USC: Andre Dawson
A few things to pass along on this Friday:
- First of all: junior fullback D.J. Shoemate is gone as of last night, heading to UConn with plans to play running back -- something he never had a chance to do at USC. Highly recruited out of Servite High School, the 6-foot, 220-pound Shoemate started his Trojan career at receiver but was moved mid-season to fullback. Injuries also limited his progression with the Trojans, as he missed a 2008 game due to a shoulder injury and missed the majority of 2010 spring practice. Now, the Trojans will be forced to use either walk-on Hunter Simmons or incoming freshman Soma Vainuku as the backup to likely All-Pac-10 fullback Stanley Havili.
- A baseball update: junior-to-be first baseman Ricky Oropesa participated in the inaugural college home run derby this week that took place in famed Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Neb. Oropesa, who hit 20 homers last season as the Trojans' lone marquee hitter, was one of seven competitors in the derby but couldn't advance past the first round after hitting only two out of the park. Featuring guest coaching from MLB Hall of Famers Mike Schmidt and Andre Dawson, the TD Ameritrade College Home Run Derby will air Sunday on CBS at 10 a.m. PST
- More baseball: ex-Trojans lefthander Adam Dedeaux signed with the Dodgers last week and reported to the Arizona League Dodgers soon after. He has yet to appear in a game. Interestingly, Dedeaux's grandfather — and long-time USC baseball coach — Rod Dedeaux and Dodgers special advisor Tommy Lasorda were widely reported to be great friends before the elder Dedeaux passed in 2006. Grandson Adam pitched 26 career innings for the Trojans with an ERA higher than 6.
- In basketball, fellow former Trojans Dwight Lewis and Marcus Johnson are matching up for the Houston Rockets and Phoenix Suns in the second game of NBA Summer League play in Las Vegas. At the time of this writing, it's halftime and the Rockets lead the Suns 43-42. Lewis has logged significant minutes on the perimeter for Houston and has seven points and an assist; Johnson hasn't gotten into the game.