Bronny James is doing well and ‘we just have to be patient,’ says USC coach Andy Enfield

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Bronny James, the 18-year-old son of Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James, is doing well and attending classes after the highly regarded freshman guard went into cardiac arrest during a workout last month, Southern California basketball coach Andy Enfield said Monday.

“The good thing is he’s doing extremely well and he’s in class right now. And we all love him,” Enfield said. “I think everybody is hopeful that Bronny will return to the court. We just have to be patient and take it step by step.”

The James family released a statement Friday saying a congenital heart defect was the probable cause of James’ cardiac arrest. The statement said the heart defect can be treated and that the family is confident in James’ ability to make a full recovery and return to the court in the near future.

James was hospitalized at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and released three days after being stricken on July 24.

“Our goal is to support Bronny in any way we can academically, athletically, and be patient with how things develop in his return,” Enfield said.

James, a 6-foot-3 guard, committed to USC in May and bolstered what was already one of the nation’s top recruiting classes. He is the sixth McDonald’s All-American to join the program since Enfield became coach in 2013.

The Trojans had the nation’s fourth-ranked recruiting class, including the top-rated player in guard Isaiah Collier.

Enfield said the pitch to James and his family wasn’t different compared to other recruits.

“He’s a terrific basketball player and was playing very well (before the cardiac arrest). We all think there is a big upside in his game and he can help our team win,” Enfield said. “It was a little later in the recruiting cycle and also was different because he comes from a pretty good basketball family. But it really didn’t change our recruiting pitch because we’re very honest with people and showed him an opportunity that we thought he could have here at USC. His parents were terrific through the whole recruiting process and have been very supportive since.”

Enfield also said he was pleased with his team’s development during a recent trip to Europe that saw his squad play games in Greece and Croatia.

Fifth-year senior guard Boogie Ellis has embraced the role of being a team co-captain while Collier and forward DJ Rodman, a graduate transfer from Washington State, got to mesh with new teammates in game situations.

Enfield said Collier is one of the best passers he has seen come out of high school in a while while Rodman can be a threat with his skills on offense.

The player who made the biggest strides on the trip was junior guard Kobe Johnson, a co-captain who averaged 9.3 points last season.

“He’s the best defensive player in our league and also improved his offense,” Enfield said.

USC — which has made the last three NCAA Tournaments — will have a challenging nonconference schedule before starting its final campaign in the Pac-12. The Trojans open against Kansas State in Las Vegas on Nov. 6 and will play in a Thanksgiving week tournament in San Diego that includes Seton Hall, Iowa and Oklahoma. USC also has a road game against Auburn.

___

AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/lebron-james

Sports writer based in Los Angeles.