Gonzaga runs up against former Santa Clara standout Tahj Eaddy in a USC uniform
March 29, 2021 Updated Mon., March 29, 2021 at 9:51 p.m.
Southern California guard Tahj Eaddy drives to the basket ahead of Oregon center Franck Kepnang, left, during the first half of a Sweet 16 game in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Sunday, March 28, 2021, in Indianapolis. (Associated Press)
USC guard Tahj Eaddy is about to cross paths with Gonzaga again in a basketball career that has covered most of the country.
The 6-foot-2 senior is a native of West Haven, Connecticut. His prep career included stops in Tennessee and Georgia, and he spent his first college season at Southeast Missouri State.
Eaddy transferred to Santa Clara, where he and the Broncos didn’t fare well for two seasons in the WCC against national power Gonzaga. Eaddy’s next move was to USC as a grad transfer.
He’s been a valuable addition for the Trojans, who have made an improbable run to an Elite Eight date with top-seeded Gonzaga on Tuesday in Indianapolis.
“We feel like this is not uncharted territory,” Eaddy said. “We feel like we’ve been making history all year, doing things that haven’t done in a long time. We’re just trying to continue this momentum. We know we’re playing a good team on Tuesday but we’re excited and we’ll be prepared.”
Eaddy went 0-4 against the Zags in the 2019 and 2020 seasons. His stats: 11 of 38 from the field, 3 of 17 on 3-pointers, three assists, six turnovers. He’ll likely match up against freshman point guard Jalen Suggs.
“Gonzaga is a well-oiled machine,” he said. “They play as a team, even though they have great individuals. They’ve been great in transition traditionally. This go-around I’m excited, I think we have a great opportunity.”
Eaddy hasn’t had much input with the USC coaches about Gonzaga because “this is essentially a new team, except for maybe (senior Corey) Kispert.”
Eaddy leads USC in made 3-pointers (64) and assists (90) and he’s second in scoring (13.7). He’s connected on 39% from distance, including a memorable game-winner against UCLA in early March and a clutch 3 Sunday to stop an Oregon run.
Eaddy has hit six 3-pointers in the tournament and is coming off a 20-point effort against the Ducks.
Eaddy said limiting Gonzaga’s transition opportunities is USC’s first priority defensively.
“They really push the pace on makes and misses and that allows them to get in the paint early on offense, which allows them to kick it out for 3s,” he said. “We have to be smart in terms of taking good shots, taking care of the ball and making sure we get back on defense. If we can get them in a halfcourt game, it’ll be a good game.”
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