Former Russian big man signs to USC basketball, will play immediately

Andy Enfield, USC Basketball, USC Trojans
Andy Enfield, USC Basketball, USC Trojans / Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

USC basketball enters this season with one of the most well-rounded rosters in the entire nation. Outside of their key pieces, USC has several other players that are capable of making an impact on both ends of the floor. Head coach Andy Enfield will create countless opportunities for each player entering next season.

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Recently, USC basketball has announced the addition of seven-footer Iaroslav Niagu from the NBA Global Academy. As the USC basketball's freshman class was already loaded with talent, Niagu joins Enfield hoping to develop into a foundational prospect for years to come.  

Standing at 7'0", 215 lbs, Niagu is a three-star prospect who can dominate on both ends of the floor. With a well-balanced offensive game, high-end rebounding abilities, and elite rim protection, Niagu has all of the tools needed to become a generational talent. Furthermore, during his time overseas, Niagu was playing against some of the best players from several other countries.

Although it may take him time to adjust to a different level of basketball, Enfield will provide enough time and support for Niagu to succeed. Additionally, Niagu will have players like Boogie Ellis, Drew Peterson, and Kobe Johnson who will be assigned in guiding him in other areas off the court. It is inevitable that Niagu will prosper in USC's system.

With patience, Iaroslav Niagu can become a superstar for USC basketball.

USC basketball has discovered a stud in Iaroslav Niagu. After playing in numerous tournaments at such a young age, Niagu already has the experience and understanding required to play at the collegiate level. It is only a matter of time before he is leading the charge for USC. 

With such a raw offensive game, Niagu is a project in the making. As good of a scorer as he is, Niagu's playmaking, footwork, and mechanics may need to be refined. However, his defensive abilities will pave the way for him in receiving some quality playing time during his freshman season. 

In 2020-21, Niagu played exceptionally well during the Addidas Next Gen Tournament. He averaged 11.3 points per game and 8.8 rebounds per game, along with 2.5 blocks per game for the U18 Lokomotiv Kuban. Moreover, Niagu posted these phenomenal numbers while only playing 23.0 minutes per game.

When watching him play, Niagu has great instincts on the offensive end and tends to always make the right read. He mainly thrives in the pick-and-roll and can finish through contact. Due to his strengths in the pick-and-roll, opposing teams are prone to sending double teams which can create open shots around the perimeter. In addition, Niagu's touch around the rim stands out when observing some of the best players of his size.

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It is fair to say that Enfield has found himself a future star in Niagu. Over the next few seasons, Niagu will continue to grow into the best player he can be. As for now, his contributions will come from the defensive end as he works on improving his offensive game. Joining USC was quite the start for Niagu, as the sky is the limit for the young star.