COLLEGE BASKETBALL

‘Thankful’ Bronny James Makes College Debut Months After Cardiac Arrest

Dec 11, 2023, 9:20 AM

bronny james usc...

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 10: Bronny James #6 of the USC Trojans reacts to a play during the first half against the Long Beach State 49ers at Galen Center on December 10, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Bronny James showed off his defensive skills in his college debut for Southern California nearly five months after he suffered cardiac arrest and expressed gratitude for the doctors and family who supported him.

He had four points, three rebounds, and two assists on Sunday, coming off the bench to play in front of his superstar father LeBron James.

“I just want to say I’m thankful for everything,” Bronny James said afterward in brief comments to a horde of media. He thanked the Mayo Clinic, where he received treatment, as well as his parents, siblings, coach Andy Enfield and his teammates “during this hard time in my life.”

He left without taking any questions.

RELATED: Bronny James In Stable Condition After Suffering Cardiac Arrest At USC Practice

The Trojans lost in overtime to Long Beach State, 84-79. James walked off with his deflated teammates and didn’t greet his father who sat courtside.

James logged 16 minutes, including starting the five-minute extra session, but he wasn’t a factor then before coming out for the last time. He was 1 of 3 shooting, hitting a 3-pointer in the second half.

His biggest impression came on defense. All of James’ rebounds were on the defensive glass and he had two steals.

“I thought Bronny played well,” Enfield said. “He defended at a high level. He guarded the quick ballhandlers on the other team pretty well.”

James was quick to pass to his teammates, even when it appeared he could have taken a shot.

Enfield said James’ minutes would continue to be monitored by USC’s medical staff.

He played six minutes in the first half, when the Trojans led 45-30 at the break. In his second three-minute stint, James made a huge block on Jadon Jones, who was streaking to the basket on a fastbreak, riling up the fans.

James assisted on a dunk by Vincent Iwuchukwu, who also suffered cardiac arrest as a freshman. He returned to play 14 games last season.

“It’s great to see Bronny out there. He’s put a lot of work in the gym,” Iwuchukwu said. “We talked before the game and I told him to go out there and have fun.”

RELATED: Bronny James Commits To USC, Will Play Pac-12 Teams In 2023-24 Season

James entered the game for the first time about seven minutes in, with some in the crowd standing and cheering. He missed his first shot, a 3-point attempt. Moments before, he tipped the ball away from a Long Beach State player, but the visitors got it back. The possession ended in a shot-clock violation for the Beach. James also snagged a rebound.

“He makes the right play all the time,” said Boogie Ellis, USC’s top guard.

“Everybody wants a guy like that on their team. He defends well at a high level.”

LeBron James arrived seconds before the national anthem, holding hands with 9-year-old daughter, Zhuri, and tapped his son’s rear as he passed the Trojans who were lined up across the court for the anthem.

The younger James’ debut capped a big weekend for the family. LeBron helped the Lakers win the NBA’s new In-Season Tournament on Saturday night in Las Vegas, earning everyone on the team a $500,000 per person payday.

“It was exciting for everybody to see him out there,” Enfield said, “and I’m sure his family was the most excited.”

The NBA was well-represented in the game. One of James’ teammates is DJ Rodman, the son of Dennis Rodman, who fouled out. The Beach’s roster includes Chayce Polynice, the son of 15-year NBA veteran Olden Polynice.

RELATED: Anthony Davis Leads Lakers To NBA In-Season Tournament Title Over Pacers

James joined his teammates for on-court warmups 90 minutes before tipoff.

Wearing a white USC shirt and red sweatpants, he took a variety of jumpers under the watchful lenses of a baseline full of photographers.

Students lined up around one side of Galen Center and down an adjacent street waiting to get inside. Although there were pockets of empty seats in the 10,258-seat arena, James’ debut helped the Trojans draw their largest crowd of 9,806 this season.

James suffered cardiac arrest on July 20 during a workout at Galen Center. He was found to have a congenital heart defect that was treatable.

James was recently cleared by his doctors and USC’s medical staff to participate in full-contact practice. Previously, he had been limited to working out on his own doing weights, cardio and shooting.

College Basketball

BYU Basketball, Kansas Jayhawks, History...

Mitch Harper

BYU Basketball’s History Against Kansas

BYU basketball is about to play its fourth game inside Allen Fieldhouse, but it will only be the second game against Kansas. Looking back at the hardwood history between the two schools.

39 minutes ago

Alissa-Pili-Goes-Against-Old-Team-USC-At-Huntsman-Center...

Michelle Bodkin

Utah Women’s Basketball Gets Road Upset Over No. 7 USC Trojans

The No. 18 Utah women’s basketball wrapped up their time on the road in Los Angeles against the No. 7 USC Trojans.

7 hours ago

Big 12 Basketball, Power Rankings, Baylor, Houston...

Mitch Harper

Big 12 Basketball Power Rankings: The Buzzsaw Continues

The homestretch of Big 12 basketball has arrived.

16 hours ago

deivon-smith-shoots-ball-against-colorado-at-huntsman-center-2024...

Michelle Bodkin

Utah Basketball Has Road Difficulties Once More, Fall To Colorado

The Runnin’ Utes finish up a three-game road trip in Boulder Saturday evening against the Colorado Buffaloes.

1 day ago

Dillon-Jones-Weber-State-Wildcats...

Brian Preece

Weber State Struggles In Second Half, Falls To Idaho State

Weber State saw its six-game winning streak snapped as the Idaho State Bengals dominated the second half for an 80-62 loss.

1 day ago

Kevin McCullar, Kansas Jayhawks, BYU Basketball...

Mitch Harper

BYU Will Face Shorthanded Kansas Team On Tuesday Night

BYU will face a short-handed Kansas Jayhawks team on Tuesday inside Allen Fieldhouse.

1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

ksl-sports-newsletter...

KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.

...

KSL Sports

Jazz Notes Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the Jazz Notes newsletter. Get insider analysis, game recaps and opportunities to win tickets!

Follow @kslsports...

The Road Home Mediathon 2023

The KSL Sports Zone and KSLSports.com are proud to support the all-day Mediathon 2023 at the Road Home, an annual tradition to raise money and other essential items for the Road Home, a Homeless Shelter.

3 kids wearing real salt lake jerseys smiling...

Real Salt Lake

6 Reasons You Need to Experience a RSL Matchday

RSL Games are a great way to spend time with your family with fun activities, good food, and traditions you can only experience at the field.

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.

Jordan-Clarkson-Utah-Jazz...

KSL Digital Sales

Notable Moments From The Utah Jazz Season… So Far

At the beginning of the season, the Utah Jazz were second to last. Now they rank in the top 10 teams in the Western Conference.

‘Thankful’ Bronny James Makes College Debut Months After Cardiac Arrest