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Written by Andie Hagemann, USC blog contributor

One last home game remains for the USC men's basketball team. Fresh off a thrilling upset over No. 11 Arizona, the Trojans are looking to finish the home schedule strong with a victory over Arizona State this Saturday (12 p.m. tip). Not only will it be the last home game for the 2012-13 season, it also marks senior guard Jio Fontan's final chance to play in front of the Galen faithful.

Fontan-UCLA2-McG.jpgThe road to his successful career has not been easy. Fontan has been faced with great adversity during his stint as a Trojan.

Fontan transferred to USC from Fordham University in January 2010. A self-proclaimed homebody as well as a New Jersey native, he was reluctant to venture to the West Coast. "Once I decided to leave Fordham, they put a couple bans on [the waiver] so I was not able to go to certain schools on the East Coast," Fontan said. "USC reached out originally and I didn't know if I would consider it because it was all the way in California. My dad suggested that I take the visit. Once I came out here, I loved it. I met Kevin O'Neill and felt comfortable with him."

Due to transfer rules, Fontan was forced to sit out the first semester of the season. He made his USC debut on Dec. 18 at the Allen Fieldhouse against the Kansas Jawhawks on national television.

"My team had already played some games together so they already had their identity and I was just thrown into the mix to adjust things," Fontan said. "My biggest goal was not to throw my teammates off. I wanted to make sure everyone was still comfortable in their role and that I could add to that."

Fontan adjusted quickly and scored 15 points in his inaugural game as a Trojan which was also his average while at Fordham. His performance against the Jayhawks reassured him that his game was still up to par. "The first game was tough but I came out, did okay and scored 15 points which wasn't too far off from my average," Fontan said. "It made me feel like I didn't take a step back at all. It was a great start for my career as a Trojan and I think it led to a great finish going to the tournament."

USC lost to VCU in the first round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament and the Trojans were eager to attack the 2011-12 season and return to the "Big Dance." However, Fontan tore his ACL in an exhibition game in Brazil in August 2011. The injury sidelined him for the entire season. USC went 6-26 in Fontan's absence.

"It was definitely different having to sit out," Fontan said. "For the most part, I got to watch the game from a coach's perspective and I've tried to translate that into this year. It was a lot more stressful last year dealing with the losses."

Fontan returned to the court for the 2012-13 season. After a mid-season coaching change, he has asserted even more of a leadership role on the team. "Coach [Bob] Cantu is a little more open to my suggestions as far as what we should do on both ends of the court," Fontan said. "I can make those decisions while being on the court. I don't have to run it through someone else all the time and have to constantly look at the sideline."

Though the journey has not been easy, Fontan would not trade trade it for anything else. "For me to be here, play in my senior weekend, have a degree from USC and be able to play professionally one day, I can't take anything away from that," Fontan said. "I've met a lot of great friends here. I had a chance to play for Kevin O'Neill and this has been an unbelievable experience."

USC currently stands 13-15 overall and 8-7 in the Pac-12 Conference. Three games remain before the Trojans head to Las Vegas for the conference tournament.

"It is going to be bittersweet knowing that I won't be playing an official game again in this building in front of our home crowd and wearing this jersey," Fontan said. "I'm just trying to focus on the game itself. I don't think it will hit me until tomorrow, knowing that the end is near."

Though the destiny of the 2012-13 Trojans is not certain, Jio Fontan has surely left a lasting impression among the USC basketball program.

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