On July 24, Bronny James suffered cardiac arrest during a USC Trojans workout. The eldest son of NBA superstar LeBron and Savannah James survived a medical emergency, but his future on the court seemed uncertain. With limited information about his recovery, beyond the statements from the James family, it was difficult to know if and when Bronny might return.
In recent weeks, however, he started to work out with the team again and appeared in pregame warmups. On Thursday, James participated in his first full contact practice. That was followed by Friday's second complete practice. Head coach Andy Enfield anticipates James will make his much-anticipated college debut Sunday against Long Beach State.
Before his medical episode, James -- who ranked 20th in the 2023 recruiting class by ESPN -- had appeared on mock draft boards as a projected first-round pick and the dream of playing with his father in the NBA. Now, the freshman and his family are more focused on his health as he returns to basketball.
Bronny James begins his next chapter at the Division I level as he joins the Trojans on the court and hopes to contribute to its goal of reaching the NCAA tournament. -- Myron Medcalf
How has James looked in practice and how would he slot into the Trojans' lineup?
James completed his second consecutive full contact practice on Friday and looked better than the previous day, according to Enfield. He practiced full court with the team and was impressive Friday, according to senior forward DJ Rodman. With fifth-year senior Boogie Ellis and Isaiah Collier, the No. 1-ranked recruit in this freshman class, starting and averaging 30 or more minutes per game, James will come off the bench under a minutes restriction. But he is expected to provide a spark with his defense, scoring and potentially be a connector with his passing. -- Ohm Youngmisuk
Does James' return keep him on the path of being a one-and-done player and drafted next year?
It depends on how quickly he acclimates to the college game -- and more importantly, on his health. But one of the big things pushing toward the one-and-done route was the chance to play with his father, who said last January one of his final goals in the NBA is to share the floor with Bronny.
As a player, Bronny James' feel and defensive ability has always been there, and he has come a long way as a consistent perimeter shooter. He's in a good situation at USC, with Collier and Ellis shouldering most of the scoring and playmaking load, and versatile defender Kobe Johnson making strides as a scorer. As a result, James will be able to focus on making open shots and developing his ability to hit shots on the move. -- Jeff Borzello
How has USC looked so far with its recruiting class, and how far can the Trojans go?
Freshmen Brandon Gardner and Arrinten Page, a pair of four-star recruits, haven't really cracked the rotation with a team full of veteran contributors. But Collier continues to campaign as the projected No. 1 pick in next summer's NBA draft, per ESPN's mock draft. Collier (17.3 PPG, 4.5 APG, 40% from the 3-point line) is already one of the best players in America. But his issues with turnovers (4.6 per game) are a concern. Still, Collier and Ellis can guide USC to the NCAA tournament. If James returns and plays to his potential, he could extend the depth of a squad with three players averaging double figures. -- Medcalf