College Basketball Broadcaster and Reporter
Great news arrived Friday night: Bronny James will make a full recovery and return to basketball “in the very near future.”
In a statement published by the James Family, they announced that Bronny, the 18-year-old son of LeBron and a freshman at USC, has a congenital heart defect “which can and will be treated.”
The defect was the cause of James’ cardiac arrest at a USC practice on July 24, when the four-star recruit collapsed on the court and was treated by the university’s athletics medical staff. He arrived at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center fully conscious, neurologically intact and stable.
This conclusion came after James was evaluated in Los Angeles by Dr. Merije Chukumerije with follow-ups at the Mayo Clinic by Dr. Michael J. Ackerman and Atlantic Health/Morristown Medical Center by Dr. Matthew W. Martinez.
This news is obviously an extremely encouraging development for James, his family and the Trojans.
James, ranked No. 22 in the 247 Sports freshman class rankings, chose USC over Ohio State and Oregon, electing to stay close to his father for his college career. This move helped USC rise into the top 15 in my FOX College Hoops power rankings.
The 6-foot-3 guard’s stock rose after a quality showing at the recent Nike Hoops Summit and his progress while at Sierra Canyon. His pledge to USC vaulted the program’s incoming recruiting class as a top-30 unit nationally, as it also includes No. 1 overall recruit Isaiah Collier and top-50 big man Arrinten Page.
With star guard Boogie Ellis, impact transfer DJ Rodman and a solid returning core, the Trojans have the makeup to be a Pac-12 title contender. Having James would only help that pursuit:
It bears noting: USC has recent experience dealing with a major cardiac issue.
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This marks the second straight summer that a Trojans freshman men’s basketball player has suffered a significant cardiac incident. On July 1 of 2022, 7-foot-1 center Vincent Iwuchukwu suffered major heart failure and collapsed during a Trojans practice. He was hospitalized for a few days and played just 14 games in the 2022-23 season.
It will be a fluid situation regarding James’ exact status for the 2023-24 season, but the news released on Friday is a best-case scenario for his first steps back to basketball For all intents and purposes, James is expected to be a one-and-done prospect regardless of how much he plays this season at USC, with his 38-year-old dad awaiting his eligibility for the NBA Draft so that the father-son duo could play together as teammates in The Association.
John Fanta is a national college basketball broadcaster and writer for FOX Sports. He covers the sport in a variety of capacities, from calling games on FS1 to serving as lead host on the BIG EAST Digital Network to providing commentary on The Field of 68 Media Network. Follow him on Twitter @John_Fanta.
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