Isaiah Collier owned the big stage on Monday night in USC’s season-opening victory over Kansas State. Collier, the No. 1 recruit in the country for the Class of 2023, played like a No. 1 player. However, as good as he was, Collier needed help. He got plenty of it from Boogie Ellis, who scored 24 points, and from Kobe Johnson, who played typically terrific defense and chipped in 16 points. Collier also received help from his high-school teammate who joined him at USC.
Arrinten Page made a mark in his first USC game.
Page joined Collier in making the cross-country trip from Wheeler High School in Georgia all the way to Los Angeles. USC didn’t just get one Wheeler High prospect; it got a two-for-one. Collier is the main part of that deal, but Page showed he can significantly help the Trojans as well.
Page, coming off the bench against Kansas State, provided 6 points, 5 rebounds, and a steal in 14 highly productive minutes. Page, with 5 boards, outrebounded starting USC big man Josh Morgan (3 rebounds) and starting forward D.J. Rodman (4). USC gave up a lot of offensive rebounds to Kansas State. Wildcat players collected 19 offensive rebounds in this game, not counting team rebounds (balls out of bounds off missed shots). Page was good at limiting KSU’s second-chance opportunities.
Page’s performance was important for a lot of reasons. One, USC didn’t have big man Vince Iwuchukwu available. Iwuchukwu is counted on for defense and rebounding. Two, backup big man Kijani Wright was ineffective and played only five minutes. If Page can give USC reliable 14-to-18-minute bench stints as he did against Kansas State, USC won’t suffer when Josh Morgan has to get a rest, and when Iwuchukwu can’t play. Page might be a bigger key to this USC season than we previously thought.