In last year’s injury-marred campaign there were nine different players who saw some time under head coach Kevin O’Neill. Of those nine players, one little-used senior graduated and two underclassmen (who each earned more than 50% of the available minutes) transferred out. A fourth player, one of those who missed the season with an injury, also transferred out, while a fifth chose retirement from basketball due to his own injury. All three of the transfers saw the writing on the wall, with the host of new players and guys returning from injury ready to eat up their minutes. When all is said and done, none of these players that the Trojans lose will be difficult to replace, but we’ll fill you in on their details in the order of importance to the program.
- Alexis Moore – Moore came to USC in the class of 2011 as a solid recruit with a bright future ahead of him. But while earning more than 24 minutes a night primarily because he was one of the last guys standing, Moore struggled mightily shooting the ball, hitting just 28.3% of his three-pointers and – a far worse sin – hitting just 29.1% of his two-pointers. Throw in the highest turnover rate (turnovers on more than 20% of all possessions) on a team whose only offensive strength was the ability to not turn the ball over and it is no surprise that Moore and USC parted ways after just one season. Moore will wind up playing in the Ivy League at Penn, eligible in 2013-14 after sitting out a year, and should fare much better at that level of competition with a couple of years to grow into his new role.
- Garrett Jackson – Jackson spent two seasons under O’Neill and earned some quality minutes in both years. As a freshman, he shot the ball well and chipped in on the glass and defensively but took a step backwards as a sophomore in nearly double the minutes. Part of the problem was that the 6’6” wing was asked to play as more of a power forward due to injuries, and Jackson wasn’t ever the type of guy who seemed to be an athlete on the Pac-12 level. Jackson will wind up at St. Mary’s with eligibility beginning in 2013-14, where he will probably spend a couple of years contributing off the bench for the Gaels.
- Curtis Washington – A 6’10” power forward, Washington’s Trojan career boiled down to two seasons, 11 minutes, and zero points. He missed all of last season after a shoulder injury in USC’s ill-fated trip to Brazil and after the season decided to transfer to Georgia State. He’s another guy like Jackson who likely wound up at USC only because it was desperate for bodies, as he was regarded as a mid-major-type talent out of high school albeit with high upside due to his size and frame. Given some good health and improvement, he could have an impact in the CAA over the remainder of his eligibility. Read the rest of this entry »