Brony James on LeBron for USC: Watch guard’s chase-down block, more highlights

LOS ANGELES — The crowd at Galen Center swelled to 12:58 in the first half Sunday afternoon. USC students formed a line around the arena two hours before tipoff. Other Trojan fans have been waiting months to finally see it.

Brony James, a McDonald’s All-American guard, made his college debut with his father and NBA superstar LeBron James sitting on the court. The crowd applauded the Long Beach State ball-handler every time he defended, and gasped when he took his first shot in his first game since suffering a heart attack in July.

James, who was expected to be in the one-minute restriction, played six minutes in the first half. He didn’t score — he missed his only shot attempt — but found a way to make a highlight reel with a chase-down block eerily reminiscent of his father. The moment sent the crowd into a frenzy. Moments later he followed it up with a nifty assist at the other end of the floor.

He finished the first half with one block, one rebound and one assist and was plus-minus 8 as USC led 45-30 at halftime. A 3 was sunk for his first collegiate points early in the second half. Vincent Iwuchukwu, Kobe Johnson, Boogie Ellis, Isaiah Collier and Harrison Hornery all started for USC.

Doctors cleared James to return to basketball on November 30. He returned for full-contact practice Thursday after receiving clearance from USC’s medical staff. During Sunday’s preliminary round of shooting, James threw a windmill dunk.

“All indications are he’s feeling good, and he’s looking good,” USC coach Andy Enfield said this week. He said James has been increasing his cardio, personal training and weight lifting. The coach said it will take time for James to regain his rhythm and get into game shape.

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“Adjusting to the college game is hard for anybody, but when you’re out for six months, it takes time,” Enfield said. “But Broney is incredible. His attention to detail, his work ethic, he’s taken this step by step with our athletic trainers, our doctors and our strength coach.

LeBron said Thursday that he “can’t wait to see (Bronie) run out with his teammates,” adding that when he gets to the game, “It’s going to be a big moment for (their) family.”

“Obviously it’s going to be a big moment for him. But he can talk about it when he decides he wants to,” LeBron said. “But it’s a big milestone for our family, and of course, it’s another step in his journey in his basketball career.”

After entering the season in the top 25, USC slipped to a 5-3 record after losses to UC Irvine, Oklahoma and Gonzaga. The Trojans are currently unranked and have three games remaining before conference play.

USC is led by a pair of guards in senior Ellis, who ranks eighth nationally at 22.4 points per game and the No. 1 pick in the 2024 NBA Draft, and freshman Collier, the No. 1 prospect in the 2023 class and one of two freshmen averaging 17 points and four assists per game. .

In October, conference coaches voted Long Beach to finish second in the Big West behind UC Santa Barbara. Through 10 games, the team is 6-4, with its best win coming on Nov. 17 against Michigan. LBSU is led by senior Marcus Sohonis, who is averaging 17.2 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.9 assists.

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Long Beach State has four players averaging 11 points or more, including Lassina Traore (11.6), Jadon Jones (11.2) and Aboubacar Traore (11.1). Long Beach State is looking for its first win at USC since 1987 and first against the Trojans since 2013.

How to watch Brony’s debut

USC-LBSU tips off Sunday at 4pm ET on the Pac-12 Network.

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(Photo: Caitlin Mulcahy/Getty Images)

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