PHOENIX SUNS

USC’s Bronny James declares for NBA Draft and enters transfer portal

Apr 5, 2024, 9:23 AM

USC's Bronny James is defended by Pelle Larsson and Oumar Ballo of Arizona...

Bronny James #6 of the USC Trojans controls the ball against Oumar Ballo #11 of the Arizona Wildcats and Pelle Larsson #3 during the second half at McKale Center on January 17, 2024 in Tucson, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

USC Trojans freshman guard Bronny James will enter the 2024 NBA Draft and keep the door open to a college return by entering the transfer portal, he announced Friday.

James’ decision comes after head coach Andy Enfield departed USC to coach at SMU. The Trojans have tabbed former Arkansas head coach Eric Musselman to replace Enfield.

“I’ve had a year with some ups and downs but all added to growth for me as a man, student and athlete,” James wrote on Instagram. “I’ve made the decision to enter the NBA Draft while maintaining my college eligibility and will also be entering the NCAA transfer portal.

“Thank you to USC for an amazing freshman year, and as always thankful for my family, friends, doctors, athletic trainers and fans for their support.”

James began the year sidelined after he collapsed during a practice session with the Trojans in July. It was determined he suffered cardiac arrest caused by a congenital heart defect.

A heart procedure and recovery allowed James, the oldest son of NBA superstar LeBron James, to debut by Dec. 10.

The NBA will require medical clearance for Bronny James to participate in pre-draft workouts. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that James will “meet with targeted teams for workouts and interviews prior to the May 31 deadline to stay in the draft and find out whether there’s a potential developmental situation — regardless of draft position — that would make sense for him to stay in the draft.”

James’ agent, Rich Paul, told ESPN previously that LeBron James’ status with the Los Angeles Lakers will not dictate where the younger James targets for a landing spot.

James is viewed as a developmental prospect and is not listed on ESPN’s list of the 100 best players in the 2024 draft, nor on The Athletic’s most recent mock draft.

A four-star prospect out of Sierra Canyon High School, James averaged 4.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists for USC. He played mostly off the bench for USC.

Injuries on the Trojans saw James play a season-high 30 minutes in a Jan. 17 start against the Arizona Wildcats. He scored 11 points to go with five rebounds and six assists in that game but fell out of the rotation as USC got healthier toward the end of the season.

USC’s final game was a 70-49 loss to Arizona in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Tournament. James scored three points in 22 minutes off the bench.

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