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    Monday, June 24, 2024

    USC's Bronny James declares for NBA draft and enters transfer portal after 1 season

    Southern California guard Bronny James (6) scrambles for the bal lwith Arizona guard Pelle Larsson (3) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the quarterfinal round of the Pac-12 tournament Thursday, March 14, 2024, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

    Los Angeles — Bronny James will enter the NBA draft after one season at Southern California that was shortened by his recovery from cardiac arrest.

    The 19-year-old son of LeBron James announced Friday on his Instagram account that he also plans to retain his college eligibility and will enter the transfer portal.

    "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.

    James posted his decision hours before USC introduced Eric Musselman as its new coach. He comes from Arkansas and replaces Andy Enfield, who left on Monday to become coach at SMU.

    Musselman is scrambling to assemble a coaching staff and assess a roster that has also lost junior Kobe Johnson, who said Thursday that he's committed to crosstown rival UCLA. USC star freshman Isaiah Collier attended Musselman's news conference.

    "I need to try to get a hold of Bronny. I've texted him," Musselman said after his campus news conference. "Certainly he's got a lot of options and we respect those options. We just want him to know that, hey, this opportunity here, if you want to play at USC, we'd love to have him. Such a talented young man."

    James averaged 4.8 points and 2.8 rebounds while starting six of 25 games for the Trojans. He shot 37% from the field, 27% from 3-point range and 68% from the free throw line.

    The elder James, his wife and their 9-year-old daughter were frequent courtside spectators at the Galen Center this season.

    "Bronny is his own man," the elder James said this week. "He has some tough decisions to make. When he's ready to make those decisions, he'll let us all know. But as his family, we're going to support whatever he does."

    The 39-year-old James has been vocal about wanting to play with his son in the NBA.

    Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul, who represents father and son, said recently that he doesn't "value a young player getting into the lottery as much as I do getting him on the right team in the right developmental situation."

    James, a 6-foot-4 combo guard, didn't make his college debut until Dec. 10. Afterward, James appeared in front of the media for less than a minute to thank the doctors, athletic trainers and support system that helped him return to play.

    Despite numerous requests, James never spoke to reporters during the season.

    He suffered cardiac arrest on July 20 during a workout at the Galen Center. He was found to have a congenital heart defect that was treatable.

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