USC sophomore Ethan Anderson (20) is majoring in business (Courtesy of USC Athletics)

USC sophomore guard, Ethan Anderson has been a tenacious presence on the men’s basketball team. He is not afraid to score in traffic and shake a defender to make a shot.

The Trojans secured wins in their first two games of the season and Anderson scored 10 points in each matchup. They are trying to maintain their momentum from last year, before COVID-19 shut sports down.

“We’ve been watching a good amount of film from last year in terms of how good we were defensively,” Anderson said. “We’re also trying to bring that same sense of identity in terms of defense, not allowing their team to have their best shooting game.”

The Trojans gave Anderson a new responsibility of scoring over 10 points per game. He aims to keep his teammates involved and set them up for successful offensive opportunities.

“I don’t think the role so much has changed dramatically,” Anderson said. “I feel like my mindset and my confidence is what changed dramatically.”

Anderson used his time in the Quarantine wisely by working out with his teammates Evan and Isaiah Mobley frequently.

“This summer I really focused on being a threat on all three levels, anywhere on the court,” he said. “Practice on the shooting at a high rate, by about 47, 48 percent from three, that was my main focus.”

Through his network of mentors, Anderson had access to gyms to work on being a more reliable scoring option. He worked on pick-and-rolls, his three-point shot, and mid-range shooting. He feels that college gameplay is coming to him easier.

“I was able to get into different gyms day by day, just playing it by ear,” Anderson said. “Last year, I got a lot of experience with tough games, close games going on to win.”

Among his mentors is Pooh Jeter, a professional basketball player and brother to Olympic gold medalist, Carmelita Jeter, and Jason Hart, a former NBA player and alum of Inglewood High School. Anderson noted how Pooh has helped him with his confidence.

“He’s given me the most priceless thing there is which is knowledge,” Anderson said about Pooh. “He’s given me information and he’s showing me stuff on pick and rolls, showing me stuff that he’s done in his pro career that has worked for him for over 20 years.”

Anderson is majoring in business; he prefers in-person interaction which makes learning through Zoom onerous. He makes sure to stay focused during lectures.

“I’m taking some of the hardest classes that I’ve taken here so far in terms of accounting and economics, so it’s been a challenge,” Anderson said. “But it’s nothing that I can’t handle, I’ve been able to pull through and then you see we have a lot of supporters around us, tutors and academic specialists.”

Since guard Jonah Mathews and forward, Onyeka Okongwo have moved onto pro basketball, Anderson has to step up to lead the squad. USC men’s basketball head coach Andy Enfield said that Anderson has good knowledge of the Trojan offense and defense.

“He helps you win games and then the second thing is he’s just a tough basketball player, tough person, mentally and physically,” Enfield said. “So, the next step for his basketball career is to show that leadership.”