LAS VEGAS – Southern California basketball coach Andy Enfield said Bronny James, the eldest son of NBA superstar LeBron James, is “doing well” nearly three months after the prized recruit went into cardiac arrest while participating in an on-campus workout.
The coach provided no further details about James’ recovery during his speech at the Pac-12 media day in Las Vegas on Wednesday.
“At the appropriate time, the James family will most likely provide an update on Bronny’s situation,” Enfield said. “But at this time, we respect the privacy of a medical condition and look forward to the near future and moving forward from there.”
James, 18, suffered cardiac arrest on July 24 as the team held offseason training in preparation for a two-week European tour. He was affected a little more than 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 making progress in his rehabilitation in hopes of playing for the Trojans this season.
Bronny James’ efforts to return to the field have inspired his teammates.
“First and foremost, blessings that he’s doing well,” USC guard Kobe Johnson said. “I think he can make an impact whether he plays or not. I think if he’s there every day at practice, just being with the guys, staying with us, just still working on team chemistry, I think that would be huge for us. Whether or not he plays for us, or does things he wants, he will still be there for us and we need that support throughout the season. Knowing that he continues to recover and get stronger is all we can pray for.”
USC isn’t the only place where players feel motivated by James’ determination to return.
“When you play basketball, you never know what’s going to happen,” Arizona State point guard Frankie Collins said. “So when you go there, you try to treat every day like it’s your last day playing basketball and you can never touch the ball again. It’s the game we love, it’s the game we love to play, it’s a game we love to play, 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 appears dialed-in in one photo, his eyes focused on a basketball he’s throwing into 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 these families have been through,” Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd said. “It hits close to home, because that could be any of us. Andy has been through years on end that I can’t even begin to think about. I feel bad enough when a man sprains an ankle or dislocates a finger. My hats off to them and their medical staff, their coaching staff and their players, because they’ve been through a lot. I don’t know Bronny personally, but I’ve heard he’s a great kid with high character and a great teammate, which is great.
James isn’t the only athlete in USC’s basketball program recovering from trauma. On the women’s side, Aaliyah Gayles has bounced back from multiple gunshot wounds and emergency surgery in 2022.
“This time last year, Aaliyah had just learned to walk again and was getting into a daily routine,” coach Lindsay Gottlieb said Tuesday. “It’s been incredible to see the impact she’s made on our team and now that she’s fully free, she’s in full training, which is incredible. It is nothing short of miraculous.”
Like James, Gayles’ energy and resilience have fostered team camaraderie.
“I remember a few times earlier during the summer I felt like I was emptying my tank, I didn’t have any left, and I looked at AG and thought, ‘Gosh, if she can do it,’” USC says. Rayah Marshall said. “She comes there to motivate me, she tells me, ‘Ray, there’s no limit to where you can go, where you can go.'”