The USC Trojans made it to the NCAA men's basketball tournament for the first time since the 2010-11 season this year, but their immediate future took a hit with the loss of Katin Reinhardt on Monday.
According to Jeff Goodman of ESPN, Reinhardt will transfer after averaging 11.4 points per game in 2015-16. Goodman noted Reinhardt will be eligible to play his final collegiate season as a graduate transfer in the fall.
Reinhardt also took to Twitter to thank the Trojans family and explain his plans:
Katin Reinhardt @5SWISH
I just want to thank the Trojan family for an amazing last few years! I will graduate and transfer to continue my graduate degree.2016-3-29 04:36:08
This is not the first time the guard has switched schools. Reinhardt initially chose UNLV as a highly regarded 4-star recruit, per 247Sports' composite rankings, but he transferred to USC after his freshman season.
At his best, he is a consistent scorer who can stretch the floor from three-point range and attack the basket off the dribble as a 6’6” matchup problem in the backcourt. He hasn't been much of a rebounder, but he has found a number of different ways to score, pouring in 29 points Dec. 17 against Cal Poly and 26 points Dec. 23 against Lafayette.
In all, he posted similar numbers in his two seasons with USC:
|Katin Reinhardt's Per-Game Stats|
Zach Helfand of the Los Angeles Times reported Reinhardt was the third USC player to transfer since the team's 70-69 season-ending loss to Providence in the first round of the Big Dance. Forwards Malik Martin and Darion Clark also elected to leave the Trojans, but neither of them was the impact player Reinhardt was in 2015-16.
Martin averaged 1.8 points in 6.6 minutes per night, while Clark scored 2.6 points in 11.1 minutes per game for USC.
Helfand suggested Reinhardt's decision could be a response to what figures to be a crowded USC guard rotation in 2016-17. Elijah Stewart, Jordan McLaughlin and Julian Jacobs will all be back after helping the Trojans reach the NCAA tournament. Louisville transfer Shaqquan Aaron could also see plenty of minutes, and recruits Jonah Mathews and De'Anthony Melton will join the mix as well.
While the loss of Reinhardt is a blow to USC’s depth, there are enough pieces in place in the backcourt to survive his transfer and still compete in the Pac-12 in 2016-17. Plus, his absence could create additional playing time for the youngsters, which may benefit the Trojans by March as players grow accustomed to their roles.
As for Reinhardt, he is a proven talent who scored in double figures in each of the past two seasons in one of the best leagues in the nation. He will likely slide into his new team's rotation and continue to shoot threes and slash to the rim in his last collegiate season.