Andy Enfield has been at USC for three months now. He took over a program that finished with a losing record under Kevin O'Neill and has a less than stellar history in basketball. But listening to the new USC coach talk about his opportunity in an impromptu interview Tuesday at Galen Center, it sounds like he was hired to coach at Kentucky.
"The level of support here is tremendous," Enfield said. "We have great facilities and a beautiful arena. The McKay Center on campus is almost brand new, and the Galen Center is only six or seven years old. The arena itself is just a beautiful place."
His expectations for the Trojans are incredibly high.
"One of the reasons I took this job is because Pat Haden wants to win a national championship, and I agree with him," Enfield said. "There is no reason why USC basketball can't be an elite program in the country.
He believes that USC has almost everything the top programs have.
"We have the administration, the facilities and the financial support to do it. We have a community that's just waiting to win and they want to win while playing our style. They can't wait to wrap their arms around this program. We have many great things going for us, and for me, I don't see any negatives."
Some might consider USC's roster a negative after the Trojans limped to a 14-18 record last season, but there are a few positives. The Trojans will be adding one of their best recruiting classes in years. Three-star Nikola Jovanovic, at 6-foot-10, should eventually be a physical presence around the rim. According to Rivals.com, four-star Roschon Prince, the 6-5 prospect from Long Beach Poly, was the highest-ranked small forward in the state of California.
Three-star guards Julian Jacobs and Kahlil Dukes add much-needed depth at guard for the Trojans with Dukes an immediate scoring threat. On top of a stronger recruiting class, USC returns two full-time starters in J.T. Terrell and Byron Wesley, along with 7-foot-2 Rice-transfer Omar Oraby, who played a larger role as the season moved on. Enfield doesn't look at last year's record, he looks at motivated players and potential star freshmen.
"I'm very proud of our returning players," Enfield said. "They've worked hard the last few weeks. We have our freshmen coming in now, so we don't have our whole team here, but we should have most of them coming down by the end of the week."
With those players here, Enfield expects to dive into the details of his playbook.
"We haven't put a lot of system stuff in yet. We've worked a lot on their individual skills because we haven't had a full roster, but I'm very encouraged with the returning kids. They work hard, they're enthusiastic, and they're going to become better basketball players. That's all you can ask for as a coach, so we're very proud of them."
As for expectations, Enfield is focused on the character of his team.
"We won't do that until the fall, as far as team goals. We have talked about expectations with the individuals. You have to go to class, go to your tutors and put forth an effort on campus. Not only an effort in the classroom, but engaging the student body, professors and the people you meet. My expectation is that they do the right thing academically and for their campus community."
Enfield says he won't figure out wins and losses for quite a while.
"When it comes to basketball, we don't have a full roster here yet and that's something that our players have to develop. They have to tell us coaches what they expect. I don't make goals for my teams, I allow them to make their own goals.
"As coaches, you're only as good as what you're players do on the court. You put your system in, you work with them individually to improve them, but they have to go play and produce. I'm a big believer in players making the goals because they're on the court winning games."
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