DeMar DeRozan’s jersey retirement is an odd move by USC basketball

Feb 12, 2020, 3:27 AM PST
University of Southern California's DeMar DeRozan (10) battles for a rebound during first half action of USC's 61–57 win over North Dakota State University in NCAA action at USC's Galen Center in Los Angeles, Ca., Dec. 20, 2008. (Photo by Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

USC basketball will retire DeMar DeRozan’s No. 10 jersey on Thursday. It’s an odd choice considering jerseys that haven’t been retired.

PODCAST. Ryan Abraham On USC Ideals

On Thursday, DeMar DeRozan will become one of just seven USC basketball players to have their jersey retired in the rafters at Galen Center.

DeRozan’s No. 10 is the first jersey retirement since Bob Boyd’s No. 19 in 2017, joining Harold Miner’s No. 23, John Rudometkin’s No. 44, Bill Sharman’s No. 11, Paul Westphal’s No. 25, and Gus Williams’ No. 10.

CHECK OUT: USC will be a dark horse media favorite in 2020

The 6-foot-7 shooting guard played just one season at USC in 2008-09 but he made it count. He finished in the Top 10 in nine all-time freshman categories.

He was essential in USC’s march to the Pac-12 tournament championship, scoring a career-high 25 points in the title game against Arizona State.

At the same time, DeRozan managed just 13.9 points per game in his brief time at USC. Had he not gone on to four NBA All-Star game berths, would his jersey be in consideration for retirement?

Sure, USC basketball can’t use the perfect standard that Trojan football does, retiring jersey numbers only for winning a Heisman Trophy. There’d be no basketball jerseys retired.

However, there has got to be a higher standard than “He played well for one season and went on to reasonable success in the NBA.”

Taj Gibson was as much a driving force behind USC’s Pac-12 Tournament run in 2008-09. He won the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year Award and shared the team’s MVP award with Daniel Hackett that season.

Certainly, in the annals of USC history, someone like Jordan McLaughlin would more warrant seeing his No. 11 hanging from the rafters.

USC’s own media guide describes McLaughlin as “a three-year captain for the Trojans who finished his career as the school’s all-time leader in minutes played, second in assists, third in steals and games played, fourth in points and fifth in three-point baskets. He is one of three Pac-12 players to register 700 or more assists and 1,600 or more points in a career.”

None of this is meant to denigrate DeRozan’s accomplishments. But rather to highlight the other deserving Trojans who haven’t yet received similar honors.

Sam Clancy, the last USC player to receive All-American honors as a second-teamer, doesn’t have his jersey retired. He was the Pac-12 Player of the Year, one of just three USC players ever to do so. He ranks third all-time at USC in points.

A two-time team MVP, John Block owns the record for the most points scored by a Trojan, with a 45-point outing against Washington in 1966 followed by a second-place 44 points at Oregon that same year.

Ron Riley was a three-time MVP from 1970 to 1972. Nick Young also managed three MVP honors from 2005 to 2007.

Ronnie Coleman did it four times from 1988 to 1991 and ranks second at USC all-time in points scored.

The Trojans are within their rights to honor DeRozan, who currently holds the highest scoring average for the USC alum in the NBA ever, but they shouldn’t overvalue NBA performance compared to what a player did in the cardinal and gold.

Credit to one former USC player for not taking things too seriously. Chris Penrose responded to DeRozan’s honor in arguably the best way.

In case it wasn’t clear, Penrose wore No. 10 at USC until 2007.

Next. USC Lands UVA DL Coach