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November 8, 2013

Fresh Prince of SC

The 2013-14 basketball season is finally upon us. It is certainly a fresh start for the USC men's basketball program, which will possess several new faces donning the cardinal and gold this season. Aside from the addition of head coach Andy Enfield, the Trojans' roster boasts six freshmen. One of the new kids on the block is Roschon Prince, the 2013 Gatorade High School Player of the Year (California).

The 6-foot-6 forward hails from Long Beach Poly and followed the USC team closely last season. "It was a good transition coming from Long Beach Poly to USC," Prince said. "I watched a lot of their games last year, and I looked forward to being a part of the team and contributing."

The team however was not completely foreign to Prince. In fact, he has previously played against a few of his new teammates. "A couple players on this team, I've played with before Katin [Reinhardt], Chass [Bryan], Byron [Wesley] and I knew Brendyn Taylor," he said. "They told me a lot about USC and the program, obviously they didn't know a lot about the system yet, but just about a lot of things that I can do, things that they see, and I take that into consideration."

Though Prince is adjusting well to USC on and off the court, he has already encountered the challenges of being a student-athlete.

"With school, you have to be more responsible and cite your work properly. You have to make sure that you are on top of all of your work and check in with your tutors to make sure that you're getting all of your work done," Prince said. "At this level of basketball, the speed of the game is quicker so you definitely need time to adjust to that. Also, you have to learn how to run up and down the court while communicating with your team. In college hoops, there is definitely a lot more communication on defense in terms of knowing where your man is at as well as the principles of the game."

Prince is learning quickly that it is vital to play efficiently in order to be successful in Enfield's system. "At first, it was harder because I thought we would be running kind of fast or at least that was the impression that the coaches gave at first. You just have to give extra effort," he said. "I probably could have gotten away with a lot of things last year. At USC, there is a lot more of a focus on making sure that you push yourself every day. It was a rough adjustment the first two weeks of camp, but I am learning how to go hard every play."

Since his first arrival at USC, Prince has continuously sought advice from his teammates in order to improve his game. "I have been working with the other wing players and they all have more experience than me at the collegiate level, so I am listening to what they say and taking bits and pieces of their game and putting it into my game, looking at what they do well," he said. "For instance, Katin Reinhardt is a great shooter and penetrator. He can dribble really well so I ask him what he works on. JT Terrell is a great finisher, so I want to see the drills that they do so I'll be able to play like that. Byron [Wesley] is learning how to slow his game down, pump fakes and floaters. If I could put that into my game as a freshman, I still have three more years left to keep improving, it would be great to see how well I could play coming out of USC."

Coach Andy Enfield has already taken notice to Prince's rapid improvement thus far. "Roschon has a chance to play minutes for us as a freshman. He has had a very good preseason so far. With Roschon, he's a typical freshman as he is one of the freshmen. He is learning how to play with the speed of the game and the size of the players. It is much different than high school," Enfield said. "He has done a great job in the last week trying to figure out 'ok this is how hard that I need to play at all times and even though I was one of the elite athletes in high school, now I'm in college and when I drive the lane where there's someone 6'10 there instead of 6'5,' or 7'2 in our case with Omar [Oraby]. When he drives in and sees a 7'2 man in Omar, it's a little different. I give Roschon a lot of credit. He's figuring it out and I'm very high on him. He has a ton of potential, and we expect him to keep improving."

Roschon Prince and the Trojans will venture to Logan, Utah for the season opener versus Utah State Friday night. USC hosts Cal State Northridge at Galen Center in the home opener Tuesday, Nov. 12.





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