It may take some time for Andy Enfield to replicate the success he had during his final season with Florida Gulf Coast at USC. Losing arguably the top player in the program certainly won’t help his progress.
Byron Wesley posted nightly averages of 17.8 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 2013-14 for the Trojans, but he decided to transfer away from the program for his final season of eligibility. He let fans know of his decision via his Twitter account:
I would like to announce that I have decided to graduate from USC this summer and transfer for my final year of college basketball.— Byron Wesley (@byron_wesley) April 17, 2014
Wesley certainly deserves credit for his graduation, but this stings for a USC basketball team that went a disappointing 11-21 last year and only won two games in conference.
Wesley will graduate in the summer, so he will be eligible to play immediately for whichever school lands his services. He is a tremendous scorer who finished in double figures in all but four of USC’s contests last year. He shot better than 33 percent from behind the three-point line and nearly 72 percent from the free-throw line, and he can finish through contact when attacking the rim.
His absence will make life easier for Pac-12 opponents. Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins called him one of the best players in the league last season in a conference call, via Jim Peltz of the Los Angeles Times: "He's very good at getting to the basket and he's a good defender. He's become one of the best players in the conference."
Naturally, there are questions about how this impacts the Trojans going forward, especially next season. Wesley was supposed to be an upperclassman leader for a young squad, so Enfield will need someone else to step up and fill that role instead.
Fortunately, USC has an impressive recruiting class coming to campus next season (ranked No. 28 by 247Sports). Jordan McLaughlin is the crown jewel of that group, and he will certainly see some of the minutes that Wesley leaves behind.
Young weapons like Julian Jacobs and Nikola Jovanovic will also have to step up for USC if it hopes to win more than two games in the Pac-12 without its best player from a year ago.