Dunk City, USC

Florida Gulf Coast head basketball coach Andy Enfield was hired by USC, the university announced today.

[Looks around to make sure it isn’t an April Fool’s Day joke. The coast is clear.]

ESPN’s Andy Katz reported that USC has signed Enfield to a six-year deal, though a contract for a college basketball coach is as reliable as listening to my bracket picks.

With this hire, USC won the press conference, which will really piss UCLA off. Who will the media talk about tomorrow? Andy Enfield and USC, that’s who.

The rising star and hottest coach in the country is now a Trojan. USC athletic director Pat Haden’s first major coaching hire was a splash, and brought some attention to the neglected stepchild of Los Angeles college basketball.

In Enfield, USC has hired not only a winner, but an experienced coach. Enfield has coached in the NBA and recruited in the ACC – it’s not like he’s only been coaching for the last two weeks. He’s a no-risk hire for a program that has nowhere to go but up.

Well, I suppose they could lose every game, but other than that, the program hasn’t been much worse. As long as USC doesn’t have to play Lipscomb, I think they’ll be fine.

“Andy’s success this season at Florida Gulf Coast was not a flash in the pan,” Haden said in the USC official press release. “He has a consistent and proven record of success for more than 15 years in college and the NBA. He is a respected teacher who develops his players on the court and sees them excel in the classroom, he is a noted shooting coach, he is a relentless recruiter and he has integrity and great character. Those in the basketball world have known of his abilities for a while.”

UCLA’s expectations are championships; USC’s expectations are a mostly filled arena and an attractive product on the court. The happy-go-lucky attitude combined with the discipline and effort of Pete Carroll’s regime has returned. I just didn’t think it would on the basketball team.

“His brand of basketball–an up-tempo offense and a stingy defense–is fun for players to play and fans to watch,” Haden said. “He is an excellent fit at USC who will resonate well with our players, our fans and our community.”

USC fans will be happy with an exciting team to watch and a few appearances in March Madness. If Enfield can install his system at USC, and get along with the L.A. AAU coaches – which Ben Howland was unable to do, apparently – there are countless L.A. high school stars that would love to play like that at a big school like USC. They can get major exposure, go to a great school and have a prime shot at March and maybe the NBA, without having to live in Syracuse or Spokane. Enfield needs to hire a staff of West Coast-knowledgeable coaches who know the recruiting area, and convince young players to come try and build something at USC.

“My family and I are thrilled to join the Trojan Family and be part of the unparalleled athletic tradition at USC,” Enfield said in the same press release. “In meeting with Pat Haden, I was very impressed with his vision for the men’s basketball program. I am looking forward to bringing an exciting, up-tempo style of play to USC and building the men’s basketball brand into one that the fans and basketball community will enjoy and respect.”

Get excited, Trojan fans. The basketball team may actually be watchable next season.


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