The day after Byron Wesley landed in the hands of Gonzaga after transferring in April from USC, Andy Enfield, undaunted, fought off higher prestige basketball schools such as North Carolina and Cincinnati, to land Scout.com’s 40th ranked recruit, former Loyola Marymount signee, Elijah Stewart, adding to their growing list of star recruits.
Stewart almost eliminates the memory of losing a high powered scorer like Wesley, and proves that Enfield is blazing a trail of adding star recruits to the Trojans. The 4-star, 6’5, shooting guard/wing is the 2014 Los Angeles City Section Player of the Year from Westchester HS in Los Angeles.
Stewart averaged 19.2 points, 5.1 rebounds 3.2 assists and 2.1 blocks for the 30-7 Westchester HS. His accolades also include being on the 10-man Los Angeles Times All-Star team, the Long Beach Press-Telegram All-Area Team and was named to the Cal-Hi Sports All-State First Team.
Stewart a short month ago became highly sought after when Loyola-Marymount changed head coaches, leading him to request release from his signed letter of intent. Once granted, Oklahoma St., Cincinnati, UCLA, North Carolina, and many other schools threw their name in the hat to pursue Stewart. And, the Trojans managed to come out the victor.
The Trojans have consistently succeeded in additions of local elite products such as Jordan McLaughlin, whom also was named to the Cal-Hi Sports All-State First team, as well as high school teammate of Stewart’s, Malik Marquetti.
Enfield is quickly defying skepticism that he would be unable to land top-50 recruit talent at a school not widely known for basketball vs. a powerhouse across town like UCLA.
Much acknowledgement can be given to former San Diego St. assistant Tony Bland and Pepperdine assistant, Jason Hart, whom Enfield hired away from their respective schools. Both have been large players in Los Angeles area recruiting and it’s clearly paying its dividends.
With Katin Reinhardt, another California native, becoming available from his transfer at UNLV, Enfield is building homegrown quality talent and swaying them away from the (THE as in UCLA) competition.
USC Basketball, by recruiting standards, is surely starting to show promise with their additions of high profile, star recruits. Although this doesn’t mean that USC is better outside of what’s on paper, the talent is definitely there for the Trojans to change their 2-conference win total from 2013-14.