Rival Views: Which 'football' schools deserve more hoops love?
There is no shortage of schools that have strong football and basketball programs, but the fan support or reputation of a program sometimes leads to the label of a football or basketball school. This week, National Basketball Analysts Eric Bossi and Corey Evans discuss so-called football schools whose fans should start paying closer attention to what they are doing in basketball recruiting. As usual, Bossi and Evans have Rival Views.
BOSSI'S VIEW: LSU
Make no mistake, LSU has plenty of basketball history. Two of the game's most legendary players - Shaquille O'Neal and Pete Maravich - played their college ball in Baton Rouge, and the Tigers have appeared in four Final Fours. However, they've only made six NCAA Tournaments this millennium and two in the last 10 years. Will Wade looks like he's on the fast track to turn that around and fans should be jumping on board now.
In his first year on the job, Wade was able to guide the Tigers to a berth in the NIT and they appear to be headed toward a return to the NCAA Tournament in 2019. What's been most impressive, though, is the job Wade and his staff have already done on the recruiting trail. They immediately landed star point guard Tremont Waters in the spring of 2017 and backed that up by hauling in the nation's fifth-ranked recruiting class in 2018.
Can they land another top five class in 2019? That remains to be seen, but I'll be really surprised if they don't land another impressive group. The Tigers are among the schools most involved with five-star forward Trendon Watford and have a very good shot with the skilled scorer. Others that the Tigers are heavily involved with include four-stars Avery Anderson, Aundre Hyatt, Tyreek Smith, C.J. Walker and soon-to-be-four-star-wing Diante Smith.
EVANS' VIEW: USC
Asking for USC fans to focus more on the round ball compared to the pigskin would be a tall order, but what Andy Enfield and his staff have accomplished is nothing short of impressive.
The outlook for the Trojan hoopsters was bleak six months ago, as the FBI investigation hit the USC basketball program, leading to the dismissal of lead assistant Tony Bland. But the Trojans made it through the storm. Despite losing two pledges to decommitments, they finished the year off strong and regained the commitment of four-star forward J’Raan Brooks, which catapulted the program to the 18th spot in the 2018 team rankings.
While the football program has remained steady in recent years, if one was buying stock, Enfield’s bunch might be the one to chase after. Just last week, the Trojans picked up another five-star commitment in Onyeka Okungwu. The premier rebounder may just be the tip of the iceberg, as they remain in a great spot for two other top 30 juniors, Cassius Stanley and Isaiah Mobley. Mobley is the son of Eric Mobley, a recently named USC assistant who has another son, Evan, in the sophomore class that is rated as a five-star himself.
Enfield and his team may have underperformed last year, but the future is bright for the Trojans as they enter the next season with league title aspirations.