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Eric Musselman reveals plan for Desmond Claude at USC

On3 imageby:Sam Gillenwater07/08/24


USC added 11 transfers from the portal this offseason amidst the roster rebuild under Eric Musselman. One of the most important of that near dozen, though, could end up being Desmond Claude considering what he brings with him as a guard.

Musselman discussed Claude’s role with the Trojans during an interview with Jon Rothstein on ‘College Hoops Today’. In their mind, he’s going to play at the one for them as he fits the mold of some of the taller point guards that they have had since he’s listed at 6’6.

“Well, we’re going to play Desmond at a lot of point guard this season,” said Musselman. “As guys, as someone his size? Obviously, when they’re younger, they usually don’t play the point. Whether it be, you know, Cody Martin or Anthony Black, sometimes those guys get put in small forward-type positions or off-guard and then you kind of have the transition.”

However, regardless of his height or spot in the lineup, Claude brings several all-around statistics to the table that should be major helps to USC.

“We’re excited because of his ability to draw free throws attempted. He averaged 4.9 FTAs last year. He’s a great rebounder at the guard position, averaged over four boards a game. Then, certainly, the scoring average at over 16 points a game and 27 total threes on the year,” Musselman noted.

Claude played in 69 games, including 34 starts last season out of 35 total, over two seasons at Xavier. In those appearances as a Musketeer, he averaged 10.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 2.5 assists. That included a sizable sophomore jump to 16.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.1 steals.

Of the 11 transfers for USC, Claude is the highest-rated of a group that is a Top-15 portal class per On3’s 2024 Team Transfer Portal Rankings. He ranks at No. 23 overall and as the No. 2 CG behind only Kanaan Carlyle (Indiana). That’s according to On3’s 2024 Transfer Portal Top Players.

Musselman still sees plenty of room for Claude to grow as he enters his junior year in Los Angeles. The Trojans will need him to continue that progression too in order for them to have the player they think he can be in their rotation.

“He’s a prospect that is still a young, developing player in just his second year,” Mussleman said. “Going into his third year? Really, really important year for him and we need him to have a heck of a year as well.”