Bronny James’ launching? And the weekend’s leading matches to keep

  • Myron Medcalf, ESPN Personnel WriterDec 8, 2023, 11:00 AM ET Close Covers college basketball

  • Signed up with in 2011
  • Graduate of Minnesota State University, Mankato

On July 24, 2023, it wasn’t clear if we ‘d ever see Bronny James on a basketball court again. That day, the child of NBA superstar LeBron James suffered heart attack during a team workout. On Sunday, if all things go well, the USC Trojans freshman seems set to make his debut versus the Long Beach State 49ers in Los Angeles, a miraculous return after months of uncertainty.On Thursday, Bronny participated in his very first full-contact practice with USC.Forget his basketball family tree, his NBA dreams

, his NIL worth and his prospective influence on USC’s program for a moment. It’s simply great to see the 19-year-old back on a basketball court.If Bronny plays Sunday, the game is perhaps the most expected launching of a collegiate player in recent college basketball history. Yes, the arrivals of Michigan’s Fab 5(1991 ), Kevin Durant and Greg Oden(2006), and Zion Williamson(2018)were all huge moments in college basketball.Editor’s Picks 2 Related But Bronny James is the kid of a player who is considered as the greatest of all time by a generation of

fans. And LeBron James, who said he wishes to attend his boy’s first college game, might be in the structure Sunday. And any place he goes, other celebs tend to follow.Greatness seldom appears, however, in the children of legends, specifically in basketball.Michael Jordan’s sons played college basketball however didn’t come close to the all-world status their father delighted in with the North Carolina Tar Heels and beyond.

Rick Barry’s three boys played in the NBA, but they weren’t all-time legends like their daddy, a member of the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team. The very best example of a player mirroring an excellent daddy in basketball is most likely Domantas Sabonis, who had a great collegiate profession at Gonzaga before a strong run in the NBA. However his father, Arvydas, remains in the Basketball Hall of Fame.Bronny will deal with more pressure than those boys did. The spotlight– he has 8 million followers on Instagram– will stay

brilliant throughout his time at USC.That journey starts Sunday, when he deals with Long Beach State in his first collegiate game.Get your popcorn ready.All odds from ESPN BET. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports Saturday, 3:15 p.m. ET, ESPN On paper, an intimidating three-game stretch threatened to interrupt Wisconsin’s nonconference season: It started with Marquette in the house on Saturday, followed by Michigan State on the roadway Tuesday and finishedwith top-ranked Arizona on the roadway on

Saturday. It was plainly one of the most difficult nonconference slates in the country. However the Badgers aim to go 3-for-3 when they handle the Wildcats on Saturday. They were dominant– 114 points per 100 possessions on offense– in a double-digit win over their in-state competitors and registered 123 points per 100 ownerships in the double-digit win in East Lansing. A year after finishing 140th in adjusted offending efficiency on KenPom, this group is top-15 getting in Saturday.That said, the No. 1 team in the country is an astute, gifted and balanced assembly. The aforementioned Caleb Love(13.3 PPG)leads a group with 6 players balancing double figures. The Wildcats are also top-five in protective performance and offending rebounding rate. And they’ve made 38%of their 3-point attempts thus far. Arizona has all of it. It appears like a Last Four group, and will be tough to beat.Medcalf’s choice: Arizona 80-74; Against the spread: Not available at time of publication Saturday, 12 p.m. ET, CBS In a 98-89 triumph over ranked Florida Atlantic at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, Illinois standouts Marcus Domask and Terrence Shannon Jr. combined to score 66 points. Brad Underwood has one of his most compelling teams at this point of the season. Illinois has a top-10 defense that’s held opponents to a 38.2%clip inside the arc, the No. 1 mark in America, per KenPom. But Illinois will

also take a trip to deal with one of the very best defensive groups in America.Rick Barnes sent a message to his Tennessee team in its loss to North Carolina last week when he benched experienced Santiago Vescovi in the 2nd half. Although the Vols combated hard after a lackluster very first half in Chapel Hill, they suffered their third successive loss to a ranked group outside their home flooring. The good news for Tennessee is that top scorer Dalton Knecht(19.0 PPG, 39 %from the 3-point line)will be available on Saturday. The other good news: Tennessee is home now.Medcalf’s pick: Tennessee 77-73; Versus the spread: Not available at time of publication Saturday, 1:30 p.m. ET, Coca-Cola Coliseum, Toronto, Ontario, FOX The space between Zach Edey and the field in the Wood Award race gets wider day by day.

Contenders such as Kyle Filipowski and Hunter Dickinson are still in the running. However Edey(23.7 PPG, 11.2 RPG,

2.9 BPG)is the most dominant force in college basketball for the second season in

a row. He is on track to sign up with Ralph Sampson Jr. as the only two-time winners of the Wood Award. This game will be unique for Edey. Alabama and Purdue will play in Toronto, Edey’s hometown.But an Alabama team that plays at among the fastest speeds in America, while connecting on 41 %of its 3-point attempts, will try to spoil Edey’s homecoming. Confining Mark Sears( 19.0 PPG, 52 %from the 3-point line)will be the priority for Matt Painter’s program.Medcalf’s choice: Purdue 81-75; Versus the spread: Unavailable at time of publication Saturday, 4 p.m. ET, ESPN2 Arkansas turned

heads when it defeated Duke recently without Houston transfer Tramon Mark (17.0 PPG ), the team’s

top scorer this season. Mark

, Temple transfer Khalif Fight( 16.8 PPG) and Louisville transfer El Ellis(7.7 PPG)have discovered a rhythm in recent weeks. And the team’s general defense is improving. The Razorbacks held the Blue Devils, a top-20 group in offending performance, to under one point per belongings in that win.But an unbeaten Sooners squad has won 7 of its 8 games this season by double digits. Porter Moser’s group is a bouncy, energetic and flexible team in 2023-24. With starters Milos Uzan

and Sam Godwin on the court together this season, per, Oklahoma has held opponents to just 76.7 points per 100 ownerships. That’s impressive.Medcalf’s pick: Oklahoma 78-75; Versus the spread: Unavailable sometimes of publication Sunday, Pac 12 Network, 4 p.m. ET

When he talked with ESPN at his home in

Los Angeles over the summertime, Andy Enfield stated he had not hired Bronny James simply due to the fact that he was the kid of NBA legend, LeBron James. He stated he had decided to pursue Bronny after he observed the freshman’s high basketball IQ, protective prowess and versatility in high school games. At 6-foot-3, Bronny likewise had a frame that suggested he might handle the physical transition to the college game. While he’s recovered from his medical emergency situation over the summertime, USC has actually put together one of America’s finest backcourts. That’s the anchor of this operation for the Trojans. Fifth-year guard Boogie Ellis and freshman Isaiah Collier, the projected No. 1 choice in ESPN’s most current 2024 NBA mock draft, have actually led an offense that has actually connected on 37 percent of its 3-point efforts and signed up 116.2 points per 100 belongings on offense– for referral, the Denver Nuggets are balancing 116.6 points per 100 ownerships, 10th in the NBA– with the duo on the court. However the team’s defense has actually been ranked 231st in adjusted effectiveness( its present 1-2 stretch. And Collier’s concerns with turnovers (4.6 per game) are well-documented. That’s where Bronny James can make an immediate impact. The four-star possibility offers USC a disciplined guard who can safeguard challengers on the boundary. He’s likewise strong enough to deal with opposing players in the paint if necessary.Long Beach State has an aggressive defense that has actually forced turnovers on one-fifth of its challengers’possessions. If Lassina Traore (11.6 PPG, 9.8 RPG)and Marcus Tsohonis( 17.2 PPG)are both healthy, Dan Monson’s team might put up a fight. But it’s tough to see any upset possibilities in the most anticipated debut of a player in recent college basketball history.Medcalf’s pick: USC 85-67; Versus the spread: Unavailable at time of publication SEASON TOTALS Medcalf’s choices straight up:

10-4 Against the spread: 7-7

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