LOS ANGELES — USC freshman guard Bronny James is expected to make his debut against Long Beach State at the Galen Center on Sunday afternoon, after months of anticipation.
Bronny, the son of Lakers star LeBron James, was a full participant at practice on Thursday. He will go through another full-contact practice on Friday, and James will debut on Sunday afternoon if there are no setbacks. There was no indication of how long James would be out after he experienced cardiac arrest during a summer workout.
James was hospitalized and spent three days in the ICU. He was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect and underwent surgery. However, if all goes well, he will make his debut at the Galen Center for USC on Sunday. LeBron will be in attendance for the game as he and the Lakers will fly back to Los Angeles Saturday night after the NBA In-Season Tournament championship game.
“Looking forward to that for sure,” LeBron told the media on Thursday in Las Vegas. “Super excited for that moment. One, I can’t wait to see him run out with his teammates. And once he checks into the game, it’s gonna be a big moment for our family.”
During his first full practice on Thursday, James was able to participate in contact drills and a full practice of about two hours and felt good, according to Coach Andy Enfield.
“Bronny is a very smart basketball player, and he has been paying attention on the sideline while he cannot participate.” said Enfield after practice on Thursday.
Enfield is thrilled to have a complete and deep roster after being limited to a few players at the start of the season. His teammates are equally excited to see James back on the court, and so is the whole world. Trojans G Kobe Johnson believes that James’ return will enhance the team’s defense.
“He’s a great defender; a lot of people don’t know that about him, so to have him out there on the defensive end, it’s going to be chaotic.” said Johnson after practice.
Boogie Ellis spoke to the media after Thursday’s practice. He expressed his excitement about the news that James is nearing his debut this coming Sunday. Boogie had the opportunity to practice with James on the court for the first time since the summer and shared what he enjoyed the most about being on the court with his teammate again.
“You know, just how good of a passer he is, he’s able to create his own shot, create shots for other people.”
James is considered the perfect role player for the Trojans. He can complement Boogie Ellis and Isaiah Collier in the backcourt due to his exceptional basketball IQ and selfless attitude. He is highly active on the defensive end, as his teammate Kobe Johnson stated after practice. There is talk about what kind of impact James could bring to this basketball team, and by watching how he’s been developing while at USC, you can see that he is the kind of player that can make a significant impact on winning on both sides of the court. USC is off to a 5-3 start this season without James, but will likely be on a minute restriction on Sunday.
More to come following Friday’s practice as they prepare to face Long Beach State at 1 pm on Sunday at the Galen Center.