The 49ers are coming off one of their most successful seasons since Jerry Tarkanian lest the program more than 30 years ago. Dan Monson coached the 49ers to the Big West championship with wins over the likes Pitt, Xavier and Auburn, and competitive performances against San Diego St., Louisville, North Carolina and Kansas.
Said another way, the 2011-12 49ers were demonstrably far superior to the 2011-12 Trojans. Then again, who wasn’t?
Unfortunately for Monson, the 49ers lost 4 of their top 5 players, including their best player for going on 3 seasons: Caspar Ware. And, on the other end, this is a whole new USC team … or at least that’s the story we’re going with so far.
The 49ers best player is senior swing man James Ennis, who averaged 10ppg in 2011-12 and looks to nearly double that average this season. Sophomore Mike Caffey is doing his best to step into the oversized shoes left by Caspar Ware; and sophomore Kris Gulley is the 49ers’ most consistent threat in the front court.
The Trojans will again have a clear size advantage. The question is whether they can take advantage and limit sloppy play.
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