Welcome to The Sports Bank’s third annual college basketball season preview series. Two years we looked at 99 teams in 99 days. Last year, we were slightly more aggressive and expanded to 111 teams in 111 days and will do so again as we look ahead to the 2012-2013 season.
We will rank the 75 power conference teams and top 36 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order. We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.
2011-2012 was a train wreck for the USC Trojans basketball program. They were ravaged by injury, lost a school record 26 game, picked up just one victory in a weak Pac-12 conference, and finished second to last in Division One in scoring. While Kevin O’Neill welcomes some key transfers to the team, he also loses a couple of valuable contributors from last year.
Last Season: 12th, 1-17 in Pac-12, 6-26 overall
Predicted Pac-12 Finish: 7th
Projected Depth Chart
C: DeWayne Dedmon (Jr)/James Blasczyk (Sr)
PF: Aaron Fuller (Sr)/Ari Stewart (Jr)/Eric Wise (Sr)
SF: Byron Wesley (So)/Renaldo Woolridge (Sr)/Strahinja Gavrilovic (Fr)
SG: J.T. Terrell (So)/Greg Allen (Sr)
PG: Jio Fontan (Sr)/Brendyn Taylor (Fr)
Gone: PG-Maurice Jones (transfer), SF-Garrett Jackson (transfer-St. Mary’s), G-Alexis Moore (transfer-Penn), F/C-Curtis Washington (transfer-Georgia State),
The biggest loss is leading scorer Maurice Jones who was initially ruled academically ineligible by the school but just recently decided to transfer out of the program. The Trojans also lose guard Alexis Moore to transfer but luckily Jio Fontan returns after missing all of last season due to a torn ACL. Fontan was second on the team in scoring in 2010-11 after transferring in from Fordham and will re-assume his role as lead guard. Freshman Brendyn Taylor will log minutes off the bench behind Fontan.
Former Wake Forest guard J.T. Terrell will start alongside Fontan in the backcourt. Terrell averaged 11.1 points in his freshman year with the Demon Deacons and lit up it last year at Peninsula College where he chose to play rather than sit out a year and practice with the Trojans. Byron Wesley started every game a year ago as a freshman and should retain his role on the wing. Tennessee transfer Renaldo Woolridge will play a pivotal role off the bench with his three point shooting and helps ease the loss of transfer Garrett Jackson. Greg Allen adds even more depth on the wing.
The Trojans suffered some costly injuries up-front last season which forced them to use a smaller line-up. Seven-footer Dewayne Dedmon suffered a season ending ACL injury while Iowa transfer Aaron Fuller saw his first year at USC end early because of a torn labrum. Assuming both players are healthy, O’Neill should have more size and physicality inside. He will also have more options off the bench this year.
Wake transfer Ari Stewart and UC-Irvine transfer Eric Wise both become eligible after sitting out last season. Stewart is a former top-50 recruit who isn’t very physical but uses his athleticism and versatility on offensive to his benefit. Wise is physical and also fairly versatile on the offensive end. Both guys are capable of playing either forward position as is Woolridge, providing O’Neill with some options. Another seven-footer, James Blasczyk gives the Trojans a second true big behind Dedmon.
More size is on the way with the addition of 7-2 Rice transfer, Omar Oraby. He must sit out this season per NCAA transfer rules but will be a valuable addition in 2012-13 with Blasczyk graduating and Dedmon possibly NBA bound if he can stay healthy and have a solid season.
Their ineptness on the offensive end (they scored less than 50 points in a game 12 times last season) should vastly improve this season with the addition of several transfers. The Pac-12 as a whole is slightly improved from a year ago and if the pieces fall in place for USC, they have an outside chance of getting into the top half of the conference standings.
Player to Watch: DeWayne Dedmon
Injuries obviously held him back last season, but even when Dedmon was healthy he didn’t make the impact that most expected. He didn’t post a single double-double and wasn’t near the shot blocking presence in the middle that O’Neill had talked him up to be. Dedmon must be an intimidating factor in the paint if USC is going to make any real noise this season.
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/13 vs. Long Beach State
11/19 vs. Illinois (Maui Invitational)
11/20 vs. Texas/Chaminade (Maui Invitational)
11/21 vs. North Carolina/Mississippi State/Marquette/Butler (Maui Invitational)
11/25 vs. San Diego State
12/3 at Nebraska
12/5 at New Mexico
12/8 vs. Minnesota
12/22 at Georgia
12/30 vs. Dayton
OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#76 UConn Huskies
#77 Harvard Crimson
#78 Xavier Musketeers
#79 Ole Miss Rebels
#80 Clemson Tigers
#81 Oregon State Beavers
#82 Texas A&M Aggies
#83 Providence Friars
#84 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
#85 Oklahoma Sooners
#86 Lehigh Mountain Hawks
#87 Washington State Cougars
#88 Long Beach State 49ers
#89 Belmont Bruins
#90 Vanderbilt Commodores
#91 Dayton Flyers
#92 Houston Cougars
#93 UCF Knights
#94 Old Dominion Monarchs
#95 Oregon Ducks
#96 LSU Tigers
#97 South Carolina Gamecocks
#98 Seton Hall Pirates
#99 Georgia Bulldogs
#100 DePaul Blue Demons
#101 Boston College Eagles
#102 Penn State Nittany Lions
#103 Arizona State Sun Devils
#104 Virginia Tech Hokies
#105 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#108 TCU Horned Frogs
#109 Mississippi State Bulldogs
#110 Utah Utes
#111 Nebraska Cornhuskers
David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)
You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.