Bronny James is moving closer to making his college basketball debut for the University of Southern California.
The freshman guard was recently cleared by his doctor for a full return to basketball activities, and he could potentially see his first game action when USC hosts California State University, Long Beach (better known as Long Beach State) on Sunday, according to Seth Davis of The Messenger.
James was sidelined after going into cardiac arrest during a workout in July. He still needs to be cleared by USC’s medical staff, which is expected to happen soon.
“Last Thursday, James’s family announced that his doctor had cleared him to resume all basketball activities three and a half months after he collapsed and went into cardiac arrest during a team workout at USC’s Galen Center,” wrote Davis. “James still needs to be cleared by USC’s medical staff, which is expected to happen sometime this week. There is still much uncertainty in this situation, and given the severity of what happened, no one is cutting corners. But it is looking increasingly possible that James could see his first action when USC plays its next game on Sunday at home against Long Beach State.”
USC coach Andy Enfield is understandably eager for James to take the floor for game action, but he’s been noncommittal about a potential return date. Enfield doesn’t plan to rush the 19-year-old out on the floor, as he wants to make sure that James gets his conditioning up first. After all, it’s been quite a while since James played in a full game.
“As has been his policy all along, USC coach Andy Enfield was not willing to set any expectations for Bronny’s return when I spoke to him by phone on Sunday,” wrote Davis. “Enfield is not involved in any of the medical decisions (as it should be), but he sounded cautiously optimistic that James’s debut is nigh. ‘He’ll have to get in game-shape and have full-contact practices and get his timing back before we just throw him into a college basketball game,’ Enfield said. ‘I’d like it to happen sooner rather than later, but right now I just don’t know.'”
Whenever the youngster does make his debut for USC, his father, Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, plans to be in attendance, even if it conflicts with the Lakers’ schedule.
“I definitely gotta see Bronny’s first college game whenever he’s cleared and ready to go.” LeBron James let #Lakers fans know he'll be out of the office for Bronny's debut. pic.twitter.com/kCBf9Ut0TJ
— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) December 1, 2023
“Whenever he’s cleared and whenever he’s ready to have his first game, I already told my teammates that if they play on the same day we playin’, then I’m gonna have to catch them next game,” the elder James said.
In addition to the contest against Long Beach State, the Trojans have four other games on their schedule before the calendar flips to 2024.
Those games will come against Auburn University, Alabama State University, the University of Oregon and Oregon State University. If the younger James doesn’t end up playing in the game against Long Beach State, it seems likely that his debut will come in one of those other contests before the calendar year ends.
It’s worth noting that the game against Long Beach State is a home game for USC while those next four games will all come on the road.
When he ultimately does suit up for USC, the younger James plans to wear No. 6, perhaps as a nod to his father, who sported the number during his career with both the Miami Heat and Lakers. His addition will provide a big boost to the Trojans, who have a 5-3 overall record so far this season.