When Elijah Stewart and Jordan McLaughlin committed to USC four years ago, the Trojans were closer to the bottom 10 in college basketball than the top 10. The team had won 11 games the season before they arrived. The program was in a dark place.
So a few days before the pair began their senior seasons — with USC now ranked No. 10 in the preseason Associated Press poll for the first time since 1974, with a team many expect to compete for the Pac-12 Conference title and with legitimate Final Four dreams — a reporter asked Stewart: Could he possibly have envisioned all of this?
Stewart leaned in, grabbed the reporter’s recorder and put it next to his mouth.