USC is expected to bring in impressive basketball class despite program’s link to FBI investigation
The on-again, off-again relationship between USC and J’Raan Brooks is on-again ahead of national signing day.
After several commitment changes, Brooks is expected to sign with the Trojans on Wednesday, rounding out an impressive recruiting class for Andy Enfield despite the program’s link to the FBI’s investigation into college basketball bribery and corruption.
“Committed,” Brooks wrote on Twitter last month, accompanied by a photo of himself wearing a USC uniform. This week, Brooks posed for a photo holding a USC certificate of admission that was posted to social media.
Shooting guard Kevin Porter from Rainier Beach High in Seattle and point guard Elijah Weaver from Rockledge High in Florida signed letters of intent during the early signing period in November, though USC withheld an official announcement.
“These are three players that can help them immediately,” Evan Daniels, a national recruiting analyst for 247sports.com, said Tuesday. “With everything that that program has been through, for Andy Enfield to kind of withstand it and get a really good recruiting class with three top-100 players is a big deal.”
The addition of Brooks, a 6-foot-8, 215-pound power forward from Garfield High in Seattle, will give USC the third-ranked recruiting class in the Pac-12 Conference behind Oregon and UCLA, according to 247Sports.com composite rankings.
Brooks will provide a boost to a frontcourt that lost leading scorer Chimezie Metu, who helped lead the team to a 24-12 record and a second-place finish in the Pac-12 before declaring for the NBA draft.
“This is a guy that is very talented,” Daniels said of Brooks. “He’s got a good set of hands and he’s got a good skill set. He’s active, he rebounds and plays hard.”
The Trojans will have back forwards Bennie Boatwright, who has opted to put off the NBA draft to play his senior season, and Nick Rakocevic.
Weaver, 6-4 and 195 pounds, and Porter, 6-5 and 210 pounds, will help fill the roles vacated by point guard Jordan McLaughlin, a four-year starter who averaged 7.8 assists and 2.6 steals per game, and shooting guard Elijah Stewart.
“They are immediate contributors and they can play together,” Daniels said.
Brooks’ recruitment saga began 10 months ago, when he first committed to USC.
He withdrew his commitment in October amid the FBI’s investigation and the indictment of associated head coach Tony Bland, who was later fired.
Brooks announced in December that he would sign with St. John’s, before deciding last month that he would recommit to the Trojans.
Daniels said it was rare for a recruit to sign with a school with which he had parted.
“It almost never happens,” Daniels said. “But USC was able to win him back over.”
Taeshon Cherry, a highly recruited forward from Foothills Christian in El Cajon, committed to the Trojans in June, citing Bland as a key factor in his decision. But Cherry withdrew his commitment in December and is expected to sign with Arizona State on Wednesday.
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