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2014-15 Season Preview: USC

Andy Enfield continues the rebuilding process in his second year in Los Angeles

Andy Enfield is still in the rebuilding phase at USC
Andy Enfield is still in the rebuilding phase at USC
Ethan Miller

Last Season: Andy Enfield's introduction to the Pac-12 was brutal. It was so brutal that his cinderella Florida Gulf Coast team won as many NCAA Tournament games the year before as his Trojans did in the Pac-12. USC had talent, but they struggled putting it all together and ended the season 11-21 overall and 2-16 in conference. The team had the 10th worst three-point percentage in the nation, possessed an offense that was 221st in efficiency and averaged 14 turnovers per game.

Key Losses: The Trojans have to replace their top four scorers and will only return one starter from last season. Byron Wesley, the team's leading scorer and rebounder, transferred to Gonzaga. And highly touted recruit Roschon Prince transferred after one season to Long Beach State. The backcourt duo of Pe'Shon Howard and J.T. Terrell, which combined to average over 20 points, along with 7-foot-2 Omar Oraby all graduated. Enfield isn't losing any superstars or irreplaceable talent, but it won't be easy to replace five of his top six contributors.

Notable Returning Players: Sophomore Nikola Jovanovic is the only returning starter for the Trojans and the 6-foot-10 forward has the potential to expand on his offensive role this season. Jovanovic averaged 8.0 points and 4.4 rebounds per game last season and had the second best true shooting percentage on the team.

Guard Julian Jacobs remains on Andy Enfield's roster as well. Jacobs started in 19 games last season and averaged over 28 minutes, so the sophomore returns with plenty of playing time under his belt. Jacobs also had the second best defensive rebounding rate on the team, which is both a slight at the USC roster and a plus for Jacobs considering his 6-foot-3 stature. Strahinj Gavrilovic returns as the only other player to average over 10 minutes a game last season. Gavrilovic didn't contribute much as he only averaged 3.1 points and 1.9 points per game but should once again crack the rotation.

Key Newcomers: Despite starting 34 games at UNLV two years ago, Katin Reinhardt could never mesh with head coach Dave Rice and decided to transfer to USC. Reinhardt averaged 10.1 points per game as a freshman in the Mountain West and was second on the team in minutes per game. He also took the most threes on the team, but only shot 35 percent from behind the arc. He'll provide instant help, but it remains to be seen if Reinhardt will have the same problems with Enfield as he did with Rice.

Jordan McLaughlin leads a group of four talented incoming freshmen for the Trojans. McLaughlin is a top 100 ESPN recruit and an explosive guard that has the potential to thrive in Enfield's offense, which is why he is primed to be the starting point guard for the upcoming year.

Four-star commitment Elijah Stewart is another guard that should excel and is an aggressive player who attacks the rim however he can. Malik Marquetti and Malik Price-Martin round out the quartet of incoming talent for USC. Marquetti, to no surprise, is another high-flying player while Price-Martin, at 6-foot-10, will provide upfront for a team with many unproven players.

Notable Non-Conference Games: The Trojans will play in the Charleston Classic and take on Drexel and then either Akron or Miami. Later on, they'll face New Mexico, a team that has made three straight NCAA Tournaments. They end the non-conference slate with a road bout with Boston College and a home game against Vermont. Boston College remains a bottom team in a power conference while Vermont made the NIT last season, but will be replacing six seniors. Those final two games of non-conference play could give USC some confidence heading into a grueling conference season.

Conference Stretch to Look At: USC could be looking at a very rough start to Pac-12 play. They'll travel to face Utah and Colorado and then host Cal, Stanford and UCLA. Then, they go on the road to Oregon and Oregon St. If the Trojans can't get at least two wins in their first eight games, it'll be last season all over again.

Best-Case Scenario: Katin Reinhardt, Julian Jacobs and Jordan McLaughlin shine as a trio of guards that attack the rim and make Enfield's second year at the helm a success. Although they don't contend in the Pac-12, there are serious signs of improvement as the year goes on. They rally late in the season winning five of their final seven games in the Pac-12 and finish 7-11 in the conference.

Worst-Case Scenario: There are glimmers of Dunk City throughout the year, but the Trojans still can't match up with the rest of the conference. They're still in the rebuilding phase and questions loom if Andy Enfield is the right fit or nothing more than an impulse hire.

Projected Finish: 10th