USC: J.T. Terrell

Basketball: G Jones academically ineligible

September, 1, 2012
9/01/12
7:46
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LOS ANGELES -- USC Trojans guard Maurice Jones, the Trojans' leading scorer in 2011-2012, is academically ineligible for the upcoming season and has been dismissed from the university, a program source told ESPNLosAngeles.com on Saturday.

Jones, a Michigan native, averaged 13 points and 3.5 assists for USC as a sophomore last season. He was slated to slide into a key sixth-man role this season, with senior Jio Fontan and transfer J.T. Terrell taking over as the starting guards.

Jones' departure means all five of the players from Trojans coach Kevin O'Neill's first two recruiting classes are no longer with the team, including Jones, forwards Evan Smith and Garrett Jackson, guard Bryce Jones and forward/center Curtis Washington.

USC begins its 2012-2013 season on Nov. 9 against Coppin State.

Basketball: A look at the 2012-13 depth chart

April, 24, 2012
4/24/12
6:27
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USC basketball's offseason won't compare to UCLA's, with the Bruins adding on big-time recruits Kyle Anderson, Shabazz Muhammad and Tony Parker, but the Trojans will also be a heck of a lot better in 2012-13 than they were in 2011-2012.

Of course, it doesn't take a lot to be a lot better than 6-26. But 15 wins is probably the baseline for next season's Trojans team, with 20 victories and NCAA tournament contention both legitimate possibilities. To that end, here is a projection of USC's 2012-2013 roster and lineup, taking into account the Trojans' remaining scholarship slot, which stands to be used on a transfer, probably a wing player of some sort.

That could very well be former Tennessee forward Renaldo Woolridge, who's visiting USC for the second time this weekend. So we took the liberty of including him here. It also could not, as the Trojans continue to pursue other prospects.

But here is the projected 2012-2013 lineup and, in basic order of contribution to the team, the bench. We provide brief comments on each player:

(Read full post)

Basketball: USC hosting Woolridge on visit

April, 6, 2012
4/06/12
2:36
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Former University of Tennessee forward Renaldo Woolridge is visiting USC this weekend to consider a potential one-year transfer to the Trojans, a program source told ESPNLosAngeles.com on Friday.

Woolridge, a lanky 6-foot-9 forward with an inside-outside game, is the son of former Los Angeles Lakers player Orlando Woolridge. He signed with Tennessee out of Harvard-Westlake in the class of 2008 and started 20 games over four seasons with the Volunteers but was granted a medical hardship waiver this offseason because of an ankle injury he suffered his junior year that limited him to only eight games.

He is a Sherman Oaks native and tweeted last week that he is "definitely leaning out West" for his next destination.

Woolridge averaged 4.4 points and 3.3 rebounds for Tennessee in roughly 14 minutes per game. All were career-highs. He memorably went 5-for-5 from 3-point range in the first half of Tennessee's road loss to top-ranked Kentucky in January to finish with 17 points.

USC has one available scholarship slot left for the 2012-2013 season created by the departures of Garrett Jackson, Alexis Moore, Curtis Washington and Evan Smith, the signings of J.T. Terrell and Strahinja Gavrilovic and the commitment of Brendyn Taylor.

The Trojans are also pursuing UConn transfer Alex Oriakhi and Arizona Western College forward Renan Lenz to fill that slot, among others.

Basketball: Washington, Smith also on the way out

March, 21, 2012
3/21/12
1:29
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USC announced last week that forward Garrett Jackson was transferring away from the Trojans and we reported Tuesday that guard Alexis Moore was joining him in departing.

Well, two more 2011-2012 Trojans are also leaving the basketball team, according to multiple program sources. Forward Curtis Washington has requested his release and will receive it this week and forward Evan Smith will leave the team via a medical retirement, staying in school and on scholarship but not counting against the team's 13-scholarship limit.

Both of the moves have been expected for some time.

Washington played 11 total minutes during his freshman season in 2010-2011 and then tore the labrum in his left shoulder last August, which forced him to miss all of last season. Smith played in four games for the Trojans last season before re-injuring the shoulder that has bothered him on and off since his arrival to USC in the class of 2009.

USC now has four open scholarships, two of which will be filled by 2012 signees J.T. Terrell and Strahinja Gavrilovic upon their summer arrival. The Trojans also have Woodland Hills Taft guard Brendyn Taylor committed for the third spot and continue to recruit other players for the fourth and final slot.

The spring signing period begins April 11 and lasts until May 16.

Basketball: Where the recruiting class stands

March, 19, 2012
3/19/12
2:26
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Only one team USC played in 2011-2012 is still around in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament: second-seeded Kansas.

The Trojans played a few other eventual NCAA tourney teams this season, including No. 12-seeded Cal, No. 11-seeded Colorado, No. 5-seeded New Mexico and No. 6-seeded UNLV and San Diego State. They lost to all of them, with the closest thing to a win coming in the third game of the season against SDSU.

But enough about the tournament, which resumes Thursday. Let's take a look at where the Trojans could be next season and, more specifically, let's take a look at the makings of the next USC recruiting class.

Two players already signed in November, during the early signing period: guard J.T. Terrell and forward Strahinja Gavrilovic. Terrell is a junior-college transfer from Wake Forest who's expected to start right away next November. Gavrilovic, from the San Diego area, stands to be a non-factor in his first season with the Trojans.

The third spot is where things start to get interesting. USC had a commitment from Arizona prep point guard Dewayne Russell until a few weeks ago, when he de-committed shortly after the Trojans got another commitment from Woodland Hills Taft guard Brendyn Taylor.

(Read full post)

Basketball: Taking the fun out of the game

February, 14, 2012
2/14/12
6:43
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Kevin O'Neill has been doing this for a long time.

He's been an assistant for 33 years and a head coach for half that, 16 seasons, 15 of which have come at the major-college level. Overall, he's won some but lost slightly more, experiencing both mind-numbingly bad seasons -- like a 5-25 record at Northwestern in 1999-2000 -- and fairly great ones, like a Sweet 16 appearance and 24-9 mark at Marquette in 1993-1994.

So, yes, with five games left in the 2011-2012 season, USC's third-year head man is fully aware of how badly his Trojans are doing this year, of how they look like locks go down as the worst-ever team in school history and of how he might very well break his own losses record.

Has his job, then, lost any and all semblance of fun?

Just about. But that doesn't mean he's going to stop doing it, or stop approaching it in the same way. He's been through situations like this before, he maintains. This might be different, with four key players now out with season-ending injuries, but it's not that different.

(Read full post)

Basketball: Muhammad's dad talks visit

October, 30, 2011
10/30/11
11:58
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ESPNU Top 100 No. 1 recruit Shabazz Muhammad officially visited USC this weekend, touring the campus, attending the Trojans' football game against Stanford and receiving a specifically-tailored marketing presentation by athletic director Pat Haden.

He came away pleased with what he saw.

"I think he has a huge interest in USC," his father, Ron Holmes, said in a telephone interview Sunday night upon returning to Las Vegas, where they live. "He loves the school."

Muhammad visited alongside Holmes and his younger brother Rashad Muhammad, a class of 2013 recruit. Holmes, a four-year basketball letterman at USC from 1981 to '85, has played a big role in Muhammad's continued interest in USC, but he says he doesn't have to convince his son to keep the Trojans in the running.

Haden met with Muhammad and his family Sunday before the Salute to Troy event at the Galen Center and presented him with a number of different ways the Trojans planned to showcase him at USC, beginning next November with the 2012-2013 season. Holmes characterized it as a "great marketing presentation."

"I think they're really trying to change the atmosphere in the basketball program," he said of Haden and USC head coach Kevin O'Neill.

A big part of O'Neill's pitch, Holmes said, is what he expects his team to be like during Muhammad's freshman season. The Trojans will have a ton of talent returning in the backcourt, and Muhammad would appear to fit right in at small forward.

"Well, he likes the guys that he brought in," Holmes said of O'Neill, mentioning Wake Forest transfers J.T. Terrell and Ari Stewart and Jio Fontan, out for the year because of a torn ACL but expected to return next season. "He thinks he has a formidable team."

(Read full post)

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