Johnson, Simmons And Stepheson Sign To Play Overseas
Sept. 27, 2011
Johnson, who was USC's third-leading scorer and rebounder in 2010 with 9.6 points and 4.6 rebounds, has signed to play for the Sundsvall Dragons in the Swedish Basketball League. Last season Johnson played in Croatia and averaged 7.2 points and 4.8 rebounds.
Simmons, the 2011 Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year, recently signed to play basketball for the expansion Yokohama B-Corsairs in the Japan Basketball League. The head coach for Yokohams is Reggie Geary who had this to say about Simmons, "You want to get players that reflect your personality. Marcus Simmons is a hard-nosed, tough defender like myself -- a person who's made a name on defense, but by all accounts offensively is someone who I think is going to blossom.."
Stepheson, who averaged 9.8 points and 9.2 rebounds in 2011 and along with Simmons helped lead USC into the NCAA Tournament, has joined the Proteas Danoi AEL in the Cyprus - Division A in the Cypriot Basketball League. Despite playing only two seasons for the Trojans, Stepheson finished his career tied for ninth on USC's all-time blocks list with 83.
In June, forward Nikola Vucevic was the 16th selection in the 2011 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers. Vucevic continued USC's trend of producing NBA talent as he became the Trojans' fifth first-round selection in the last five seasons, tied for fifth-most in the country. Also, USC and Kansas are also the only two NCAA programs to have at least one player selected in the top 16 picks of the NBA Draft in four of the last five seasons.