home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


October 11, 2018

Andy Enfield

San Francisco, California

Q. Do you sense a hunger amongst the team based on the way last year ended, and I know obviously you wanted to be in the NCAA Tournament and didn't get there. Is that driving you guys at all right now to prove that you belong there and are going to get back there?
ANDY ENFIELD: Well, we certainly remember that we didn't make the tournament, but we don't focus on that or talk about it. We came in second in a great league last year, went to the championship game and had a chance to win, and we lost to an exceptional Arizona team in the championship, so congratulations to them.

Very proud of our players for what they accomplished last year as well as the last three years. Winning a few games NCAA Tournament the year before and saying goodbye to those players was difficult because it meant so much to the USC basketball program over the last three, four years. Now is an opportunity for our younger players to step up, and we have a good mix of experience and youth, and they're looking forward to this opportunity.

Q. Did you change your non-conference scheduling as a result of what was considered a snub last year?
ANDY ENFIELD: We schedule a very challenging schedule every year. Last year our strength of schedule was 36th in the nation and our RPI was 34, so that means we played a very challenging schedule and did well against it. We have, once again, a schedule we think will be in the top 40 in the country.

Q. What do you remember about kind of that locker room with your guys once you found out that you weren't selected for the NCAA Tournament?
ANDY ENFIELD: Well, we weren't in the locker room. I remember losing -- the locker room after the Pac-12 Championship after we game up short was a tough feeling because we came close.

But our players have come a long way the last few years, and so that's why we were so proud of them, to lose our leading scorer, Bennie Boatwright, for half the season, lose our highest draft pick, De'Anthony Melton, for an entire season. And what those guys accomplished to still come in second in the Pac-12 and go to the championship game and compete for it was just outstanding.

Q. Coach Alford was talking about getting closure on this corruption scandal involving college basketball. Do you feel like we're getting any closer to closure on that, or do you feel like this is going to be an ongoing thing for years and years and years?
ANDY ENFIELD: I don't know enough about it. I really don't follow it as closely as you might think. We're so focused on our players and what we're trying to do. I'm probably the wrong guy to ask that.

Q. From that standpoint, though, half the teams in this league have been implicated via indictment or testimony in the federal investigation. Is there a compliance issue in the Pac-12?
ANDY ENFIELD: I don't think so, but once again, I don't know enough about what's been said and what's been done from a conference standpoint. You'd probably have to ask Larry Scott that question.

Q. I did.

Q. But you feel confident with your program, where it stands at this point?
ANDY ENFIELD: Our compliance department, we have more compliance people at USC than probably any school in the country, and they're great. They travel with us, and we have a tremendous working relationship with them. It's been like that since I've been at USC, and this is our sixth season. Kyle Waterstone is our compliance director with men's basketball, and he's as good as it gets anywhere.

Q. A couple days ago you were talking about some injuries with your guys at the luncheon back in LA. Are there any new developments, any guys getting back?
ANDY ENFIELD: Yeah, we've had some serious injuries, Bennie Boatwright, of course, has been out with a surgery in the springtime, and we look forward to him returning for contact here in the next couple weeks, and a very talented freshman, Elijah Weaver from Florida, he had a freak injury, stepped on somebody's foot and had to have surgery. We thought it was a sprained ankle, but unfortunately he had to have surgery, and he should be back by December 1st or within a week or two of that.

We have two key guys that had surgery. Then we've had a lot of sprained ankles, we've had some sicknesses, we've had pinkeye, we've had fevers, and we've only had two practices with 10 players, so it's been a little challenging September and October for us.

Q. With Bennie in particular at this point, are you crossing your fingers when he gets back out there something else doesn't happen? Seems like he's had so many different things.
ANDY ENFIELD: Well, I think Bennie is very determined this year to come back and have a tremendous senior season. He puts a lot of time and effort in. He loves the game of basketball, and he wants so badly to be out there, and as soon as that knee is 100 percent, which we were hopeful in the next two, two and a half weeks, so he'll be out there competing at a high level.

Q. How big a key do you think he is if he's healthy to what this team can be?
ANDY ENFIELD: Well, we need our best players and our experienced players to play this year. Last year, as I said, we lost De'Anthony Melton the entire season, who was a draft pick, and Bennie for half the season. But we were still able to come in second in the league and go to the championship game. And that's a credit, as I said, to the other players on our roster.

We were a little deeper, we had more players on our team last year, so we were able to withstand two starters going out for the season, and this year we need our players to play, and they need to produce and they need to help us win games.

Q. Anybody in particular, guys in particular that have kind of stepped up? Because there's a number of guys you have that are getting bigger opportunities.
ANDY ENFIELD: Well, I think this is an exciting team because there is such a great opportunity for players that had lesser roles last year from a minutes played or being relied upon on a nightly basis for scoring, rebounding, defense, et cetera, to now step up and have an opportunity to be the reason why we win games and do it as a team. So Derryck Thornton is an experienced point guard, we're expecting huge things from him this season. Shaqquan Aaron is back for his graduate year, and of course Bennie is a senior, Jonah Mathews and Nick Rakocevic, our other two juniors, and Jonah has improved dramatically, really good basketball player, and Nick has an opportunity now to be a full-time contributor, and without Chimezie Metu on the other side of the court with him.

It is exciting for our younger players, as well, because they have an opportunity to earn minutes and elevate their games, as well.

Q. What are your expectations for the season? You guys lost a lot of guys. Do you think you can continue this upward trajectory you've had the last three, four years this year?
ANDY ENFIELD: Our goal as a coaching staff was to build a program at SC where we bring in talented young men, help develop them and put them in a system to succeed. And wherever that takes them -- it's really going to be on a couple of our players this year to help our team develop a unity that we had the last few years because we don't have the great leaders. We lost them to the NBA.

That's the biggest thing I think for our team this season is how to develop that team chemistry and to withstand some of the pressures of an extremely challenging out-of-conference schedule and then a league schedule.

Q. Do you feel like conference-wise there's not a dominant team? A few more unknowns at least at the top of the conference?
ANDY ENFIELD: Well, I think it is different from last year because Arizona had everybody back, we had everybody back last year for the most part. I know UCLA had a lot of returnees, and a couple other teams, so it is a little different this year where there are a lot of unknowns.

And that's the great thing about college basketball. As players move on to graduation, to go play in the NBA or overseas, there's an opportunity now for other players to step up and really try to be successful.

Q. You still have nine returning players. Which veteran has to step up the most?
ANDY ENFIELD: I think our upperclassmen have to have great seasons for us. Derryck Thornton at the point guard, Bennie Boatwright, of course, off his injury, and then Jonah Mathews, Nick Rakocevic and Shaqquan Aaron. We have talented sophomores and freshmen, and they'll certainly play a lot of minutes for us, but our veterans, because they have the experience, you usually win at this level with experience, and you have to have the talent level across the board, but if you look at the teams that do well, they usually have experience.

Q. How have guys like Jonah and Bennie improved as leaders throughout their time here?
ANDY ENFIELD: Well, they both love the game of basketball. There's some players that love what basketball brings them more than the game itself. Those two young men that you mentioned love the game of basketball, and they wake up every day and they figure out how they become a better basketball player, and they show up, and we've never had to coach effort. They work out on their own, and they're just really fun to coach.

Q. Is there anything you'd like to say to folks back at (indiscernible)?
ANDY ENFIELD: Well, the fact that you drove up this morning, you come here for Media Day, and you drive back tonight, that's impressive. And if you ever want to be an assistant coach, we may take your resume now.

Q. You mentioned guys you had in leadership last year, someone like Jordan McLaughlin, who was really a huge leader on your team, have his leadership skills rubbed off on Jonah Mathews and Bennie Boatwright?
ANDY ENFIELD: I think having a leader like Jordan McLaughlin in your program for four years was a huge lift and really a big reason why we're here today with the success the last three years our team has had, because the players that came in behind him with Bennie and Chimezie and Elijah Stewart that was in Jordan's class, those guys set the tone with their work ethic and they led by example, and the players that have now come in have seen that. Chimezie Metu and Jordan McLaughlin graduated in three years. Chimezie had a 3.1 GPA at USC, pretty special. Jordan is one of the few guys in Pac-12 history to have over 1,700 points, 700 assists for his career. And to see their work ethic every day, Chimezie didn't miss a practice in three years and he was in the gym at 6:00 a.m., and Jordan spent so much time in the film room, video room, learning how to become a complete point guard. And Elijah Stewart and even De'Anthony Melton last year, and of course Bennie. Our younger players don't have to look far to see what a true leader is by example, and we're hoping that they can do that and continue to do that for the freshmen that come in.

Q. With the passing of Tex Winter, former USC alum, what is his impact on basketball not only from the professional standpoint, but from USC?
ANDY ENFIELD: Tex is an icon of our game. I'm a big history buff as far as it comes to college. I'm from a basketball family. My father coached for a long time at the high school and junior high level. So whenever you have someone pass like that, you just take a step back and realize how fortunate we all are to have this opportunity, and where I came from and having great guys, coaches around me, and mentors, and Tex was certainly one of those to a lot of people. I didn't know him that well personally, but I certainly respected him for what he's done for our game.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297