Three years ago, five Michigan freshmen stormed the college basketball world as the Fab Five. Now, get ready for the USC Fab Four.
"The four freshmen we have may be as talented as any group I've ever coached," said USC Coach George Raveling, whose Trojans begin regular-season play today at 2 p.m. against Pennsylvania at the Sports Arena. "And the best thing about them is that, with all the talent they have, they leave their egos at home when its time to play."
Expectations are high at USC because of the arrival of Stais Boseman, Claude Green, Avondre Jones and Jaha Wilson, who make up Raveling's best recruiting class in his eight seasons at USC.
"I liken this class to the last recruiting class I had when I coached at Iowa," said Raveling, who has coached at Washington State, Iowa and USC in his 21-year career. "And all five of them went on to play in the NBA."
The five were B.J. Armstrong, Roy Marble, Ed Horton, Les Jepsen and Kevin Gamble.
In USC's group of four freshmen, Boseman, a 6-foot-4 guard from Inglewood Morningside High, might play the most initially because of his defensive ability.
"I don't know if I've ever been around a freshman that is as talented defensively as Stais," Raveling said. "He is one of the most gifted athletes I've ever seen."
Boseman was a two-sport All-American in basketball and football in high school, and many thought he was better at football.
"When we recruited him, my biggest battle was recruiting him against USC's football program," Raveling said.
Wilson, a 6-5 forward from San Francisco Riordan High who averaged 21 points and 14 rebounds as a senior, has shown the ability to play all five positions from center to point guard. He probably will be used at small forward.
"The thing about Jaha is that he plays like he's a returning letterman," Raveling said. "Normally, freshman try hard early in the season to show people that they are as good as everyone says they are, but not Jaha. In our first exhibition game, he took good shots and played good defense. I was stunned that he showed so much composure."
The best scorer of the freshmen group might be Green, a 6-3 guard from Washington Dunbar High.
"At first, Green tried to do too much when he got here, but you can see he has talent," Raveling said. "He has good quickness and is very bright. He's also the most offensive-minded out of the four."
In USC's exhibition loss to High Five America last Tuesday, Green sparked the Trojans' offense with 12 points as a reserve. He also made several big defensive plays.
Jones, a 6-11 center from Artesia High, might have the biggest impact on the Trojans' season. With his size and inside scoring ability, the Trojans have a dimension they have lacked for a decade.
"The thing about Jones is that he has to make the biggest adjustment from high school to college," Raveling said. "In high school, he was able to drift in and out of games. But now he has to concentrate for a whole game. There's no question he can score and is a very good shot blocker, but he has to endure the physical demand for an entire season."
Jones averaged 21 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks as a high school senior.