Coming off its most successful season in Andy Enfield's tenure, the USC basketball program has seen some changes early in the offseason as multiple players have weighed their options and sought different opportunities. The Trojans have seen two seniors choose to graduate and transfer for their final year of eligibility, two sophomores transfer and two juniors enter the NBA Draft process -- though both could still return if they withdraw their name since neither has hired an agent.
Katin Reinhardt is one of the transferring seniors. The 6-foot-6, 220-pound shooting guard originally came to USC as a UNLV transfer after spending his freshman year with an NCAA Tournament Runnin' Rebels squad. After sitting out a year due to NCAA transfer rules, Reinhardt was a key player in his two seasons with USC.
As a redshirt sophomore, he led the team in scoring with 12.5 points per game while starting 22 of 31 games. Last season, his role flowed from starter to instant offense sixth man back to being in the starting lineup. His scoring dipped to 11.4 points, but Reinhardt became a much better all-around player as he became a more efficient scorer. His shooting percentage rose from 38.0 to 44.4 as shot selection was hammered home by the USC coaching staff. He also saw his rebounding numbers increase, his turnovers decline and he became a better defender, who was capable of locking in on an opposing team's best wing.
Reinhardt announced last month he was heading to Milwaukee where he had chosen Marquette as the destination for his final year of college hoops and subsequently signed with the school a few days later:
We talked with Katin Reinhardt and discussed his decision to transfer, choosing to play for Steve Wojchiechowski at Marquette and what he'll remember from his time at USC:
USCfootball.com: What went into the decision to transfer? What was missing from USC that you thought you could find elsewhere??
Katin Reinhardt: “A lot of people get to do the graduate transfer, which is a really good rule that the NCAA put in. You graduate school and you can put yourself in position to play at another school for another year, if need be.
You know what? It has nothing to do with my teammates, man. My teammates here at USC are always going to be brothers to me. We’re always still going to talk. It’s not that.
I just feel it’s an opportunity to go play somewhere and really just have a guy that believes in me 100 percent — in my versatility as a basketball player and is just going to let me play and just really going to help me get better as a player moving forward for the next step as well as just winning a lot of basketball games next year and going to the tournament again. I hope to go three out of four years I’ve played, which would be very fortunate. Also, just getting my graduate degree at Marquette that would be really cool too."
USCfootball.com: What was the interaction with the coaching staff when you made your decision?
KR: I had put a lot of thought into it. After the season, I really just thought about my options like a lot of people do when they’re in this position as well as a lot of coaches — they look at their options when the season is over, if they have something. I really just thought about my decision and took about a week before me and coach met.
I went in there and we had a good conversation. We had a man-to-man conversation. I expressed my feelings to him. He understood what I was saying and what I wanted to do. We still get along. We didn’t leave on bad terms or get in a fight or holler at each other or nothing like that.
Coach Enfield respects who I am as a person and I respect who he is as a person. I just thought it was best for me to put myself in a position to do that — play somewhere next year and get my master’s degree somewhere else. He said if there’s anything he can do for him, let him know. Whenever I want to talk or I need advice on anything, let him know. We didn’t leave on bad terms, which is really good. I respected that he respected me as a man and I did the same for him."
USCfootball.com: How did your teammates take the decision?
KR: "They were bummed, definitely. Just because we built something special here. Like I said before, all of my teammates here are super close. It’s tough because there’s other people that transferred too. Whenever it comes down to that, it’s tough, especially when you have a close group, to make a decision. But you’ve just got to do what is best for you and I think every single player I talked to individually, they understood."
USCfootball.com: Why was Marquette the place to be?
KR: "I felt like just going in there and playing in the Big East and having an opportunity to have a coach that…Coach Wojo really believes in what I can do as a basketball player, my versatility and that I can help this team win a lot of games next year."
USCfootball.com: How many times you been to Milwaukee? What did you think of it?
KR: "I went my first time when I went on my visit. It’s a basketball town. They love Marquette basketball there. There’s no football team there. Their school is smaller than USC, but it felt really cool. It felt really good. It’s a great environment over there. It’s not Southern California, but it’s nice."
USCfootball.com: What’s the next step for you? Timeline? Status with USC?
KR: "I will finish up…the first session of summer school is when I’m done with all my classes. So I’ll finish up whenever that is done. I think the 25th or 26th of June. Then I head out to Marquette on July 3."
USCfootball.com: One thing you’ll remember from your time at USC?
KR: "Best moment? I mean that 35-point game [in triple overtime against Colorado] for me was very special. That was a very special moment in my career. Not very many people get a chance to score that many points in a game, which was fun. Tied the record for a three-point shooter. That as well as beating UCLA three times was probably the best feeling."
USCfootball.com: How do you think you advanced as a player and as a person during your time at USC?
KR: "I think I definitely grew up as an individual here, became a man. That’s just being in college. Playing for the three years that I played. Just learning the game of basketball. As well as off the court.
Off the court here, I think USC does a very good job of putting kids in an environment where they can succeed off the floor or away from their sport. I think that helped me grow as a person. In terms of basketball, I think I got a lot better as an all-around player, just every single part of my game grew from my freshman year until now. I grew to be complete basketball player."
USCfootball.com: How much did the team/program improve since when you first got to campus?
KR: "Definitely we improved. From the first year I got here, sitting out, we were awful. Then that second year, when I was first able to play, we were very talented. We just didn’t know how to put everything together. We were missing a few pieces that we added last year that really put us over the top.
People got older and more experienced and understood what we needed to do in close games to close games out. We understood we needed to lock in every single game and people matured.
I think next year… You know I’m still rooting for them. Next year, I’m going to watch USC play and cheer on every single teammate that I was with. They’re in a really good spot next year if everyone comes back. They’ll be really good. They’ll have every single person back and they’ll be more experienced. They add some people. I think they’re ready to make a bigger jump next year."
USCfootball.com: What’s the one thing you’ll miss about Southern California going up to Milwaukee?
KR: "There’s a lot of things. I’m definitely going to miss the beach. I’m a beach guy. The weather is obviously nice. Being home in front of your family and friends. Being able to play out here. That whole part is going to be something I’m going to miss. Definitely just looking forward to the journey I’m going to take the rest of my career. See where it goes from there."