Monday, April 30, 2012
'Swiperboy' takes his talents to Los Angeles
By Eamonn Brennan
It's no secret the College Basketball Nation blog has long been fascinated with Tennessee forward Renaldo Woolridge, aka "Swiperboy," a self-styled rap artiste who has made as much of an off-court impact with his musical stylings as he has on the floor as a Tennessee Volunteer. (His career even nearly landed the Vols in NCAA hot water. Heady days, those.) Alas, it turns out Woolridge will tread the path so many young, aspiring entertainment moguls have trod: This summer, he is moving to Los Angeles.
The move would make just as much sense from a rap career perspective, but it's actually a basketball-related venture: Woolridge is using the graduate exemption transfer rule to join the USC Trojans for the 2012-13 season. According to the Los Angeles Times, Woolridge will "walk" as a Tennessee graduate this spring and then enroll in mini-term coursework that will get him eligible for post-grad work in Los Angeles this fall.
So, can he make an impact? At the very least, playing time should be plentiful. The Trojans just endured one of the worst seasons in school history, a 6-26 campaign that featured just one win (over Utah) in an historically bad Pac-12 conference. The Trojans were slow-paced and laughably bad on offense; they scored more than 60 points just twice (twice!) in conference play. But there is some small hope for the future. Star point guard Jio Fontan will return from the ACL injury that cost him his 2012 season, shooting guard J.T. Terrell (who spent one season at Wake Forest before transferring to Peninsula College and then USC) will join the squad, and, as ESPN LA's Pedro Moura wrote last week, USC coach Kevin O'Neill will have actual depth at every position, so one injury (like Fontan's) won't totally destroy the Trojans' chances of being (at the very least) competitive.
Woolridge will likely slot in as USC's small forward. His length, athleticism and defense will be a help. It won't make USC a Pac-12 contender, necessarily, and all eyes will no doubt be trained on the star-studded UCLA Bruins, but the chances of USC repeating the debacle that was 2012 do now seem far less likely. That's something, right?
In the meantime, Woolridge can continue to prepare for life after basketball. Hey, maybe "Frat Life" -- a newly released SB track -- will blow up on the west coast, and basketball won't matter anyway. Keep dreaming that impossible dream, Renaldo. You found the right city for it.