‘Thankful’ Bronny James makes school debut in loss for USC almost 5 months after cardiac arrest

LOS ANGELES — Bronny James confirmed off his defensive abilities in his school debut for Southern California almost 5 months after he suffered cardiac arrest and expressed gratitude for the docs and household who supported him.

He had 4 factors, three rebounds and two assists on Sunday, coming off the bench play in entrance of his famous person father LeBron James.

“I just want to say I’m thankful for everything,” Bronny James mentioned afterward in short feedback to a horde of media. He thanked the Mayo Clinic, the place he acquired therapy, in addition to his mother and father, siblings, coach Andy Enfield and his teammates “during this hard time in my life.”

He left with out taking any questions.

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

James logged 16 minutes, together with beginning the five-minute additional session, however he wasn’t an element then earlier than popping out for the final time. He was 1 of three capturing, hitting a 3-pointer within the second half.

His largest impression got here on protection. All of James’ rebounds had been on the defensive glass and he had two steals.

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

James was fast to move to his teammates, even when it appeared he might have taken a shot.

Enfield mentioned James’ minutes would proceed to be monitored by USC’s medical workers.

He performed six minutes within the first half, when the Trojans led 45-30 on the break. In his second three-minute stint, James made an enormous block on Jadon Jones, who was streaking to the basket on a fastbreak, riling up the followers.

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

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

James entered the sport for the primary time about seven minutes in, with some within the crowd standing and cheering. He missed his first shot, a 3-point try. Moments earlier than, he tipped the ball away from a Long Beach State participant, however the guests bought it again. The possession resulted in a shot-clock violation for the Beach. James additionally snagged a rebound.

“He makes the right play all the time,” mentioned Boogie Ellis, USC’s prime guard. “Everybody wants a guy like that on their team. He defends well at a high level.”

LeBron James arrived seconds earlier than the nationwide anthem, holding fingers with 9-year-old daughter, Zhuri, and tapped his son’s rear as he handed the Trojans who had been lined up throughout the court docket for the anthem.

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

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

James joined his teammates for on-court warmups 90 minutes earlier than tipoff. Wearing a white USC shirt and crimson sweatpants, he took a wide range of jumpers beneath the watchful lenses of a baseline stuffed with photographers.

Students lined up round one aspect of Galen Center and down an adjoining avenue ready to get inside. Although there have been pockets of empty seats within the 10,258-seat enviornment, 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 workers to take part in full-contact apply. Previously, he had been restricted to understanding on his personal doing weights, cardio and capturing.

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