USC freshman Vince Iwuchukwu reportedly nearing return after offseason heart issue
USC freshman forward Vince Iwuchukwu is nearing a return to basketball, according to The Athletic’s Seth Davis.
According to Davis, the former 5-star recruit could return to the court and debut for USC as soon as this weekend when the Trojans host Utah.
Iwuchkwu suffered sudden cardiac arrest and collapsed during an informal team practice on July 1 of last year, an incident that required him to remain hospitalized for several days. Upon his return, USC held him out of all basketball-related activities. He has yet to play this season.
Coach Andy Enfield seemed optimistic at the start of the year that Iwuchukwu would be able to take the floor at some point during the season for the Trojans, and it sounds like that point is drawing closer.
BREAKING: Source tells @TheAthleticCBB that USC 7-1 freshman Vince Iwuchukwu, who hasn’t played this season bc of a heart issue, is close to joining the Trojans perhaps as early as this weekend, per source. Five-star prospect has been practicing and could be major game changer.
— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) January 11, 2023
A 7-foot center from Castaic (Calif.) Southern California Academy, Iwuchukwu was a 5-star prospect in the 2022 class and the 24th-ranked recruit in the country. With both forwards from last season’s team moving on — Chevez Goodwin and Isaiah Mobley — Iwuchukwu was expected to play a significant role for the Trojans in his first season with the program.
In his absence, USC has leaned on Joshua Morgan and fellow 2022 signee Kijani Wright at center.
No doubt, Enfield would need to ease Iwuchukwu back into the rotation and monitor his minutes, but the fact he’s able to worry about that question this early in the season is a positive development for Iwuchukwu and his team.
USC (11-5, 3-2 Pac-12) hosts Colorado on Thursday at 6 p.m. PT hoping to snap a two-game losing skid.