November 22, 2012; Buena Vista, FL, USA; UTEP Miners head coach Tim Floyd in the first half of the Old Spice Classic at the HP Field House. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

USC Basketball: Dream Scenario De-Commit Trojans


The 2012-2013 Trojans are loaded with transfer players yet the program continues to struggle to recruit the best talent out of high school.

JT Terrell, Eric Wise, Renaldo Woolridge, Ari Stewart, Dewayne Dedmon, Omar Oraby, James Blasczyk and Jio Fontan have joined the Trojans after previous years at other institutions.

While these Trojans have played better than last years team. they still lack elite talent to compete in the Pac-12. The Trojan Transfer Trust of 2013 is loaded this season as a product of its recent troublesome history on the recruiting trail.

The Trojans’ recent struggles can be traced back to a fateful day. On June 9th 2009, Tim Floyd officially filed his resignation as coach for the Men of Troy.

Beginning with that fateful day in 2009, the Trojans have lost a bevy of big-time recruits, and the illegal soliciting of cash surrounding OJ Mayo played a large part in this process. In the greatest irony of its time, USCs best recruit ultimately cost them their best chance of long-term success.

In what I still believe keeps USC out of the elite recruiting classes, the Trojans instituted self penalties crippled the basketball program. To simplify the sadness; USC was stripped of all victories, lost out on tournament play, and lost one scholarship per year for two years.

What ultimately left USC in the the whole was a reduction, by one, of the number of coaches permitted to engage in off-campus recruiting activities during the summer of 2010 and a reduction in the total number of recruiting days by 20 days (from 130 to 110) for the 2010-2011 academic year. Although a small punishment on paper, the effect loomed in recruiting.

After losing interest in coaching the program, Tim Floyd bolted for the job at UTEP. Kevin O’Neill took over the reigns, but struggled to keep some of the best recruits Floyd pleaded with to remain in Los Angeles.

CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR 

Dec 25, 2012; Honolulu, HI, USA; Arizona Wildcats forward Solomon Hill (44) wins the MVP trophy after Arizona defeated the San Diego State Aztecs 68-67 in the final round of the Diamond Head Classic. Mandatory Credit: Marco Garcia-USA TODAY Sports

  • Derrick Williams, Minnesota Timberwolves
  • Solomon Hill, Sr. Arizona
  • Lamont Jones, Sr. Iona

In large part due to the departure of Tim Floyd, these three superstar talents decommit from USC and quickly joined forces at Arizona. All three players were sold on the future of the program under the Floyd, but jumped ship the second Kevin O’Neill was hired at USC.

These three players led the 2010-2011 Arizona Wildcats to the elite eight eventually losing to National Champion Connecticut. Williams was drafted in the first round by the Minnesota Timberwolves with the second pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.

Hill is currently a senior at Arizona averaging 13.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. These stats come after a superb junior season in which Hill scored 13 points a night on 50-percent shooting from the field.

Lamont Jones left Arizona and has transfered to IONA where he has truly found his groove. Jones is averaging 22 points per game this season on the seventh-ranked offense in the nation. Lamont Jones is a super-quick guard that reminds me of Maurice Jones with his tenacity and style of play at only six-feet tall in stature.

USC GAFFES

  • Leonard Washington, Sr. Wy0ming
  • Daniel Hackett, European League (Age 25)
  • Davon Jefferson, Russian League (Age 26)

These prospects were elite-level talents that transfered away leaving USC decimated for the past few seasons. After the 2008-2009 season, many of Tim Floyd’s proven commodities jumped ship to better opportunities.

Daniel Hackett, son of ex-professional Rudy Hackett, left USC in 2009 in his junior year entering the NBA Draft. Hackett was the starting point guard for the Trojans consecutive trips to the NCAA tournament. The man was very effective posting 12.3 points and  4.7 assists per night.

Davon Jefferson was a five-star recruit coming out of High School, with a bevy of promise at the forward position. Jefferson averaged 12-points per game alongside Taj Gibson in the Trojans physical front court. After his freshmen season, Jefferson joined forces with O.J. Mayo darting for the NBA Draft.

Leonard Washington is the worst case out of the three because of his current impact in College Basketball. After playing 21 minutes per night as a defensive specialist in 2010, Washington left USC for a new chance and has thrived. Washington is averaging close to 15 points per night on a 13-1 and nationally-ranked Wyoming Cowboys.

VE GAS FEVER

Dec 13, 2012; Las Vegas, NV, USA; UNLV Runnin Rebels guard Bryce Dejean-Jones drives the lane against and La Verne Leopards guard Jake Vieth (2) in the first half at the Orleans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Josh Holmberg-USA TODAY Sports

  • Bryce Jones, So. UNLV
  • Katin Reinhardt, Fr. UNLV

Head Coach Kevin O’Neill had opportunities with two talented UNLV players but could not convince these highly talented recruits to commit to USC.

Bryce Jones, the Los Angeles native, is making a name for himself outside the confines of Southern California. During his freshmen year at USC, Jones averaged 7.6 points per game on 37-percent shooting.

After sitting out a year due to NCAA requirements, Jones has made a strong impact in Vegas. Now in his first season at UNLV Jones is scoring 9.2 points while  logging 2.5 assists and close to one steal a night. As an impact player for a top program, Jones has thrived for UNLV.

Katin Reinhardt has the potential to be one of the best shooters in the nation. The four-star recruit out of Dana Point, CA is scoring 10 points per game on 34-percent shooting from behind the arc. As a freshmen star, Reinhardt will continue to develop in the run-and-gun Rebel offense.

BIG PICTURE 

Ever since the departure Floyd’s departure in 2009, the Trojans have lost control of the best prospects from California. If USC wants to return to Pac-12 prominence, they need to dominate recruiting in their territorial backyard.

The Trojans lack of recruiting success places them behind big-time rivals UCLA and Arizona who have thrived in recent years in terms of high school recruiting. Luckily for the Trojans, help is one the way. SF Roschon Prince, out of Long Beach Poly High School, has committed to the 2013 Class at USC as the #23 SF in the nation.

Plus recent history reminds us that USC has become a hot spot for some of the nations most talented transfer prospects. The biggest recruit from the 2014 California Class is Stanley Johnson. The 6’7″ junior from Mater Dei High School already possessing an NBA frame and an excellent shooters touch posting over 20 points per night with ease.

 

Tags: USC Basketball USC Trojans