Top-ranked basketball recruit Taeshon Cherry commits to USC

Highly touted forward Taeshon Cherry committed to USC on Friday, continuing head coach Andy Enfield’s impressive recruiting campaign the last few seasons. ESPN ranks him as a five-star recruit.

Cherry announced his commitment on Twitter with a picture of himself in a USC uniform.

Cherry, who averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds a game at St. Augustine High School in San Diego, is the highest-ranked recruit in the Enfield era. The last time USC basketball snagged a recruit as coveted as Cherry was 2007 when current Toronto Raptors forward DeMar DeRozan committed to the University.

He is the second power forward to commit to USC just this week following four-star recruit J’Raan Brooks’ announcement on Monday.

Cherry, a 6-foot-8 San Diego native, turned down Arizona, Gonzaga and Texas A&M in favor of USC.

“My relationship with coach Tony [Bland] and Coach Enfield was better than all the other schools,” Cherry told ESPN. “Their style of play fits my style of play. Our matchup was meant to be.”

Cherry’s scouting report on describes him as a versatile forward who can shoot from distance, rebound the ball and handle the ball on the fastbreak. He lends similarities to junior forward Bennie Boatwright, and may be a potential replacement if Boatwright forgoes his senior season.

Enfield will have one of the most talented rosters in the country next year with all five of his starters returning. Since his hiring in 2013, USC basketball has risen in the ranks. Last season, led by power forwards Bennie Boatwright and Chimezie Metu, the team won 26 games — its most in a single season — and advanced to the Round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament.

Cherry’s recruitment is especially important to Enfield because many of USC’s key players next season are expected to declare for the draft, with Jordan McLaughlin and Elijah Stewart as seniors and juniors Boatwright and Chimezie Metu talented enough to be on the NBA radar.

But for now, Cherry joins a deep team that is projected to be ranked in the top 15 nationwide in preseason polls. In March, prior to the NCAA Tournament, Enfield talked to the Daily Trojan about what he expected next season.

“If this team stays together with our recruits coming in next year … we think it’s a special team now, but with another year of experience, you can project everyone coming back,” Enfield said. “I think this program’s headed in the right direction.”