USC and the NBA Draft

NBA draft: USC’s Isaiah Collier could slide and be a steal

Evaluating the potential NBA fits for former Trojans Isaiah Collier, Bronny James and Boogie Ellis

USC guard Boogie Ellis (5) and guard Isaiah Collier (1) celebrate after Ellis scores a three point shot against Arizona State during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, March 7, 2024, in Los Angeles. Southern California won 81-73. (AP Photo/Raul Romero Jr.)
Guards Boogie Ellis (5) and Isaiah Collier (1) celebrate after Ellis scores a three-pointer vs ASU during the second half on Thursday, March 7, 2024, in Los Angeles. USC 81-73. (AP Photo/Raul Romero Jr.)

Luca Evans (OC Register)  —  LOS ANGELES — In early December, a day after a loss in which he missed 10 shots and seven free throws, Isaiah Collier stepped into former USC assistant coach Eric Mobley’s office for some guidance.

Two weeks earlier, the USC freshman had been mocked as the No. 1 pick in the 2024 NBA draft (Barclays Center in Brooklyn; Wed, Jun 26, 2024 – Thu, Jun 27, 2024; 5pm PT on ABC and ESPN) by ESPN after a few games of college basketball, the top-ranked point guard in the nation in the class of 2023.

But Collier’s game was a confounding paradox at this level, his offensive and defensive instincts not quite caught up to NBA-ready speed and body control. Within a handful of games, his public stock began to fall, averaging more turnovers than assists through his first nine games.

So Mobley, knowing the pressure on Collier’s shoulders, told him of his son Evan Mobley’s journey, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 draft after going one-and-done at USC. Collier, like Evan, was already at the top of the mountain, Mobley said.

“I told him, I said, ‘They have nothing else to do but to pick your game apart,’” Mobley told the Southern California News Group in December.

For months, since USC’s midseason collapse and Collier faded from public discourse with a monthlong broken hand, they have picked. And picked. And picked some more. Since that ESPN-pinned high point in the winter, Collier has seemingly fallen off the lottery map, the positives in his profile chipped away by prognosticators to dig up the obvious flaws beneath. He’s widely projected to be selected in the 20s during Wednesday’s first round, The Athletic even sliding him as low as 26th.

Through one lens, the souring is understandable. Collier measured just 6-foot-2½ at the NBA Combine, with a wingspan of about 6-5. His shot (33.8% from 3-point range, 67% from the free-throw line), defense and decision-making were shaky throughout his freshman year. But Collier returned in Pac-12 play after his injury with a more polished game, with few freshmen in the country matching his blend of scoring burden (16.3 points a game) with efficiency (49% from the field)

As fellow USC freshman Bronny James – understandably – has become the story of the draft amid widespread projection he could join his 39-year old father (oldest player in the League) with the Lakers, Collier’s slide could quietly make him one of the biggest steals on Wednesday at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

Here’s a primer on Collier, James and USC’s potential draftees.

Isaiah Collier, PG

2023-24 stats: 16.3 PPG, 4.3 APG, 3.3 TO/G, 49% FG

Likely pick range: 15-25

Team fits: Toronto Raptors (No. 19), Phoenix Suns (No. 22), New York Knicks (No. 24)

Outlook: Collier’s shot, decision-making and defensive effort are in need of continued development, but the strengths that made the 19-year-old a projected top pick a year ago – vision, strength, finishing ability under the rim – shone at times during his freshman year at USC. He’d be a natural fit on a rebuilding team like the Toronto Raptors, or a team in need of a backup point guard like Phoenix.

Bronny James, G

2023-24 stats: 4.8 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 2.1 APG, 37% FG

Likely pick range: 50-58

Team fits: Lakers (No. 55)

Outlook: Let’s table the nepotism conversation for now. James, 19, is a better NBA prospect than he’s widely given credit for, even standing at only 6-1½, thanks to his defensive upside and IQ. Even after ramping back up from a frightening cardiac arrest last summer, though, James was notably passive offensively as a freshman at USC, and needs to showcase the ability to make more confident shot-making decisions at the next level.

Boogie Ellis, G

2023-24 stats: 16.5 PPG, 3.0 APG, 42% 3FG

Likely pick range: 40-undrafted

Team fits: Miami Heat (No. 43), San Antonio Spurs (No. 48)

Outlook: USC’s captain has clawed his way into potential second-round consideration after impressing at the G-League Elite Camp and the combine, molding himself into one of the best shooters in the country across three years at USC. At 23, he faces challenges in size (6-1) and athleticism, but Ellis’ shot-making ability should warrant him a late second-round pick or a 10-day look; he’s been hosted for pre-draft workouts by nine teams, according to HoopsHype.

ocregister.com

___________

TrojanDailyBlog members —  We always encourage you to add factual information, insight, divergent opinions, or new topics to the TDB that don’t necessarily pertain to any particular moderator post or member comment.

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illinoisusc
Noble Genius
illinoisusc
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June 28, 2024 10:49 am

Whoever we get…..we get. LR has been the head coach for 3 years. It’s his time to win or lose. No training on the job for a 10 million dollar salary…….and no excuses. As for blaming his NIL for lack of support…..dude……you’ve been at USC for 3 years…..if you have not built a support structure by now……don’t go pointing at others…..you are the head coach……and this is not small town Norman. USC is loaded with folks that are just as good at selling snake oil as you might be……and as my mentor 60 years ago taught me……don’t try to bullshit… Read more »

volunteerTrojan
Noble Genius
June 29, 2024 6:07 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Did you enjoy some shave ice from Matsumoto’s, or some fresh shrimp from Romi’s?

Canyon
Genius Member
Canyon
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June 29, 2024 7:57 am

Bruddah Volunteer, for real good places,Shaka. Honolulu, Ala Moana Shopping Center, food court is a wonderful place for very good, ono Kau Kau. Amazing selections, any kine grub, international cuisine. Broke da mouth one time…

Peace & Aloha.

Chris
Major Genius
Chris
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June 28, 2024 10:47 am

For those that have the time, go listen to locked on USC podcast. Scott Schrader joins Mark to talk recruiting. I think Scott is as close to knowing what’s happening as anyone. Good listen.

Steveg
Noble Genius
Steveg
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June 28, 2024 2:02 pm
Reply to  Chris

One thing about SS is he only goes so far and doesn’t report stuff he doesn’t know about. When he really knows about something he lets you know that too.

Canyon
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Canyon
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June 28, 2024 5:23 pm
Reply to  Chris

What I found were old MK podcast. What did SS say regarding USC problems since the de-commitments? Thanxs.

Maybe post a link and we can hear what he said…

Canyon
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Canyon
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June 28, 2024 8:23 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Not good folks. There’s a big problem with USC recruiting. Several theories were brought up here. Plan B? Cheers.  

PS. About 10 days ago, read where Stubbs said very good things about the coaches and USC. Classic lip service and messing around with the coaches and fans. Happens every year, stupid kids and games they play…

Golden Trojan
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Golden Trojan
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June 27, 2024 3:33 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Obviously the LA Lakers have no interest in winning. Pick a kid not yet ready for the NBA just so he can play with a guy too old to still be playing in the NBA. Historic footnotes are better than titles.

Chris
Major Genius
Chris
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June 27, 2024 4:44 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

scratch off is great analogy. For every Jokic there are 10000 other guys who fill out a roster on the end of the bench. If you get a 15 min a game role player out of the 2nd round you are ahead of the curve, if you get a starter you are crushing it.

Chris
Major Genius
Chris
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June 27, 2024 4:40 pm
Reply to  Golden Trojan

100% with you on Bronny. Lebron is still a top 10 player in NBA, even at his age. He might be better than that. The guy is a marvel.

ATL D.D.S.
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ATL D.D.S.
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June 29, 2024 4:34 am
Reply to  Golden Trojan

Shows you who really runs the Lakers—it’s that primma donna LeBron.

Canyon
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Canyon
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June 28, 2024 5:01 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Sorry to say this,da Lakers organization is a Big Joke. Dr. Buss must be rolling in his grave. I’m no longer a Laker and Lebron fan… Cheers.

Canyon
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Canyon
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June 29, 2024 7:50 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

OK Bruddah Allen got it. Still, dis move is a Big Joke. Since Jerry West left and da Kobe teams, da Lakers has been a sorry arse team and organization.

Shaka for You Tube, I often find myself viewing da Magic/Kareem teams and Kobe/Shag teams. Man those teams were the Great Lakers. Cheers.
 

Canyon
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Canyon
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June 27, 2024 8:22 am

Reminder: Watch the remaining USA T & F Olympic trails. Here’s da TV schedule.

Thursday, June 27, Thursday. Finals NBC, Peacock 8-11 p.m. Heats, Peacock11-11:45 p.m.

Friday, June 28, . Finals, USA Network, Peacock 8-10 p.m. Finals NBC, Peacock10-11 p.m.

Saturday, June 29. Finals, NBC Peacock 8-10 p.m.

Sunday, June 30. Finals, NBC Peacock 7:30-8:30 p.m.

trojandn
Genius Member
trojandn
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June 26, 2024 9:30 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

It was said that West criticized Jeanie’s relationship with Phil Jackson. Big mistake by West if true. Nothing like a woman scorned coming after you and that is why she basically ran him out of the organization.

Chris
Major Genius
Chris
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June 26, 2024 3:16 pm

Did anyone read the NCAA ruling on coaches? As I understand it, hire as many coaches as you want and they can all help on the field. No more advisory roles. Time for LR to hit up former players and get some guys in there that know what it’s like to win big. Also, go ahead and hire a special teams coordinator.

Golden Trojan
Major Genius
Golden Trojan
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June 26, 2024 3:56 pm
Reply to  Chris

For sure, no excuse for not having a STC.

Steveg
Noble Genius
Steveg
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June 26, 2024 5:03 pm
Reply to  Golden Trojan

Finally the endless debate over STC can come to an end. Those that want one run around with their hair on fire, those that don’t care just roll their eyes.

Golden Trojan
Major Genius
Golden Trojan
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June 26, 2024 3:49 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Let’s hope he’s seeing something we haven’t seen yet and not just giving us The Cat speak. He is right LA should have a huge advantage over the rest of the country in NIL and revenue sharing.

Canyon
Genius Member
Canyon
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June 27, 2024 8:47 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Another C.LR lip service. Where’s my puke bag. He would make a good politician.   C.LR, “Behind the scenes the last two years, everyone saw what was there, there’s been a lot of recruiting and a lot of good development that’s been going on here. People got to see that in the bowl game and I think that’s only been added to with some of the staff additions we’ve made this year.”   Does dis guy really believe everything he says? C.LR & C.Helton same BS interviews and lip service.   Eh, C.LR enough already, change your recruiting strategy Brah. Work… Read more »

Steveg
Noble Genius
Steveg
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June 26, 2024 5:07 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I think he is buddies with Juju. If he committed then it would seem logical to assume Juju is a lock and will shut down recruitment soon.

TrojanRon
Genius Member
TrojanRon
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June 26, 2024 12:53 am

Hoping for the best for Collier, Ellis, and James. Recent draftees have done well in the NBA including Evan Mobley and Drew Peterson. Fight On!

ATL D.D.S.
Noble Genius
ATL D.D.S.
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June 26, 2024 6:00 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Ugh. Middle of the pack. At least I won’t have unrealistic expectations this season.

Steveg
Noble Genius
Steveg
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June 26, 2024 5:08 pm
Reply to  ATL D.D.S.

Hang in there Doc, the Trojans could surprise a lot of people. Nobody knows for sure anything about records at this point.

Chris
Major Genius
Chris
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June 26, 2024 12:31 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Michigan on the road, Penn state at home are 2 toughest conference games. I say we split those. We shouldn’t be losing to Wisc, Neb, Rutgers, or Wash, which are next best. But even if we slip against 1 of those, we are 7-2 in conference. We need to go 2-1 out of conference with a split against LSU / Notre Dame. I think we will. I think 9-3 if we lose somewhere we shouldn’t and 10-2 if we don’t. I’m sticking with 10-2 and a shot at a conference title and playoff.
Fight On!!!!

Chris
Major Genius
Chris
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June 26, 2024 3:12 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I’m a total homer and not offended easily. No worries. I’ll pump sunshine even if it’s all on my own.

I do have reasoning for the 10-2 prediction. The main reason is staff. I also think we are better across the board at every position group other than QB.

Chris
Major Genius
Chris
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June 26, 2024 4:07 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Good call. We won’t have anyone as good, but as a group I think we can be same or better. Plus the line will be better. Our best two lineman are returning and Paige seems ready to be a productive LT. I think RT will be question mark. Last years line wasn’t very good at all, while 2 years ago it was really good. I think or hope, we will bounce back. it will be interesting to watch how we play this year. I don’t see Miller taking over and switching play calls too often. I think Riley will run… Read more »

Steveg
Noble Genius
Steveg
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June 26, 2024 5:11 pm
Reply to  Chris

Chris, what gets me is Mich is not what they were last year. They will be less, and I think USC will be better than last year. I am not sure there is a guaranteed lose anywhere on the schedule. Remember Penn St always seems to loose the big one.
There’s some sunshine for ya.

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