Andy Enfield photographed by Brian Chin | Daily TrojanMen’s basketball recruit J’Raan Brooks announced his decision to decommit from USC and reopen his commitment on Twitter last Friday afternoon. “Due to unforeseen circumstances stemming from the recent news that has come to light in regards to the Trojan basketball program — I have decided to reopen my commitment to examine other available options,” Brooks said in his tweet. “While USC is still very much a possibility, the uncertainty of their situation has led me to believe I should reassess my own.” Brooks, a 6-foot-8 forward from Seattle, becomes the first of head coach Andy Enfield’s three 2018 recruits to decommit from the program just three weeks after news broke of an FBI investigation of assistant coach Tony Bland and multiple other Power Five basketball schools.While Brooks is staying away from USC for the time being, the Trojans are still an option for the four-star recruit in the future — if Enfield and the rest of his staff escape NCAA sanctions.“I have nothing but the utmost respect for Coach Enfield, the rest of the staff, the school and fans of the program,” Brooks said. “However, I need to make sure what I do is best for my future, and ensure I am making an informed decision, while seeing how this process transpires.”Brooks has been quiet regarding potential schools of interest since his announcement last weekend. Washington, a school just three miles north of where Brooks played high school ball at Garfield High, is in the hunt for Brooks, along with Pac-12 rivals Cal, Stanford and Washington State.The rest of the 2018 class, four-star recruits Taeshon Cherry and Kevin Porter, remain committed to USC for the time being despite the allegations surrounding Bland, the Trojans’ head basketball recruiter.Cherry, a 6-foot-8 forward from San Diego’s Saint Augustine High, decided to come to USC due to his close relationship with Bland.“I have a good relationship with Tony and Enfield,” Cherry said in an interview withScout.com. “Their style of play really fits my style of play, and it’s a perfect fit for me.” Cherry is listed as ESPN’s 22nd-best player in the 2018 class and announced his commitment just days after Brooks.Fellow Seattle resident Porter, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard from local Rainier Beach, remains committed to USC despite offers from UCLA, Memphis and Washington, among others.For now, Enfield brings back most of his 2016-17 roster, along with three top 2017 recruits in Charles O’Bannon, Jr., Victor Uyaelunmo and Jordan Usher. But questions still remain for the Trojans come 2018 and beyond. Along with senior guards Jordan McLaughlin, Kurt Karis and Elijah Stewart, starting junior forwards Bennie Boatwright and Chimezie Metu are expected to leave school early to try their luck in next year’s NBA Draft.With starting jobs up for grabs in 2018, USC could potentially land another recruit in Brooks’ place if he decides to forgo Enfield’s offer. Of ESPN’s top 100 recruits for 2018, just three have signed letters of intent. Along with local five-star center Bol Bol, USC is still in the hunt for No. 1 overall prospect R.J. Barrett and four-star prospects Elijah Weaver, Khavon Moore and Kamaka Hepa. Considering both Bol and Barrett have fielded offers from top-flight programs like Kentucky and Arizona, USC would be more likely to land Weaver, Moore and Hepa if Brooks elects to sign with another team.If those targets aren’t interested, Enfield and company could potentially save that scholarship for a top player in the loaded 2019 class. While top overall recruit James Wiseman is likely to stay put in the southeast,11th-ranked shooting guard Cassius Stanley from Sierra Canyon or 16th-ranked forward Onyeka Okongwu from Chino Hills could be drifting toward USC. Regardless of undecided recruits in 2018 and 2019, USC awaits the verdicts in the FBI investigations with fingers crossed. The Trojans open their season at home against Cal State Fullerton on Nov. 10.
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Netminder Brad Rebagliati and forward/defenceman Blair Andrews have been key cogs to the success this season of the Nelson Leafs.However, the two hockey players decided helping the team on the ice just wasn’t enough.Which is why the two went the extra mile, buzz-cutting their hair to raise more than $3100 for the B.C. Cancer Society.“Brad came to the team with really long hair and had a relative with cancer so he decided to cut his hair to raise money,” Blair Andrews told The Nelson Daily Wednesday.“He asked if anyone else wanted to join in. I had an uncle that was diagnosed in July (2013) and just passed away a couple of weeks ago. So I thought it would be a good idea so joined in to raise money.”The final countdown ended last week when both Andrews and Rebagliati had their locks shaved by a local hair stylist.“My hair really wasn’t that long (before the cut) but to have it cut so short is really different,” Andrews explained. “It’s really cold on top now.”Andrews, a rookie with the Leafs, started the season as a forward but was thrust back to defence when the blueline core of the Green and White experienced a rash of injuries. Andrews was somewhat surprised with the total amount raised.“Ya, we didn’t know how much we could raise but we have such great support in Nelson and both our families that were affected by cancer,” he said.Andrews, 18, was on his way back to Alberta for a little rest and relaxation after Beaver Valley Nitehawks eliminated Nelson from the KIJHL playoffs in six games.The Leaf players have until April 1 before the team will reassemble back on the ice in Nelson to prepare to host the Cyclone Taylor Cup April 10-13 at the NDCC Arena.“We’re all pretty disappointed to lose to Beaver Valley but they’re a pretty good team and came more prepared than we did,” said Andrews, summing up the series.After playing the Murdoch Final without the services of Rebagliati and Nelson’s other netminder, Adam Maida — both out of the lineup with injuries — the Leafs should have most of the team back ready to go in April.“We would have liked to go all the way and win it all but we’ve got to have short memories . . . forget about the series, move on and get ready for the Cyclone.”Beaver Valley currently trails the Creston Valley 1-0 in the best-of-seven Kootenay Conference Final after former Leaf Matti Jmaeff scored an unassisted goal in the third period to give the Thunder Cats a 5-4 win Tuesday in the East Kootenay City.Game two was Wednesday back in Creston.Games three and four are Friday and Saturday in Fruitvale.See Mallards Team of the Week.