Just a few brief notes on some basketball happenings...
On Sunday USC had their first scrimmage at the Galen Center that was open to the public and DeMar DeRozan showed all that we have heard about him.
DeRozan passed with flying colors, scoring 29 points before several hundred fans who watched the scrimmage at the Galen Center. His alley-oop dunks and spinning layups offered hope that USC can replace a large chunk of offense lost when O.J. Mayo and Davon Jefferson left school early.
"People have always labeled me as a scorer," he said. "In high school and the camps, everywhere."
He has some big shoes to fill in replaing the scoring that left the program when Mayo and Jefferson left but i am more interested in seeing how the team chemistry is coming together with what could be called a more complete roster. I don't expect SC to have the chemistry issues early on this season that were rumored last season. DeRozan is a sure one-and-done but he has a lot of upside with a solid perimeter shot and his production should go a long way to help make up for what was lost when Mayo left.
Another player to watch will be Leonard Washington who will bring a strong rebounding presence to the team this season, as that was something we really lacked last season and it will take the pressure off of Taj as well.
Dwight Lewis will get a lot of playing time as well this season. Is it me or was Lewis lost in the shuffle last season? He will contribute.
Alex Stepheson took the feed in the post and dunked with authority.
Granted it was a drill, and there was no defensive pressure, but the emphatic slam signaled a significant change for USC.
If Stepheson's presence was this pronounced in practice, what would happen if he were granted a waiver to play without sitting out a season after transferring from North Carolina? The balance of power in the Pac-10 could shift within L.A.
Stepheson could have that kind of impact if an NCAA committee grants his wish to play immediately due to a family hardship.
Put Stepheson next to junior forward Taj Gibson and the Trojans would have the most experienced front line in the conference. Add these two to a starting perimeter of junior guards Daniel Hackett and Dwight Lewis and arguably one of the top freshmen in the country in DeMar DeRozan, and suddenly the Trojans could have the most experienced and talented starting five in the conference.
That would be a great think but I am not getting my hopes up yet because I think there is a good chance that the NCAA won't clear Stepheson's eligibility.
Jeff Goodman has his preview up on Fox Sports...not a bad read.
I am interested in seeing how Marcus Johnson will fare this season he could be a big deal on defense giving us a little more stability.
Clearly this team has a lot more depth than last season and that is a big plus as we head into the season. Injuries were a big issue last season and they could pop up again this seaon so depth just like with the football team is a big deal.
There is a lot to be excited about!