USC guard Ethan Anderson enters NCAA transfer portal

USC guard Ethan Anderson reacts after their loss against Miami during in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
USC guard Ethan Anderson reacts after the Trojans’ loss against Miami in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Friday in Greenville, S.C.
(Chris Carlson / Associated Press)

When USC needed a stabilizing force to save its tournament life last week, it turned to Ethan Anderson, a veteran guard and former Fairfax High star who’d spent three seasons guiding the Trojans as their floor general, on and off the court.

But less than a week after USC came up short in that first-round NCAA tournament defeat, Anderson is on his way out, along with two other members of the Trojans’ rotation.

The junior point guard has entered the NCAA transfer portal, announcing in a post on Twitter that he’s “so thankful to have played in front of the city that molded me.”


“I want to thank USC from the bottom of my heart for the amazing ride being on 3 tournament teams and doing things people thought I could never do,” Anderson wrote. “USC will forever be in my heart.”

On a day of upheaval for the Trojans, Anderson was joined in the transfer portal by Max Agbonkpolo, a junior forward who carved out a major role this season, and Boubacar Coulibaly, a reserve big man.

Agbonkpolo took a major step forward as a junior, earning a starting role late in the season. He averaged 7.7 points and 3.5 rebounds. Coulibaly played in six games, scoring 20 total points.

USC forward Max Agbonkpolo plays against Miami.
USC forward Max Agbonkpolo plays against Miami during the first half of a game in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Friday in Greenville, S.C.
(Chris Carlson / Associated Press)

Anderson’s sudden exit leaves USC with just a single point guard on its roster, Boogie Ellis, whose benching for Anderson in the loss to Miami (Fla.) sparked immediate speculation that he, too, could leave USC.

No such decision on Ellis’ future had been relayed to USC as of earlier this week, a person close to the program told The Times. But USC coach Andy Enfield and his staff are expected to meet with players in the coming days to discuss their future.

For Anderson and Agbonkpolo, three seasons at USC were enough to solidify them as two of the program’s winningest players of all time. The Trojans won 73 games over that stretch, trailing only Kansas and Baylor among Power Six programs.

Anderson started that run as USC’s primary point guard, establishing a reputation as a hard-nosed defender and smart distributor. But nagging injuries followed him throughout his tenure. Back issues hampered him for much of his sophomore season, leaving transfer Tahj Eaddy to take the reins of USC’s offense. He never quite recovered his role as a junior, as Ellis took over as the primary ballhandler this season.

After rallying from a double-digit deficit, seventh-seeded USC is unable to overcome a late surge by No. 10 Miami in a 68-66 NCAA tournament loss.

Still, Anderson remained a key reserve over each of the last two seasons. He averaged 4.4 points and 2.2 assists this season.

Even before Anderson announced his intent to transfer, USC was expected to pursue at least one point guard via the transfer portal to supplement Ellis. It’s also possible that Enfield could turn to freshman Kobe Johnson as a lead guard option after Johnson improved throughout his first season.