Great win for the USC Trojans against South Dakota St. Tuesday night at the Galen Center. The Trojans won 84-66 to remain undefeated on the season with a record of 3-0. USC was led by seniors Jonah Mathews and Nick Rakocevic, who both had a special night in their basketball career at USC. It was a defining moment, Mathews and Rakocevic. They reached 1000 points on the same night.
What makes it more special is that the two young men have known each other since they were 16 started at USC together. Mathews said, “This is crazy. We came in here together. I’ve known him forever since I was 16. For this to happen on the same night, it’s something special to both of us.” Rakocevic added, “Just to be in that column of people who have done a lot in this program and to be apart of that list is truly a blessing. For it to happen on the same night is pretty cool.” This moment is a dream come true for the two seniors. Once they committed to USC in high school, they always imagined doing something big together, and it happened early in the season. It was a great night for them, but in their minds, they are just getting started. Mathews mentioned they have more work to do. He said, “Once we committed, we always pictured doing something big, it happened tonight, and we are far from finished.”
This 2019-20 season is an excellent time in USC head coach Andy Enfield’s career as well. The first time he has ever seen two players in one night reaches 1000 points. Enfield mentioned he has never seen this happen as an assistant or head coach. “It’s pretty special, and I don’t think I have ever had that as a coach. I’ve been doing it for a long time. So to have two guys like Jonah and Nick, who came in together score 1000 points on the same evening, is pretty cool. We are excited for them, and they have a chance to do something special this year together. They are leaders of this team. We have a lot of young players on this team that look up to them.” Enfield added, “If they continue to work hard and lead us, we have a chance to have a successful season.”
Enfield and his staff are having a great time coaching this unique group of guys. They have an interesting dynamic with this team because they have five freshmen, who are the fifth-ranked recruiting class in the country. The Trojans also two true seniors and two grad transfers. A considerable opportunity for Enfield to get creative with this team, and he is embracing every moment. “When we walk in the gym every day as a staff it’s a lot of fun. We love this group of young men. As you see with our freshmen, it’s a lot of variations on how they play. It’s hard for me to give minutes to all these guys, but they have to take the minutes that they can get and develop as quickly as they can because we need them all.”
This team is willing to make sacrifices for each other. When you have the same goal, then minutes don’t matter. It is all about having the next man up mentality. Rakocevic says, “We’re a team. We all have the same goal. We are going to do what we think is right to win the game. We all trust each other. Understand the guy to your right is your brother, that’s family. If it’s not your night and it’s their night, you should show encouragement. If we have that, then this team is going to be special. This is the deepest team we’ve ever had since I’ve been here. We have a bunch of talented guys on the team.”