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May 22, 2014
Stewart talks USC commitment
USC added another commitment in the 2014 class with Westchester High guard Elijah Stewart. Stewart tore it up on the court during his senior year and received interest from plenty of top programs. He originally signed with LMU but was released from his letter of intent after the school fired head coach Max Good.
The 6-foot-5 prospect chose the Trojans over a handful of top programs because USC gave him an opportunity to turn a program around.
"I like the tradition at USC," Stewart said. "It was an opportunity to turn a program around with some new players and next year we should have some good big men and guards. With what coach (Andy) Enfield did at Florida Gulf Coast, I think he can bring that style to USC and we'll get some transition buckets."
Having a chance to make a mark on a program was a big reason why USC stood out above schools like Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Oklahoma State or Creighton.
"It factored in big," Stewart said. "I could have gone somewhere to learn from a veteran team, but I've decided to step right into that role of a veteran and have the chance to possibly start my freshman year and have an impact a team. That meant a lot."
It's a team that will look a lot different than last year's 11-win team. Stewart went on an official visit and got to meet his new teammates.
"It was a lot different than when I first went up there," Stewart said. "I didn't get to meet any of the players but this time I met the majority of the team. They're all cool guys and they have the same intentions that I do. They want to turn the program around after a rough season."
Stewart will be one of four new players in USC's backcourt. He met a couple of those new guards along with some other players.
"I got to meet Katin Reinhardt, DC (Darion Clark) and Jordan McLaughlin," Stewart said. "I also met one of their big guys from Serbia (Strahinja Gavrilovic)."
On the visit, he also got the chance to hang out with Tony Bland, who's a big reason why Stewart picked USC in the first place.
"I bonded a lot with Tony Bland," Stewart said. "He understands what I had to go through to get where I am today and I really respect him because he played at the highest level possible. I hope to do the same and it just all seems to correspond and go together."