College Sports Content Jim Alexander Sports UCLA USC usc-basketball

As Boatwright goes, so go the USC Trojans – Daily News

As Boatwright goes, so go the USC Trojans – Daily News
  • Jonah Mathews #2 of the USC Trojans reacts with Kevin Porter Jr. after popping out of the recreation towards the UCLA Bruins in the second half of a NCAA basketball recreation at the Galen Middle on Saturday, January 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. USC Trojans gained 80-67. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Shaqquan Aaron #zero of the USC Trojans controls the ball towards Prince Ali #23 of the UCLA Bruins in the second half of a NCAA basketball recreation at the Galen Middle on Saturday, January 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. USC Trojans gained 80-67. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Head coach Andy Enfield of the USC Trojans reacts towards the UCLA Bruins in the second half of a NCAA basketball recreation at the Galen Middle on Saturday, January 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. USC Trojans gained 80-67. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Nick Rakocevic #31 of the USC Trojans slam dunks towards the UCLA Bruins in the second half of a NCAA basketball recreation at the Galen Middle on Saturday, January 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. USC Trojans gained 80-67. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Kris Wilkes #13 of the UCLA Bruins goes down arduous on the flooring towards the USC Trojans in the second half of a NCAA basketball recreation at the Galen Middle on Saturday, January 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. USC Trojans gained 80-67. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Head coach Murry Bartow of the UCLA Bruins reacts towards the USC Trojans in the second half of a NCAA basketball recreation at the Galen Middle on Saturday, January 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Nick Rakocevic #31 of the USC Trojans rebound towards thew UCLA Bruins in the second half of a NCAA basketball recreation at the Galen Middle on Saturday, January 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. USC Trojans gained 80-67. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Jonah Mathews #2 of the USC Trojans drives to the basket towards Prince Ali #23 of the UCLA Bruins in the second half of a NCAA basketball recreation at the Galen Middle on Saturday, January 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. USC Trojans gained 80-67. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • USC Trojans bench rects after a 3 level basket towards the UCLA Bruins in the second half of a NCAA basketball recreation at the Galen Middle on Saturday, January 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. USC Trojans gained 80-67. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • USC Trojans Athletic Director Lynn Swann in the first half of a NCAA basketball recreation between the USC Trojans and the UCLA Bruins at the Galen Middle on Saturday, January 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Head coach Andy Enfield of the USC Trojans reacts towards the UCLA Bruins in the first half of a NCAA basketball recreation at the Galen Middle on Saturday, January 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Cody Riley #2 of the UCLA Bruins stretches previous to a NCAA basketball recreation towards the USC Trojans at the Galen Middle on Saturday, January 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Head coach Murry Bartow of the UCLA Bruins reacts towards the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA basketball recreation at the Galen Middle on Saturday, January 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Kris Wilkes #13 of the UCLA Bruins rebounds towards the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA basketball recreation at the Galen Middle on Saturday, January 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Head coach Murry Bartow of the UCLA Bruins shakes palms with Prince Ali towards the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA basketball recreation at the Galen Middle on Saturday, January 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Head coach Murry Bartow of the UCLA Bruins with Prince Ali towards the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA basketball recreation at the Galen Middle on Saturday, January 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Head coach Murry Bartow of the UCLA Bruins reacts towards the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA basketball recreation at the Galen Middle on Saturday, January 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Kevin Porter Jr. #four of the USC Trojans on the bench towards the UCLA Bruins in the first half of a NCAA basketball recreation at the Galen Middle on Saturday, January 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Head coach Murry Bartow of the UCLA Bruins reacts towards the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA basketball recreation at the Galen Middle on Saturday, January 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Head coach Murry Bartow of the UCLA Bruins reacts towards the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA basketball recreation at the Galen Middle on Saturday, January 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Jalen Hill #24 of the UCLA Bruins scrambles for the unfastened ball towards the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA basketball recreation at the Galen Middle on Saturday, January 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Kenneth Nwuba #14 of the UCLA Bruins controls the ball towards the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA basketball recreation at the Galen Middle on Saturday, January 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Kenneth Nwuba #14 of the UCLA Bruins losses management the ball towards the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA basketball recreation at the Galen Middle on Saturday, January 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Moses Brown #1 of the UCLA Bruins fouls towards USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA basketball recreation at the Galen Middle on Saturday, January 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Prince Ali #23 of the UCLA Bruins passes previous Bennie Boatwright #25 of the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA basketball recreation at the Galen Middle on Saturday, January 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Prince Ali #23 of the UCLA Bruins passes previous Bennie Boatwright #25 of the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA basketball recreation at the Galen Middle on Saturday, January 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Moses Brown #1 of the UCLA Bruins drives to th basket towards Bennie Boatwright #25 of the USC Trojans in the second half of a NCAA basketball recreation at the Galen Middle on Saturday, January 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Moses Brown #1 of the UCLA Bruins drives to th basket towards Bennie Boatwright #25 of the USC Trojans in the second half of a NCAA basketball recreation at the Galen Middle on Saturday, January 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Kris Wilkes #13 of the UCLA Bruins shoots towards the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA basketball recreation at the Galen Middle on Saturday, January 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Chris Smith #5 of the UCLA Bruins drives to the basket towards Bennie Boatwright #25 of the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA basketball recreation at the Galen Middle on Saturday, January 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Kris Wilkes #13 of the UCLA Bruins controls the ball towards Derryck Thornton #5 of the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA basketball recreation at the Galen Middle on Saturday, January 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Bennie Boatwright #25 of the USC Trojans fights for the rebound towards the UCLA Bruins in the first half of a NCAA basketball recreation at the Galen Middle on Saturday, January 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • David Singleton #34 of the UCLA Bruins controls the ball towards the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA basketball recreation at the Galen Middle on Saturday, January 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Head coach Andy Enfield of the USC Trojans reacts towards the UCLA Bruins in the first half of a NCAA basketball recreation at the Galen Middle on Saturday, January 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Moses Brown #1 of the UCLA Bruins shoots over Nick Rakocevic #31 of the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA basketball recreation at the Galen Middle on Saturday, January 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • J’Raan Brooks #33 of the USC Trojans is fouled towards the UCLA Bruins in the first half of a NCAA basketball recreation at the Galen Middle on Saturday, January 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Los Angeles Rams cheerleaders carry out in the first half of a NCAA basketball recreation between the USC Trojans and the UCLA Bruins at the Galen Middle on Saturday, January 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • USC Trojans followers cheer towards the UCLA Bruins in the first half of a NCAA basketball recreation at the Galen Middle on Saturday, January 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Head coach Murry Bartow of the UCLA Bruins speaks with Prince Ali and Moses Brown throughout a outing towards the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA basketball recreation at the Galen Middle on Saturday, January 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Head coach Murry Bartow of the UCLA Bruins reacts towards the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA basketball recreation at the Galen Middle on Saturday, January 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Head coach Murry Bartow of the UCLA Bruins reacts towards the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA basketball recreation at the Galen Middle on Saturday, January 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Jonah Mathews #2 of the USC Trojans reacts after a 3 level basket towards the UCLA Bruins in the first half of a NCAA basketball recreation at the Galen Middle on Saturday, January 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Jules Bernard #Three of the UCLA Bruins scrambles for the unfastened ball towards Derryck Thornton #5 of the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA basketball recreation at the Galen Middle on Saturday, January 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. USC Trojans gained 80-67. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Prince Ali #23 of the UCLA Bruins passes previous Bennie Boatwright #25 of the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA basketball recreation at the Galen Middle on Saturday, January 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Head coach Andy Enfield of the USC Trojans reacts towards the ]UCLA Bruins in the first half of a NCAA basketball recreation at the Galen Middle on Saturday, January 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Nick Rakocevic #31 of the USC Trojans rebounds towards the UCLA Bruins in the first half of a NCAA basketball recreation at the Galen Middle on Saturday, January 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Chris Smith #5 of the UCLA Bruins drives to the basket towards Bennie Boatwright #25 of the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA basketball recreation at the Galen Middle on Saturday, January 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

LOS ANGELES — On reflection, yeah, the grade in all probability was a bit of harsh.

Earlier in the week in This Area, we evaluated SoCal’s coaches and managers and assigned letter grades. Given the low marks for USC males’s basketball coach Andy Enfield, and given the Trojans’ efficiency Saturday afternoon towards UCLA … nicely, if it was bulletin board fodder, you’re welcome. Completely satisfied to assist.

However there’s this: The Trojans may need been 9-Eight general earlier than Saturday’s resounding 80-67 victory over the Bruins – a rating solely made respectable by UCLA urgent and scrambling and scoring 12 straight factors in the remaining 1:05 – however it makes a distinction when your greatest participant is, on a given afternoon, your greatest participant.

Bennie Boatwright wasn’t near that for the first month or so of this season. The Trojans’ ahead had missed the last month of final season with a partially torn patellar tendon in his left knee, and underwent surgical procedure in April.

He missed the first two video games of this season and got here off the bench the subsequent three, and whereas he was placing up respectable numbers – 16 factors in 18 minutes towards Stetson in his first recreation again – there have been sharpness and rhythm points.

“We played Nevada, TCU and Oklahoma, all Top 25 basketball teams, and Bennie was just … he hadn’t played in eight months,” Enfield stated.

“You’ve seen since mid-December, he’s a totally different player. He’s in shape. He has his rhythm, his feel back. He’s playing very well at both ends of the floor. He’s rebounding, he’s defending, and he has a flow to his offensive game.”

Boatwright and middle Nick Rakocevic shared game-high scoring honors with 21 every Saturday for the Trojans, and for Boatwright that has been the norm recently. In the first eight video games after he returned he averaged 13.Three factors; from Dec. 21 on he has averaged 21.Three, together with 7.1 rebounds, in 33 minutes a recreation.

Saturday he had 5 of USC’s 12 three-pointers, a profession excessive, to go with seven rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a steal in 35:50.

And the concept that as goes Boatwright, so go the Trojans? There’s proof. USC’s worst recreation on this stretch was the 81-60 loss at Oregon final Sunday night time; Boatwright was held to 13 factors in 35 minutes. Earlier on that journey, he had a career-high 37 at Oregon State, and USC pressured additional time however misplaced.

Does he really feel like he has his recreation again?

“I feel totally more comfortable,” he stated. “I didn’t have a preseason, and I got here late in the season, so it took me a few video games to get out right here and get snug. I’m feeling so much higher.

” … I don’t assume individuals perceive how robust it’s to return again from an damage, as a result of once you don’t play basketball for a very long time it’s robust to get a rhythm. You’re not going to only go on the market and rating 20 or 30. You’ve set to work your means up, and it’s a troublesome course of. You’ve acquired to remain robust mentally. I did that, and I hope it’s going to maintain getting higher.”

Guard Jonah Mathews, a junior, has been watching Boatwright for some time, since he performed at Santa Monica Excessive when Boatwright was at Village Christian. (Boatwright famous, by the approach, that his workforce gained once they performed one another, and Mathews interjected, “By one.”)

“I always knew he was talented,” Mathews stated. “When you have a knee injury like that it messes with you mentally. He got through it the first couple games … now he’s back to Bennie Buckets.”

I requested Mathews if he might inform by watching that Boatwright’s recreation was coming again.

“It’s not even just that,” he stated. “You can just tell the way he thinks about basketball. Me and him talk basketball daily, and just the way we see things … we see the same things, but you can just tell the maturity, the way he thinks about basketball, and the way he sees things on the court is next level. I’m hoping to take that from him as I grow as a player.”

This recreation, and this outcome, might have been notably significant to Boatwright. When he arrived at USC, a part of his mindset was to play a task in bringing it as much as UCLA’s degree; USC gained 4 straight from UCLA since Boatwright had appeared on campus, however the Bruins had gained the final 4 from the Trojans earlier than Saturday. In video games the place Boatwright had been wholesome and obtainable, USC was Three-Three; he missed 15 video games with a sprained medial collateral ligament of the similar knee in 2016-17, and the final eight final season.

“It feels good, going out there and beating UCLA,” he stated.

Given good well being, he ought to have at the least another shot, perhaps a second in the Pac-12 event. As lengthy as he’s wholesome and on prime of his recreation, the Trojans are a greater group.