Keep it on the record, coach

USC lost its season opener at Utah State before winning its next four at home in the Galen Center. Now, the Trojans hit the road for the Bahamas to face some of the toughest competition in college basketball. Meanwhile Andy Enfield isn't shying away from tough questions on the state of the USC basketball program...

USC athletic director Pat Haden rolled the dice when he hired Andy Enfield as the Trojans basketball coach.

Enfield was a new name on the scene, a coach most had never heard of until his Florida Gulf Coast team made an improbable run as a No. 15 seed to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament; the first No. 15 to ever advance that deep into the tournament.

As we learn more about who Enfield is, it becomes more clear that he is just who USC basketball needs.

Have you looked around the Galen Center, lately? The place barely has a pulse.

In Enfield's first four games as the head coach of the Trojans, the official attendance has averaged 3,351. Call me a cynic, but that number must include every security officer, concessions worker, reporter, and the janitorial staff because the spackling of fans seems far fewer.

Nationally, is anyone aware that USC basketball still exists? When was the last time there was buzz over anything 'SC basketball related?

What's that saying in Hollywood -- there's no such thing as bad press?

Enfield's a quick learner... which means we better soak up his recent off-the-cuff comments, because "Off the record" is bound to become his most popular phrase.

Earlier this fall, the first year head coach at USC took a shot at the UCLA program during practice with a reporter from the San Jose Mercury News within earshot who ran with the comment: "We play up-tempo basketball here," Enfield said. "If you want to play slow, go to UCLA."

That caused a small crosstown stir.

But on Friday, Men's Journal published a feature on Enfield, that caused a storm.

At a speaking engagement in a room of boosters (Such events are usually all considered 'Off the record'), Enfield took prompted shots at former USC coach Tim Floyd and current UCLA coach Steve Alford.

Asked by boosters about committing a rumored recruiting violation, in which Floyd implied that Enfield tampered with Los Angeles (Calif.) St. John Bosco guard Isaac Hamilton -- a UTEP commit, Enfield responded (as printed in Men's Journal):

"Tim Floyd shows up every day at work and realizes he lives in El Paso, Texas. And he's pissed off that he didn't get the USC job two months ago. I told him, 'Tim, if I could have all this power to somehow convince a family to do this, why the heck didn't the kid come last spring, when I first got the job?'"

Enfield was clearly fired up to defend himself against Floyd's allegations -- what a colorful statement for the head coach of a major university to make.

But it got better.

When asked about the status of basketball in Westwood and the Bruins new head coach, Enfield responded:

"I don't worry about them. I've made it to one Sweet Sixteen in two years, and [Alford's] made it to one Sweet Sixteen in 18 years."

If I'm a booster at that luncheon, I couldn't fumble quickly enough for my pocketbook.

Enfield came to USC from Florida Gulf Coast, a no-name program that he took to the NCAA tournament -- and the Sweet 16 -- in just two seasons.

Could he be a one hit wonder? Sure.

But I don't think it's likely.

Enfield and his staff hit the recruiting trail as hard as any program this summer. It resulted in the signing of 2014 four-star point guard Jordan McLaughlin, three-star forward Malik Price-Martin, and three-star center Jabari Craig.

In a room littered with the good ol' boys club of USC, he reportedly got them laughing and believing that this Enfield character isn't afraid to take on anyone - including the crosstown gauntlet of UCLA. At a university where football always has - and always will - reign supreme, Enfield is giving boosters -- and the basketball community -- a reason to think twice about the rebirth (or maybe just birth) of USC basketball.

On the actual court? Enfield is facing a steeper uphill batter than the first two challenges. He's tasked with turning around a program that went through two head coaches in the last year, finished 14-18, and finished in the bottom half of the Pac-12. He returns a couple of players with potential and brought in a few transfers, but one season simply won't be enough to see if Enfield can make USC basketball relevant.

But longterm?

My bets are on Enfield.

After all, I had the chance in July to ask if he won anything on the blackjack table when recruiting in Las Vegas.

Enfield didn't answer, but his grin told me he didn't lose.

My only piece of advice, coach? Keep it on the record. USC basketball has nothing to lose.

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