Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
USC basketball star Dewayne Dedmon will not make a return to the Galen Center for new head coach Andy Enfield, as he’s decided to forgo his senior season and ditch the NCAA for the NBA Draft.
Dedmon averaged 6.7 points and 7.0 rebounds as a junior this past season, and showed a new-found on-court maturity in the second half of the season. The 7-foot center had a career high 18 points on March 6th up in Seattle against Washington, though his best game of the season came on the road against Utah. In what was Kevin O’Neill’s final game at USC, Dedmon had a double-double, scoring 13 points and securing 13 rebounds as the Trojans routed the Utes, 76-59.
With a frame that makes NBA scouts drool, Dedmon has the potential to be a successful player in the NBA, but he still has plenty of work ahead of him, as he’s still extremely raw.
Some will immediately compare Dedmon’s early departure from USC to Davon Jefferson’s draft declaration of 2008. But the reality is that they’re vastly different. Jefferson had a stellar year as a freshman, earning Pac-10 All-Freshman honors and averaging 12.1 points per game, playing alongside Taj Gibson in the post, and gelling with shooting guard O.J. Mayo. His solid first season showed plenty of potential and Jefferson, who later was found to take improper benefits, saw allusions of NBA grandeur. He was ultimately never drafted and has since played in Europe.
For Dedmon, the decision to leave has another veil of uncertainty that Jefferson didn’t have, as he sits accused of charges stemming from a Spokane bar fight, which ultimately forced him to miss the Pac-12 Tournament along with James Blasczyk. With USC refusing to comment publicly on potential further penalties for Dedmon, it’s possible, though unknown, that the school may have signaled to Dedmon of a carry over of penalties into the 2013-2014 season. That notion, combined with the raw potential that Dedmon showed on the court, would be enough justification for Dedmon to declare for the draft.
It’s a bitter pill to swallow for USC basketball fans, given that Dedmon is a very needed frontcourt piece for Andy Enfield’s Trojans. But if Dedmon feels that it’s the right decision for him, then perhaps a change of scenery and entry into professional basketball will be a good thing for Dedmon.
Seven foot players aren’t a dime-a-dozen and if there’s one thing the NBA fetishizes, it’s their prototypical sized big men. That could be enough for Dedmon to find a home in the NBA, or even Europe, a la Jefferson.