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With Duke transfer and loaded class, USC could be Pac-12's most talented team next year

Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire

We continue our recruit and return series with the USC Trojans, whose season ended Sunday with a loss to Baylor in the East Region. A look at what the 2017-18 season could hold:

Possible 2017-18 starting five

G: Jordan McLaughlin

G: De’Anthony Melton

G: Elijah Stewart

F: Bennie Boatwright

C: Chimezie Metu

Who is lost: There are a few early-entry possibilities on the USC roster, led by Bennie Boatwright and Chimezie Metu, but there’s a good chance nearly every key player for the Trojans returns next season. The lone scholarship senior is former Minnesota transfer Charles Buggs, who didn’t even play in seven of the team’s final 13 games.

Who is added: Andy Enfield is bringing in a top-20 class next season, and the best addition might not be one of the freshmen. Duke transfer Derryck Thornton Jr. will be eligible next season after sitting out this past season. Thornton was a five-star prospect coming out of high school and enrolled early in Durham, but he never got comfortable with the Blue Devils. He returned home to California and could have the ball in his hands quickly. As for the freshmen, ESPN 100 wings Charles O’Bannon Jr. and Jordan Usher are the top pickups. O’Bannon, in particular, should have a big role early. The son of former UCLA star Charles O’Bannon, he’s a very good scorer who can stroke it from the perimeter, drive to the rim or pull up and hit shots in the mid-range. Usher can play both forward positions and will probably fit at the 4 in a small-ball lineup because of his finishing ability and motor. There’s also four-star center Victor Uyaelunmo, who will get minutes coming off the bench down low. He’s very long and can run the floor.

What it means for next season: Enfield will have an embarrassment of talent on the roster next season. In addition to the pieces coming in, all five starters -- and eight of the top nine -- return in 2017-18. Jordan McLaughlin will start at point guard for the fourth straight season, and he continues to improve. He took care of the ball better and distributed more effectively as a junior, while still making shots from 3. Freshman De’Anthony Melton was a pleasant surprise this past season, showing ability at both ends of the floor. Elijah Stewart has improved his scoring each season with the Trojans, and he’s comfortable taking on a bigger role. Boatwright and Metu will form one of the best frontcourt duos in the league. Boatwright missed half the season with an injury but returned to create matchup problems for everyone in the Pac-12. Metu is dominant at times up front, given his athleticism, strength and length. He’s starting to put it together more consistently, too. Former Louisville transfer Shaqquan Aaron and freshman Jonah Mathews are two more weapons off the bench.

Trending: Up. In terms of pure talent, there won’t be too many out West with more quality players than USC. If Enfield can piece it all together, especially with all the playmakers and scorers on the perimeter, the Trojans could be in store for a special season.