LOS ANGELES (AP) — Broney James showed off his defensive prowess in his college debut for Southern California nearly five months later. Had a heart attack He also thanked the doctors and family for their support.
He had four points, three rebounds and two assists Sunday before his superstar father, LeBron James, left the game on the bench.
“I just want to say that I’m grateful for everything,” Bronnie James said in brief remarks to a press conference afterward. He thanked the Mayo Clinic for his treatment, his parents, siblings, coach Andy Enfield and his teammates during “a difficult time in my life.”
He left without asking any questions.
Trojans Lost in overtime to Long Beach State, 84–79. James left with his teammates, not greeting his father, who was sitting courtside.
James logged 16 minutes, including starting a five-minute extra session, but wasn’t a factor before coming out last. He was 1-of-3 shooting and hit a 3-pointer in the second half.
His biggest impact came on defense. All of James’ rebounds were on the defensive glass, and he had two steals.
“I thought Broney played well,” Enfield said. “He defended at a high level. He defended well against the fast bowlers in the other team.
Even when it looked like James might have had a shot, he quickly sent it to his teammates.
James’ minutes will continue to be monitored by USC’s medical staff, Enfield said.
He played six minutes in the first half and the Trojans led 45-30 at halftime. In his second three minutes of the contest, James made a big block on Jaden Jones, who was racing toward the basket on a fast break, to the cheers of the fans.
James helped Vincent Iwchukwu drink alcohol when he suffered a heart attack as a freshman. He returned to play in 14 matches last season.
“It’s great to see Broney out there. He’s been working a lot in the gym,” Iwchukwu said. “We talked before the game and I told him to go out and have fun.”
James entered the game for the first time seven minutes in and some in the crowd gave a standing ovation. He missed his first shot, a 3-point attempt. Moments earlier, he tipped the ball away from a Long Beach State player, but the visitors recovered it. The possession ended on a shot-clock violation for Beach. James also grabbed a rebound.
“He makes the perfect play all the time,” USC’s top guard Boogie Ellis said. “Everybody wants a guy like that in their team. He defends well at a high level.
LeBron James arrived seconds before the national anthem, holding hands with his 9-year-old daughter Zuri, and patted his son on the back as he walked past the Trojans lined up across the court for the anthem.
“It was exciting for everyone to see him there, and I’m sure his family was very excited,” Enfield said.
Well represented in the NBA game. One of James’ teammates, Dennis Rodman’s son, DJ Rodman, fouled out. Beach’s roster includes Chais Balinis, son of 15-year NBA veteran Olden Balinis.
James joined his teammates in court warmups 90 minutes before tipoff. Dressed in a white USC shirt and red sweatpants, he snapped a variety of jumpers under the watchful lenses of a photographer-filled baseline.
Students lined up around one side of the Galen Center, waiting to enter on an adjacent street. Despite empty seats in the 10,258-seat arena, James’ debut helped the Trojans draw their largest crowd of 9,806 this season.
James suffered a heart attack on July 20 during practice at the Galen Center. He was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect.
James was recently cleared by his doctors and USC’s medical staff to participate in the full-contact procedure. Earlier, he was limited to weights, cardio and shooting on his own.
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