From the OC Register's USC Blog:
“This is the time you got to capitalize on and have fun,” Gibson said Thursday night. “I was with O.J. Mayo the other day after (Memphis’s) win against the Clippers. Me and him talked about a lot of things. We talked about if he would have stayed. The NBA is stressful. He talked about how stressful it is, night in, night out, flying, worrying about different girls here and there, just telling me about the things that go on.
“But one of the main things he said, I wish I would have stayed in college. That’s one of the things he said. Maybe (had I left) I’d wish I stayed in because the NBA is stressful.”
This is an incredibly revealing statement to me. I had heard a few rumors here and there that OJ missed college life, but nothing anywhere near as concrete as Taj Gibson basically coming out and saying it to a reporter. Who knows, it may be disingenuous, but it is an interesting thing to hear regardless especially considering that both Taj and Derozan are considered candidates to jump to the NBA after this season.
Frankly, I am not in the same camp as most that believe Gibson is more likely than not to leave. People talk about his age being the issue that will force him to declare, but in all likelihood most players picked up in the draft won't play in the NBA beyond 3 years or so making it seem like a little less of an issue. Taj is already a junior and is on track to graduate, so you would have to think that having a college degree from USC has comparable value to a 2nd round pick, and it almost certainly has more lifetime value.
Combine this with Derozan's recent comments about ASU's James Harden, and things may be developing in a different direction than many expected. Obviously it is way to early to predict or take anything for granted, but it will be interesting to see what comes of this once the declaration deadline rolls around. SC is likely bound for a great season next year, but if one or both of these talented Trojans stick around then next years team could be truly special.