After a first-round exit for both USC men’s and women’s basketball, I am already looking forward to the future and what type of talent coaches Andy Enfield and Lindsey Gottlieb are bringing in.
Five-Star Point Guard Isaiah Collier
USC men’s basketball’s shining star in this year’s recruiting cycle, Collier, may elevate this USC team to a whole new level next year. Collier is the No. 1 overall recruit in this year’s high school class and he will have fans at Galen Center on their feet all of next year. Collier is 6 foot 3 and 180 pounds of pure, raw athleticism. Collier is a shifty guard who can get up and down in a matter of seconds and throw it down on a defender. Collier is described as one of the best passers in the class of 2023 and is always looking to make his teammates better.
This past year, Collier led Wheeler High School to a 27-7 record and a Georgia state championship, averaging 20.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game. Collier racked up awards after that, including a Nike Hoop Summit invitation, McDonald’s All American game invitation, McDonald’s All American game MVP and was named Naismith Boys Basketball Player of the Year.
The backcourt of Collier and Boogie Ellis will arguably be one of the best in the nation and will have Galen Center rocking all year.
Four-Star Forward Arrinten Page
Collier’s main partner in crime will be his high school teammate Arrinten Page. Page is a 6-foot-9, 220-pound forward who, like I said, played for Wheeler High School alongside Collier. Page was ranked the No. 55 overall recruit in the country and is going way under the radar as far as highly touted recruits go.
Page can stretch the floor well for a traditional big man with his ball handling and 3-point ability affecting the game a lot more than most big men. But don’t get me wrong, he is still a lob threat underneath and can dunk on anyone.
In the State Champions Invitational semifinal round — a tournament comprising some of the best state championship winning teams in the country — Page exploded for 24 points and three blocks in a win versus one of the best teams in the country, Roselle Catholic.
While he may not be the highest ranked player in USC’s class, you just have to watch the film because Page moves like a younger Evan Mobley. Just don’t be surprised if Page is a key contributor to this Trojans squad off the bench. Down the road, just know I told you so if he becomes a force to be reckoned with.
On the women’s side, the recruiting talent is just as good, if not better.
Five-Star Guard Juju Watkins
Watkins is what we in the recruiting world would call a program-changing recruit. Watkins, the No. 1 overall recruit, won the Naismith Girls Basketball Player of the Year Award along with countless other awards. Watkins will be a starter from day one and will take over as point guard on this Trojans squad.
Watkins is an all-around scorer and even dropped 60 points on her senior night. That outburst of scoring had people, including LeBron James, reposting her highlights and calling her “Hermothy.” Watkins will provide a huge boost of scoring to a USC team that, at times, struggled to put the ball in the basket.
Watkins also is a phenomenal rebounder and will fit right in with this USC team defensively as she is described as an elite defender. During her senior year, Watkins averaged 24.5 points and 10.3 rebounds.
Four-Star Guard Malia Samuels
Another great guard edition to the Trojan backcourt is Malia Samuels. Samuels is smaller, at 5 foot 6, but is extremely quick and a fantastic passer that has been praised for her one-on-one fast break ability. Once again, she is a great addition to this stifling Trojan defense as Samuels is a great defender and uses her speed to get in front of opponents.
Samuels tore her ACL before the beginning of her senior year, so she will be eager to get back on the court and contribute for the Trojans.
With all these recruits, the future for Trojan basketball is bright.