Bronny James

How Bronny James fared in his USC basketball debut

LeBron James was seated courtside for Bronny's college debut

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Bronny James' college basketball career is officially underway.

Just months after a suffering a cardiac arrest, the highly touted freshman guard made his USC Trojans debut against Long Beach State at the Galen Center in Los Angeles on Sunday.

Coming off the bench, James was met with a standing ovation from the sold-out home crowd when he checked into the game for the first time seven minutes into the contest.

His father LeBron James, who won the NBA's inaugural In-Season Tournament championship on Saturday, could be seen courtside capturing the special moment with his phone.

The first highlight-reel play of Bronny's college tenure came on the defensive end. James, sporting No. 6 just like his dad, made a chase-down block reminiscent of LeBron to prevent a fast-break layup.

Bronny missed his first and only field goal attempt -- a 3-pointer -- of the first half. But he connected on his first shot of the second half, drilling a transition 3 for his first college points.

Then, with USC clinging to a one-point lead inside the final 30 seconds of regulation, James came up with a clutch steal.

After being fouled, James made one of two free throws.

James finished with four points (1-for-3 from 3, 1-for-2 on free throws), three rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block in 16 minutes of action. But the Trojans were knocked off by the 49ers in overtime 84-79 after being outscored 54-34 over the game's final 25 minutes.

“I thought Bronny played well,” USC head coach Andy Enfield said. “He defended at a high level. He guarded the quick ballhandlers on the other team pretty well.”

On July 24, James suffered a cardiac arrest during a practice at the Galen Center. He was treated by the school's medical staff before being hospitalized.

James was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect, the likely cause of his cardiac arrest, that was treatable. After being cleared for a full return to basketball activities on Nov. 30, James participated in his first full contact practice on Thursday.

“I just want to say I'm thankful for everything,” James said in brief postgame comments to a horde of media. He thanked the Mayo Clinic, where he received treatment, as well as his parents, siblings, coach and teammates “during this hard time in my life.”

He did not take any questions.

A five-star recruit and McDonald's All-American, James came in at No. 22 on 247Sports' composite rankings for the 2023 class. He's projected as a potential first-round pick in the 2024 NBA Draft.

James and the 5-4 Trojans will look to get back on track when they hit the road to face Auburn on Sunday, Dec. 17.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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