Drew Peterson was exceptional for USC basketball last year. He was already a pretty good player for the Trojans in the 2020-2021 season, but he took it to a new level this past year. Such a high level, too, that he was named First-Team All-Pac 12. His numbers were stellar this past season.
Peterson scored 12.4 points per game on 46.7% shooting from the field. He shot 41.2% from deep, and 71.7% from the stripe. That free throw clip needs to be better, and he was a little bit inconsistent as a shooter in general, shooting under 40% nine times last season. He was so great when his game was on, though, to where his three-point clip and percentage from the field were truly remarkable.
And he's going to be even better as a scorer in this upcoming season. He'll be in his fifth year, and very experienced. He already grew so much last year, and he came back to USC with one thing on his mind: Develop and get drafted. He'll be eager to win and to improve while he's doing it in his last year of college basketball.
Drew Peterson will score 15 points per game for USC basketball this season.
Drew Peterson will elevate as a scorer this season because USC basketball is going to be able to use him off the ball often. That's because G Boogie Ellis will also be returning, and he can run the point.
USC is going to want a guard like Peterson who is 6'9" to be out on the wing and ready to score. It's going to be a huge advantage to just simply let a freakishly tall two-guard be the No. 1 option for most possessions. So, can Peterson with another year of experience score 2.6 more points on average every game for USC this upcoming year? Most definitely.
And he'll truly have a good PG delivering him the basketball. He'll be shooting really well again, and likely even better after he trained for the NBA in the offseason. He's bound to be better after working towards the next level, and after he now has a full season of elite basketball under his belt. His confidence should be through the roof, and he'll be getting the ball a lot.
Expect that inconsistency he showed at times to be a cleared up a little with all the opportunities he's going to receive to get out of shooting slumps as the No. 1 option. He'll likely raise his shooting percentage to 48.5%, which seems a bit too high for a guard, but he was close to that last year and he has the height to find opportunities inside.
He'll be a year stronger, and can likely do even more inside the three-point line. And with the amount of spot-up opportunities he'll have as the man closest to Ellis when he takes the ball up, his three-point shooting is likely to improve as well. Expect him to reach 42.5%, really establishing himself as an offensive juggernaut.
With him being out on the wing instead of facilitating the offense as the primary ball-handler as much as he did last year, don't expect his 3.3 assists per game average from last season to grow too much. That being said, there are still ways for USC to let him run portions of the offense from out wide. He'll probably end up reaching that four assists per game mark.
With him potentially scoring from inside now that he's a year stronger and will of course continue to have the length, though, look for him to pick up some more boards as he'll be closer to the rim more often. He also will have more chances for put-backs and opportunities to kick the ball back out to Ellis or Tre White around the perimeter.
He picked up 6.2 rebounds a game last year, and that will probably rise to 7 as he'll get more comfortable being near the rim. Also, if he's going to be even more of a two-guard specifically than he was last year, he'll probably not be turning the ball over as much. He coughed it up 2.4 times per game last season, and that's not likely to happen again if his primary job will be to score.
He came into last season averaging 1.8 turnovers per contest, and expect him to regress back to that in a role he'll be a bit more comfortable in. And it's no knock on him to say that he's better as a shooting guard. He's not going to be running the point in the NBA anyway. He's too tall to not use as a scorer primarily off the ball.
And sure, there may not be much evidence that Peterson will definitely progress on defense, but he was already pretty solid there anyway. He had a 98.5 defensive rating last year, and while experience gained doesn't always guarantee productivity, there's no reason to suggest that number will go up.
Peterson's in line for a huge season this upcoming year. He'll have the chance to prove a lot of doubters wrong this year, and prove that he can be the No. 1 on a team capable of going on a run, even with both Mobley brothers taking off for the NBA on him these past two offseasons.
He has a chance to be that next USC draft pick, though, and take advantage of what may be a weak Pac-12 this season.