Bronny James, the eldest son of NBA superstar LeBron James, has been one of the most intriguing players to watch in college basketball during his freshman season at USC. And in Saturday night's showdown against rival UCLA, many eyes were on James.

In the Trojans' 62-56 road win against UCLA, James came off of the bench and played 15 minutes, recording 2 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 fouls. In the first half, James played only six minutes, but in that time, USC widened its lead to double digits. After James went to the bench, the Bruins stormed back and ultimately tied the game up at 34 apiece heading into halftime.

James played more in the second half and the Trojans got the lead back up to 13. While he was on the floor, he was lightly shoved by UCLA's Adem Bona, who received a technical foul. Despite a late surge by UCLA, USC would hold on for a six-point win, which splits the season series after its 65-50 loss to the Bruins at home on Jan. 27. In that game, James played 15 minutes and had 2 points, 4 rebounds, and 1 block.

Did Bronny James play well vs. UCLA?

USC basketball Bronny James shooting a basketball. USC basketball logo in background.

All in all, James proved to be impactful Saturday. USC made runs when he was on the floor, in part due to James' energy and playmaking. In the first half, he helped the Trojans grow its lead, with both of his assists being on three-pointers. When James sat, the defensive consistency he provides on the perimeter was evident, and UCLA began eating away at the Trojans' advantage.

While James played well, it would be foolish to give him the lion's share of the credit for USC's runs and certainly the win. Fifth-year senior Boogie Ellis continued his strong season with a game-high 24 points, as well as 5 rebounds, and 2 assists. Ellis was the only player on either team to score more than 14 points. As a team, the Trojans also managed to force several turnovers Saturday; Kobe Johnson tallied four steals while DJ Rodman and Isaiah Collier each had three steals.

Through 19 games this year, James now is averaging 5.5 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.5 assists in 20.2 minutes per game. He is shooting 37.1% from the field and 27.5% from three-point range, highlighting the offensive woes that have likely kept USC head coach Andy Enfield from playing him more this season.

James has started six games this year, and in those starts, the Trojans went 1-5 and he averaged 6.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 3.7 assists in 26.8 minutes per game. His shooting proved to be worse in those games, with shooting splits of 32.6% FG, 22.7% 3PT, and 50.0% FT. It should be noted, however, that James made five of his six starts on the road, including at 12th-ranked Arizona on Jan. 17.

LeBron James has mentioned several times how much he wants to play with his son in the NBA, but with Bronny struggling to put it together offensively as a freshman and LeBron playing in his 21st season in the NBA, it may not be in Bronny's best interest to potentially stunt his development by leaving college after one season. Regardless of whether he chooses to transfer or declare for the 2024 NBA draft, Bronny has overcome a lot in the last year.

During an offseason practice, James collapsed and suffered cardiac arrest caused by a congenital heart defect in July. Fortunately, he fully recovered and made his debut for the Trojans in December and joined the other members of USC's uber-talented freshman class, including Arrinten Page, Brandon Gardner, and Isaiah Collier, the top recruit of the 2023 class.

James and USC next visit 21st-ranked Washington State on Feb. 29.