
Regardless of struggles, he confirmed promise with constant vitality
James missed his first seven pictures, and his group could not shake its scoring drought within the second half, both, beginning 3-for-15 from the sphere after the break. Nevertheless, James by no means appeared to lose confidence. This issues, particularly for a freshman. He continued to assault within the second half, and his defensive depth by no means waned whilst Colorado ran away with the scoring and ultimately gained by double digits.