The USC Trojans have found their man to lead the mens basketball program in Andy Enfield, and according to Andy Katz the Trojans have locked him up to a six-year deal. The 43-year-old head coach had been the talk of the NCAA Tournament, thanks to the unforeseen efforts of his 15th-seed Florida Gulf Coast Eagles, putting him in the national spotlight.
Enfield led a team of destiny in Florida Gulf Coast to the Round of 16, a run that captivated audiences by witnessing a surprisingly dominant display of basketball. Enfield’s success became the biggest story in college basketball, as everything in his backstory –from his supermodel wife to his niche as a shooting specialist, and his success in the business venture– captivated millions.
FGCU was an intriguing program because it only began competing in Division I athletics in 2011. During his first two years at the helm with a newly found DI program, Enfield notched a 41-28 record. Before coaching at Florida Gulf Coast, Enfield most recently served at Florida State as an assistant to Leonard Hamilton.
Enfield takes over a Trojan squad who worked under two head coaches this past season, in Kevin O’Neill and Bob Cantu that led the Trojans to a 9-9 record in Pac-12 play.
But despite the eight win improvement from last season, the Trojans finished the year with a lack of luster performance. The up-tempo squad lost three straight to finish the season, culminating with two players being suspended indefinitely and a gut-wrenching first-round loss to Utah in the Pac-12 Tournament.
The current squad may not be as flashy as Enfield’s former squad in Dunk City, but they possess a fair share of athletes with Byron Wesley and leading-scorer J.T. Terrell leading the charge next season, in addition to Dewayne Dedmon, should he return.
Last season, USC played two completely different styles of basketball under the stern Kevin O’Neill and the loose Bob Cantu. Enfield is a players coach, who allows his men to play free but also with intense focus when the moment calls for rigorous dedication.
The FGCU Eagles played a carefree style of basketball, committing a negative assist to turnover ratio this season. They also played above expectations rising to the national ranks, something the Trojans are also working towards in the coming seasons.
That being said, Enfield has shown his motivational abilities scouting out a game plan to attack the larger Georgetown Hoyas, running past the SDSU Aztecs, and stifling the Florida Gators in the first half of their Sweet Sixteen matchup.
The first area Enfield might make an impact is with the attitude of the program, one that desperately needs a culture shock to reinvigorate a fan base barely averaging 4,000 fans per night.
The Trojans have struggled through consecutive losing seasons, and sanction-laden years following Tim Floyd. On the surface, the signing of Enfield brings a jolt of energy to a program that is desperate to meet the growing demands of Los Angeles, a town with UCLA, Clippers and Lakers basketball attracting the headlines.
According to his twitter page, Enfield leads the NCAA in all-time FT percentage, something that speaks to his dedication on and off the basketball court. Free throw shooting was an ill-fated facet of the Trojans game that reared its ugly head throughout the season. Enfield’s dedication to the art should positively impact the club next season.
The next couple of months should be quite exciting as the calm, collected, family man Andy Enfield meets the bright lights and city streets of downtown Los Angeles. As the big-name coach moves from the Atlantic Sun to the recruiting bevy of Pac-12 country.