USC basketball transfer Brandon Gardner lists Arizona in his top six

Trojan HoopLA
Trojan HoopLA / Meg Oliphant/GettyImages

A former four-star prospect has narrowed his list of suitors down to six, and Arizona is arguably the best offer on the table for him.

Brandon Gardner, a 6-foot-8 forward, entered the transfer portal back on April 23, after medically redshirting his freshman year at USC and seeing action in one game. His departure came just under three weeks after USC hired former Arkansas head coach Eric Musselman to replace the outgoing Andy Enfield.

Gardner's sole appearance of the season was in the second game of the year against Cal State Bakersfield where he played for four minutes and sank the only shot he took. Due to not seeing much play time, he used his redshirt and will have four years of eligibility left wherever he lands.

Why are Arizona and Gardner a match?

Arizona lost promising young forwards Filip Borovicanin and Paulius Murauskas to New Mexico and Saint Mary's, respectively. Keshad Johnson is out of eligibility, and Pelle Larsson is entering the 2024 NBA Draft while foregoing his remaining eligibility. Even incoming transfer Trey Townsend has declared for the draft, though it's unlikely he'll get picked.

Although he lacks the numbers of your typical promising portal pickup, he's still an underclassman and was one of the top 5 players coming out of New York in the class of 2023. Gardner held offers from Kansas, Illinois, Alabama, and Georgetown, among others. He opted to attend USC and join a loaded recruiting class that featured Isaiah Collier and Bronny James alongside him.

Brandon Gardner
Trojan HoopLA / Meg Oliphant/GettyImages

Since he was injured for most of the 2023-24 season, there isn't much film out in the ether except for his practice tape and high school film. He plays with effort on both ends of the court and, although he's not the tallest, he still has the length to disrupt shooting lanes. He also demonstrates the athleticism to serviceably attack the rim.

Arizona has already landed a commitment from former Tennessee forward Tobe Awaka, which opens the door for Arizona head coach Tommy Lloyd to pair the younger Gardner with the far more experienced Awaka. The two could work behind Townsend and returning redshirt sophomore Henri Veesar as a pair of bench players à la Jaden Bradley and KJ Lewis.

The other offers he's strongly considering are from 2024 NCAA Tournament darling NC State, Texas A&M, and Arizona State. He's also kept two mid-major programs in the running: San Francisco and Jacksonville.

dark. ICYMI. JBDraft. Jaden Bradley appears in list of 2024 NBA Draft early entrants

Don’t forget to follow us at @ZonaZealots on Twitter, follow us at @ZonaZealotsFS on Instagram, and like our fan page on Facebook for continued coverage of Arizona news, opinions, and recruiting updates!