LAS VEGAS (AP) — Southern California basketball coach Andy Enfield said Bronny James, the oldest son of NBA superstar LeBron James, is “doing well” nearly three months after the prized recruit went into cardiac arrest while participating in a practice on campus.
The coach didn’t offer any other details on James’ recovery while speaking during Pac-12 media day in Las Vegas on Wednesday.
“At the appropriate time, the James family will most likely come out with an update on Bronny’s situation,” Enfield said. “But currently, we’re respecting the privacy of a medical condition and look forward to the near future and go from there.”
The 18-year-old James went into cardiac arrest on July 24 as the team was holding offseason practices in preparation for a two-week European tour. He was stricken just over a year after USC freshman 7-footer Vincent Iwuchukwu collapsed during a practice. Iwuchukwu returned to play for the Trojans in the second half of the season.
LeBron James said last week that his son is progressing in his rehabilitation in hopes of playing for the Trojans this season.
Bronny James ’ efforts to return to the court have inspired his teammates.
“First things first, blessings all around that he’s okay,” USC guard Kobe Johnson said. “I think he can make an impact if he plays or not. I think if he’s there every day at practice, just being around the guys, hanging with us, just still building that team chemistry, I think that’d be huge for us. Even though he may or may not play with us, or do stuff that he may want, he’ll still be there for us and we need that support throughout the season. Knowing that he’s continuing to recover and get stronger, that’s all we can pray for.”
USC is not the only place players are feeling motivated by James’ determination to return.
“When you play basketball you never know what’s gonna happen,” Arizona State point guard Frankie Collins said. “So when you go out there, you try and treat every day like it’s your last day playing basketball and never be able to touch the ball again. It’s the game we love, it’s the game we love to play, it’s a game we enjoy playing, it’s our passion.”
USC fans got their first glimpse of James in a Trojans uniform on the program’s official social media accounts. James looks dialed in in one photo, eyes glued to a basketball he is tossing in the air in front of him. The school said James will be part of this season’s team-introduction video. USC tips off its season on Nov. 9 when the Trojans host Cal State Bakersfield.
“I can’t imagine what those families have been through,” Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd said. “It hits close to home because that could be any one of us. Andy’s had to go through back-to-back years, which I can’t even wrap my head around. I feel bad enough when a guy sprains an ankle or dislocates a finger. My hat’s off to them and to their medical staff and to their coaching staff and to their players because they’ve been through a lot. I don’t know Bronny personally, but I’ve heard he’s an amazing high-character kid and a great teammate, which is awesome.”
James isn’t the only athlete in USC’s basketball program recovering from trauma. On the women’s side, Aaliyah Gayles has worked her way back from multiple gunshot wounds and emergency surgeries in 2022.
“This time last year, Aaliyah had just learned to walk again, was getting into a day-to-day routine,” coach Lindsay Gottlieb said Tuesday. “It’s unbelievable to see the impact she’s made on our team and now she’s fully cleared, she’s full-on practicing, which is unbelievable. It’s nothing short of miraculous.”
Like with James, Gayles’ energy and resilience have helped team camaraderie.
“I remember a couple of times earlier during the summer, I felt like I emptied my tank, I had no more, and I would look at A.G., I’m thinking, ‘Geez, if she can do it,'” USC forward Rayah Marshall said. “She’s coming over there motivating me, she’s telling me, ‘Ray it’s like no limits to where you can go to, where you can take it.'”
AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll