USC Sunday Buzz: The Same Problems Keep Happening

I’ve tried to avoid being too critical of Andy Enfield this season but a lot of problems I’ve railed against the past eight seasons were on display this week.

  • Evan Mobley might be a generational talent for USC but he can disappear at times. And the problem here is that Enfield’s offense does not really cater to a big man. It never has and that was a problem last season in getting the most from Onyeka Okongwu.

Mobley never gets enough touches and the offense never seems geared to him. He is athletic and skilled so he can overcome this by creating his own shots, especially against overmatched teams. But he would be more dominating with a better-matched coach.

  • USC’s offense has never had a Plan B under Enfield.

Tahj Eaddy isn’t hitting his shots Saturday? Well, I guess USC’s offense is toast then. That’s always the philosophy under Enfield. His offense is based on top players being hot offensively. If not, oh well, because he’s not going to come up with any plays or generate anything.

  • Does the shot doctor know anything? Enfield used to tutor NBA players as a shooting coach. Seriously. But USC is far-and-away the worst free-throw shooting team in the Pac-12 at 64.7 percent. There are 10 teams that shoot at least 70 percent in the Pac-12.
  • Whenever I watch a game, it seems like Enfield gets quickly irritated at players and has a quick hook. Unless you are one of his favorites. It’s not a huge issue when you are 18-3. But it’s easy to notice when you lose three out of four games. And I’m sure players talk about it.
  • A lot of USC fans seem to be happy with Enfield. Based on what? He makes more than $3.5 million and has won two NCAA Tournament games in eight years. And one of those victories was a play-in game in Dayton.

Is USC getting its money’s worth? I think a lot of fans would say yes. They are simply thrilled with highly ranked recruiting classes and wowed by some victories over less-talented teams. It doesn’t seem to bother them that USC cannot dominate the Pac-12 or do anything of significance in the NCAA Tournament.

They are just happy USC is winning 20 games a season, no matter how easy the schedule usually is under Enfield.

USC might still surprise some people in the NCAA Tournament this season. But it will be in spite of, not because of Enfield.


23 thoughts on “USC Sunday Buzz: The Same Problems Keep Happening

  1. this is what was reported about swinney (clemson):

    The national title-winning head coach made it very clear that he isn’t a huge fan of the transfer portal, as he prefers recruiting out of high school and developing players for several years.

    hellton is just the opposite and he talks about titles

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The problem is that the other coach developed the player and then Gomer ruins them, so why transfer to USC to be coached down ?


  2. I’m starting to get the feeling that we’re not experiencing player problems, strictly speaking. We’re not even –technically —having a coach problem. We’re in the middle of a player/coach problems.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. That evan mobley airball from 2 ft that came up a foot short of the rim is an all time classic fail. That horrendous shot will be the defining shot of his basketball career.

    Never in my life have I seen a brick as bad as that, not even on the schoolyard playground by a kid with absolutely no athletic ability.

    How that mobley kid is able to look at himself in the mirror and convince himself he has any business on a basketball court is beyond me.

    That tank job of a shot has to be the worst one in the history of basketball…it was beyond disgraceful.


    1. That happens. Great players airball free throws. Kobe had 4 air balls in the closing minutes of a playoff game. NBA players air ball layups.


      1. Mrs Helton: Just because did, doesn’t make it cool. Kobe is vastly overrated, In truth, he was an over-hyped, selfish, preening, glory-hog w/o a lick of team spirit. Kobe did not pass the ball to other teammates after Shaq departed. As the Lakers leader, the Lakers were oooooooooo fer.

        Without Shaq, Gasol & Metta World Peace, Goober “the Black Adams Apple” Bryant would have zero rings. Furthermore, if Kobe were actually where he belonged, in a Colorado Penitentiary, his daughter would still be alive.


  4. Hey, if the fans think Enfield is bad, they should see Trakh. Better yet, don’t see him. He gets 1/10 what Enfield gets and a 42 point loss to fUcla on Friday, which Wolf only cryptically alluded to.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ironic you would bring that up, WT — there’s breaking news this morning that, after careful consideration, Bohn is moving Enfield over to the women’s side and Trakh will take over the men’s team ….


  5. There is a systematic problem at USC and I’m not close enough to see what it is. I don’t know if it’s coach hiring or support from the school or both. Do we trim top down or go for the roots? It seems like USC tries to do everything right and fails. But USC also fails when it cuts corners.
    I originally thought the problem might be the dower press that the teams generate, but there are plenty of sunshine pumpers pumping all day long. I think our traditions are great, but are they enough? I was hoping each new assistant hired in recent years would be the one ingredient to turn our rock soup into edible fare, but it seems the more ingredients they add the more you taste the rock.
    Is voodoo real? Has someone cursed the Trojans? I don’t know but I think it’s time toss the rocks back in the stream and get new soup started.


    1. The answer to SC’s problems are really pretty simple. Hire better head coaches. Enfield is not a good head coach, period. The only reason USC did well this year was that they hired Mobley’s dad so they could get his sons. That isnt good coaching and it wont make this team successful long term. It is a quick fix and will be gone.

      Unfortunately, if we wont buy out Helton’s contract, we probably wont buy out Enfield. So we need to suffer for a few more seasons.

      But I see good things happening for the football program. Donte is the future of the SC football program. A real leader, getting the best recruits. Only satisfied once he is #1. We owe TO thanks for bringing in an excellent defensive staff. This year the defense will be top 20ish. By 2022, SC will be a dominant Pac-12 defense. And this year, GH either proves the air raid or he is gone. We have a good chance at a top 5 recruiting class in 2022 and after 2021, that sets up the team for future success. Could Donte be the future HC? TO will probably leave after 2022 season for a HC job. So Donte is one year at DC. Is that enough to make him HC at the end of Helton’s contract in 2023? Normally I would hate the idea of promoting him too fast, but honestly, the guy has one major difference from Helton. No excuses and a desire to be #1. Helton never held himself to any standard of excellence and that is why he is a failed HC.

      The keys to a great team are recruiting great players and then developing those great players. Donte has the skills to excel at both of those things.

      SC is a special place. We need to hire coaches that are just as special, and I dont mean in the “special olympics” sense of the word that would probably describe Helton’s tenure as HC.


  6. Let’s rank Andy Enfield vs. the other Pac 12 coaches.
    No question he was out coached this weekend by two much better coaches with less talent to work with.

    Recruiting: Arizona, UCLA, Oregon and USC are currently getting the best players so Enfield and his staff are right at the top. I have to question where USC and Enfield would be without Jason Hart who is a recruiting guru.

    Coaching/Player Development: USC has close to the worst staff. UCLA, Arizona State, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and Washington State have by far the best coaching staffs. I would USC put Enfield and Staff in the bottom 4 with Stanford, Oregon State, and Cal. Andy Enfield’s teams are not well prepared to play big games, and try to win with street ball mentality based on out scoring the opponent. Effective game plans are not existent as is free throw shooting which tells me his practices are not productive, and by the looking at his teams they don’t seem as motivated as they should be in the big games with the conference title on the line.

    Dana Altman- wins by far. Great recruiter, game day coach, floor general, motivator, and leader for the Oregon program. Tad Boyle at Colorado is a close second he does a tremendous job with less talent, motivates his player, and is very skilled at putting effective game plans together which prepares his teams. to perform well in big games. Mick Cronin, at UCLA might look like one of the midgets from the Wizard of Oz movie, but boy his teams are well coached, fundamentally sound, and well prepared. Even in a loss last night at Colorado they played a great game until the end, and it all started with defense.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This whole scenario with the basketball program is emblematic of the entire athletics department at USC. Instead of putting together an apparatus that is focused on getting the most out of the players that they recruit and winning championships, which shouldn’t be a problem with the resources that the school has, they’re too busy tweeting messages about all this other B.S., I.E. The weather. Bohn and Helton can run their pie holes all they want about winning championships, blah, blah, blah. But the fact of the matter is that USC is nowhere near being a championship caliber program in football, basketball, or baseball. Instead, they are too busy insulting out intelligence by trying to get us believe that they are. In short, they are like the fat ass relative who keeps saying they are going to go on a diet, work out, and lose weight. But every time you see them they are still the same fat ass.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. The UCLA-Colorado Pac 12 basketball game was terrific last night. Two very well coached teams, the players played hard for the entire game like it should be when a conference title is on the line.
    Mick Cronin, and Tad Boyle are the two best coaches in the Pac 12 along with Dana Altman at Oregon. All 3 coaches know the game of basketball, and are intense competitors. Their players play hard for the respective coaching staff.

    USC plays playground basketball.- similar to what you see with the Compton Magic or summer leagues. No team preparation just show off your skills, and out score your opponent, and if you don’t on to the next game. USC should be embarrassed how they performed this week in Utah and Colorado. It is very obvious there were no game plans, halftime adjustments, and the team defense was atrocious again similar to what you find in pick-up basketball. UCLA, Oregon, and Colorado played hard this weekend with a conference title on the line. USC, did not and I put this poor effort entirely on the USC coaching staff. Andy Enfield is not a leader of young men, and if you put him up against some of the top coaches in the Pac 12 he ranks in my mind at close to the bottom despite being a good recruiter, and having talent.

    We have a great recruiter, unfortunately we don’t have a good basketball coach, and until we do there will be no Pac 12 championships, and no Final Fours. To me we look like an NBA Development League team with each player trying to show off their offensive skills with little regard for team defense. Teams reflect the personality of the head coach and Andy Enfield is unfortunately not a leader, and should pursue another profession somehow his “shooting guru” resume has not worked at USC.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Halftime adjustments?
      [The agents in “Men in Black” had these little flashlight things they shined in your eyes that made you forget everything. I’m hoping that Bohn shines one in the team’s eyes right before the UCLA game].


  9. I appreciate this particular column Scott. Your points are spot on & the snark levels are kept in check. Were we a traditional basketball power Enfield would definitely be sweating in his quarter zip pullover. As it stands his February meltdowns will continue on.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. One of the problems is there’s no loyalty on this team. It’s Enfield and his merry men of grad transfers. Enfield recruits all these good players then brings in a 22-23 year old grad transfer and the recruits sit. Then it happens the next year and the next. One player who they’re missing is Elijah Weaver. He and Anderson had good chemistry in the back court but he knew he wasn’t going to start anymore b/c Eady and Petersen were coming in to take his spot. Look at all the other players who’ve transferred out. I’d guess maybe 25% of Enfield’s recruits actually graduate from USC.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly. The fastest way to erode team cohesion is to bring in transfers and move them to the top of the food chain on the team. Bringing in transfers is one thing, as long as you make them earn their way to the top.


  11. Enfield, needs to hire a quality staff. Too much emphysis is on recruiting. Other than Jason Hart who should be retained take a look at the low quality of our other assistant coaches. Hart, is a great recruiter, but we need to get away from the street ball mentality, and hire an additional assistant who knows how to teach fundamentals on defense, and knows how to teach team basketball. Great recruiting does not always bring a championship, and from what I see we are a long way from obtaining that on the national level.. Wooden, had the great recruits, but what made him the best is he was a teacher of fundamental team basketball, and if you did not do that you sat on the bench.


    1. Not sure what you’ve been watching, but they’re one of the better defensive teams in the Country. You can look it up, the numbers are there.


  12. WERE THE BEST DEFENSIVE TEAM…..BUT DID NOT SHOW THAT IN THE LAST TWO WEEKS. What happened earlier in this season is just a statistic, it is quite obvious that was and is not the case at this point of the season, and that’s the reason we will not win the championship. The question were you watching the last two games there was no defense at all, and the team was not motivated to play offense or defense. To win a championship you must play consistent at the end of the season statistics mean nothing.


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