LOS ANGELES (AP) — LeBron James’ oldest son, Bronny, says he will play basketball at the University of Southern California in the fall.
Bronny James abruptly announced his much-anticipated decision on social media Saturday, about two hours before his father’s Los Angeles Lakers hosted the Golden State Warriors in Game 3 of their second-round playoff series.
The 18-year-old James was a McDonald’s All-American just like his father, but he was among the few uncommitted elite high school basketball prospects heading toward the summer. The namesake son of the top scorer in NBA history played at Sierra Canyon School, which is known for educating scions of the sports and entertainment industries in Chatsworth, an outer suburban neighborhood of Los Angeles.
James announced his decision by writing the Trojans’ school slogan, “Fight On,” below a photo of himself wearing his high school uniform in the Trojans’ locker room at the Galen Center.
James and his Sierra Canyon team played at the arena last January, beating a team from Georgia’s Wheeler High School led by elite recruit Isaiah Collier — who is now James’ teammate at USC.
After choosing to stay close to home for college, the 6-foot-3 guard will join an already loaded Trojans roster coming off the school’s third straight NCAA Tournament appearance under coach Andy Enfield.
Several key contributors to last season’s team are returning, headlined by star guard Boogie Ellis. USC also will have guard Collier, one of the top recruits in the current high school class.
Many recruiting observers wondered whether USC’s strong roster at guard would dissuade Bronny James from staying in Los Angeles for college, perhaps steering him toward Oregon or to an alternative to college. Instead, the son of the four-time NBA champion and league MVP didn’t back down from the challenge of contributing to USC’s current surge to national prominence.
The younger James’ full name is LeBron James Jr., but he’s much better known by his family nickname. His younger brother, 15-year-old Bryce, is also an elite collegiate prospect at Sierra Canyon.
LeBron James has been an active, supportive parent for his sons’ basketball dreams. He also has frequently mentioned his desire to play in the NBA alongside Bronny, even though the logistics of such a dream would be daunting.
Last month, James spent the Saturday between the Lakers’ 81st and 82nd games of the regular season flying back and forth to Portland. James made the one-day trip with his mother, his wife and kids Bryce and Zhuri to watch Bronny play in the Nike Hoop Summit for Team USA.
The final game of Bronny’s high school career was important enough to drive James through the weariness of an NBA season and onto a plane for the lengthy trek back and forth
“I wasn’t going to miss it,” James said. “I understand how important fatherhood is, just coming from a no-father household. … We always try to support each other in all our endeavors. I’m only as good as my family.”
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Greg Beacham, The Associated Press