Men’s basketball secures commitment from top recruit

After a corruption scandal rocked the USC men’s basketball team, Andy Enfield lost a commitment from top recruit J’Raan Books. He gained a commitment from Elijah Weaver. Photo by Matt Karatsu | Daily Trojan

The men’s basketball program picked up a commitment from Florida recruit Elijah Weaver, a four-star point guard from Oldsmar Christian High School, late Monday afternoon.

Weaver announced his decision to take his talents to Southern California after whittling down his final choices to Ohio State, Oklahoma State and Florida.

“I just trust their coaching staff,” Weaver said to “Their player development is second to none. They are all point guards on the staff and some that went to the league, and they can develop me.”

Weaver, a pure point guard who won a state title in Florida earlier this year, joins an already-loaded 2018 recruiting class that sports the likes of fellow ESPN 100 stars Taeshon Cherry and Kevin Porter. The decision to come to USC surprised many not only because the guard snubbed his local Florida Gators, but also because Weaver elected to commit to USC in the wake of the FBI scandal involving USC assistant coach Tony Bland and the recent decommitment by former Trojan recruit J’Raan Brooks.

“I’m trusting their program, and I know they didn’t do anything crazy that will cost them sanctions or penalties,” Weaver said. “I talk to [head coach Andy Enfield] all the time, and he reassured me that there’s nothing serious that’s going to happen to them so that’s why I went ahead and committed.”

Weaver, fielding offers from top-flight programs such as Butler, Maryland, Villanova and UCLA, announced his final four schools on Aug. 30 before finally choosing USC nearly a month and a half later.

Along with citing his relationship with Enfield, Weaver explained in his announcement that his long-standing association with current assistant coach Chris Capko started during Capko’s time on staff at Florida International.

“Coach Capko and coach Enfield — it was a mixture of them both,” Weaver said. “Coach Capko I’ve known a long time. He recruited me when he was at FIU. He was recruiting me since I was in the 10th grade, and our relationship has just been growing ever since.”

Ranked as the 42nd-best player and 10th-best point guard in the 2018 class by ESPN, Weaver will join a backcourt that features sophomore Jonah Matthews, junior Devin Fleming, sophomore De’Anthony Melton, redshirt sophomore Derryck Thornton, redshirt junior Shaqquan Aaron and true freshman Jordan Usher.

At 6-foot-5 and 195 pounds, Weaver brings size and strength to a USC lineup that already features another powerful, Southeast-bred guard in Usher. Regardless of Weaver’s future role in the Trojan lineup, his commitment signifies a positive trend for a USC basketball program rocked by the Bland scandal and loss of one top-50 recruit.

Now that Weaver is solidly in USC’s hands, Enfield could use this commitment as leverage to land other 2018 recruits currently on the fence about coming to USC. Four-star power forward and 62nd-ranked recruit Kamaka Hepa is currently weighing his options between USC, Gonzaga, Texas and Arizona.

Four-star shooting guard Khavon Moore and four-star power forward Emmitt Williams are reportedly considering USC as an option, they but have not yet made their decision regarding their top choices.

With former Bishop Gorman star freshman guard Charles O’Bannon Jr. currently playing in a Trojan uniform, there is a chance that O’Bannon could help lure three-star small forward Jamal Bey. Ranked as the third-best player in Nevada, the Bishop Gorman star is deciding between offers from Arizona State, Nevada, San Diego State and UNLV.

With top recruits likely to announce their decisions before high school basketball season starts, Trojan fans are on the lookout for a potential late USC signing.