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Catching Up – Basketball

I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend! We are going to get back on schedule with a rundown of some of the things that have been reported over the last few days starting with basketball.

USC’s 2008-09 Basketball schedule (tentative) has been released. You can download the Pac-10’s team review (.pdf) at All Things Trojan. Its' obvious that SC has a lot of ground to make for with the loss of both Jefferson and Mayo. They lead the team in scoring last season so SC has a lot of ground to make up in 2008 Demar DeRozan will help with some of that.

A couple of notes for the team overview:

STRENGTHS - Backcourt is solid with junior Daniel Hackett (8.6 ppg/3.8 rpg/ 3.24 apg), junior Dwight Lewis (10.8 ppg/2.4 rpg), and sophomore Angelo Johnson (4.5 ppg/1.36 apg). Hackett led the squad in free throw percentage (.823), while Johnson’s the teams top returner in terms of three-point field goal percentage (.403)...

McDonald’s All-American DeMar DeRozan should make an immediate impact and will be expected to help provide an offensive punch from a talented group of freshmen...

CONCERNS - Gibson will need to avoid foul trouble. He topped the league with 115 fouls and eight disqualifications...

Injuries plagued the Trojans last season and the frontcourt players will need to stay healthy in order to assist Gibson on the interior...

We really didn't make note of this last month but Tim Floyd signed Stone Ridge Prep's Nikola Vucevic.

Vucevic, who averaged about 12 points and seven rebounds during his senior season, said he also had scholarship offers from Nevada and Hawaii. The native of Montenegro, who arrived in the United States last October, said USC coaches had been watching him "all year" before he signed late last month.

Wolf makes note that Vucevic will play multiple positions:

Basketball recruit Nikola Vucevic (6-9, 230) is projected to play three positions (small forward, power forward, center) right now for USC. He is not expected to redshirt.

Hopefully he will have an immediate impact.

There is still no word on Alex Stepheson though it now appears that Arizona State is now in the mix.

Tim Floyd also signed Evan Smith from Calabasas High School. Looks like he will play the the 2 or 3 position.

Chad Ford has a brief write-up on next seasons in coming recruits. he lists Demar DeRozan as one of 4 players that he expects to be sure lottery picks.

Finally there is still no word on weather Brandon Jennings with play for UA or head over to Europe. I had forgotten that, due to some bad blood between the two that Malik Story's commitment lead to Jennings de-commiting from USC. Story is headed to Indiana who is going through a mess of their own. So SC is out two pretty good players regardless of the relationship between the two because they had trouble academically qualifying. Just goes to show that we need to be careful when recruiting these high-risk players.