October 2, 2013 by Seth Rubinroit
Chris Penrose was a popular USC basketball player from 2003-2007. He was the first player in USC basketball history to be named captain for three consecutive years. He is currently a Senior Associate at CBRE. Follow him on Twitter and visit his CBRE profile to contact him about commercial office properties.
By Chris Penrose
After taking a couple year hiatus from USC Basketball, I can’t begin to explain the excitement I have for this upcoming season. I haven’t felt like this since the 2009 season when the USC Hoops team won the Pac-10 tournament and almost upset Michigan State in the Round of 32, with a top-5 recruiting class coming in. Since then, the program had been on a steady decline, and USC quickly found themselves in the basement of the Pac 10/12. Attendance was low, the alumni had been shut out and the support for the players had shriveled.
At first glance I was hesitant to jump on the bandwagon when Andy Enfield was hired. Although I loved his style of play and respected what he did in the NCAA Tournament, I was concerned that he had only been a head coach for a couple years, and I didn’t know of any West Coast ties he had. My judgments quickly shifted when he hired Jason Hart from Pepperdine and Tony Bland from San Diego State. I knew then that Coach Enfield was the best Coach for the job.
Within the first couple months of Coach Enfield’s hiring, I felt the mood change towards USC basketball. It was obvious the buzz and support for the programming was growing incrementally. And at that time we hadn’t received a high level commitment. Coach Enfield, Hart and Bland hit the recruiting trail immediately, and their hard work paid off with commitments by two 4-star recruits. This is the best recruiting class SC has had in five years and they haven’t even played a game yet!
As I sat across the table from Coach Enfield at The Lab, my excitement for SC Hoops grew more and more as we discussed his vision for the program. He asked me to help him get the basketball alumni back involved, as they had been shut out over the years. Hearing a coach talk about getting the students excited about basketball and growing attendance with wins and his style of play made me realize exactly what SC had been lacking over the last five years.
This year is going to be a rebuilding year for the Trojans, but I think this squad will have some surprise upsets and finish middle of the Pac-12. But the real excitement will be happening in 2014. USC will have the best backcourt on the West Coast in Jordan McLaughlin and Katin Reinhardt. They will have size in Darion Clark and Malik Price-Martin. Byron Wesley will be a senior, and I know there will be another top recruit or two coming in. Coach Enfield will bring an exciting, up-tempo style of play to the Galen Center. The coaching staff has been implementing a new offense called “Wake Up and Run!” I expect to see some high flying, fast breaking basketball this year.
I’m a big fan of Coach Enfield requesting new uniforms for this year. It’s a good idea to try to really bring in the new era of USC Basketball with a new look. A few changes have been made to the coach’s offices, as well as the locker room. The times are changing. Last year USC was beating out Cal Poly and Texas-San Antonio for recruits, now they are beating out UCLA, Kansas and Arizona. There is something in the air regarding SC Hoops. I feel it and can’t wait for November 8th at Utah State!
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