USC Opens 2012-13 Season Hosting Coppin State Friday At The Galen Center
Nov. 8, 2012
THE 2012-13 USC TROJANS -- USC looks to field a different team and a different brand of basketball in the 2012-13 season. Senior point guard and captain Jio Fontan returns after missing the 2011-12 season with a torn ACL and starting forwards senior Aaron Fuller and junior Dewayne Dedmon are back after injuries limited their action last season. Sophomore wing Byron Wesley returns as the only player to start all 32 games for the Trojans in 2011-12. In addition to these players, new players expected to see significant time on the court include transfers junior guard J.T. Terrell and forwards senior Eric Wise, senior Renaldo Woolridge and junior Ari Stewart. Other returning players who figure to be in the mix are senior center James Blasczyk and senior guard Greg Allen. Freshmen newcomers include guards Brendyn Taylor and Chass Bryan and forward Strahinja Gavrilovic. USC has also added center Omar Oraby a transfer from Rice, who had his waiver petition approved by the NCAA on Nov. 8, so he is eligible to play immediately.
ROSTER BREAKDOWN -- There are a total of 17 players on the 2012-13 USC men's basketball roster. The Trojan team by class are: Seniors (6): Greg Allen (G), James Blasczyk (C), Jio Fontan (G), Aaron Fuller (F), Eric Wise (F) and Renaldo Woolridge (F); Juniors (6): Dewayne Dedmon (F), Daniel Munoz (G), Omar Oraby (C), Ari Stewart (F), Tyler Sugiyama (G), and J.T. Terrell (G); Sophomore (1): Byron Wesley (G/F); Freshmen (4): Zach Banner (F), Chass Bryan (G), Strahinja Gavrilovic (F) and Brendyn Taylor (G).
SEASON AND HOME OPENER vs. COPPIN STATE -- USC will play the season and home opener on Nov. 9 vs. Coppin State at the Galen Center at 8:00 p.m. Coppin State, from Baltimore, Md., went 14-16 last season and finished sixth in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. They lost all starters from that team and only five lettermen return. USC has played Coppin State one other time, winning 74-43 on Nov. 27, 2009.
TROJANS IN HOME OPENERS -- USC defeated CS Northridge 66-59 in the season and home opener last season, its fourth consecutive win in the opener. USC has opened at home the last eight seasons and is 5-3 in those games. USC is 42-9 in its last 51 home openers, winning 14 of the last 17 and is 73-33 in season openers.
LONG BEACH STATE ON DECK -- USC's second game this season will be vs. Long Beach State on Nov. 13 at 6:30 p.m. at the Galen Center. The 49ers went 25-9 last season, won the Big West Conference and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. They return only one starter in forward James Ennis (10.1 ppg, 3.8 rpg), but were again tabbed as the preseason favorite to win the Big West. In addition to four other returning lettermen, the 49ers have four key transfers that are being counted on to provide key production, including 6-9 forward Dan Jennings (West Virginia), 6-5 guard Keala King (Arizona State), 6-7 forward Tony Freeland (DePaul) and 6-10 forward Edgar Garibay (Loyola Marymount). USC leads the all-time series with Long Beach State, 7-5, and won the last meeting 79-61 on Nov. 24, 2006.
EXPERIENCED ROSTER - USC's roster features 12 upperclassmen and a combined 326 career starts at the Division I level. If you combined all of their career scoring averages, USC as a team would score 87.8 points per game. Counting Fontan who missed last season but started in the 2010-11 season, USC returns four starters (Dedmon, Fuller and Wesley), as well as four other players in Terrell, Stewart, Wise and Woolridge which have made at least 16 career starts.
100TH GAME AT GALEN - USC's game vs. Coppin State on Nov. 9 will be the 100th men's basketball game at the Galen Center. USC has compiled a 67-32 record at Galen in six seasons.
2011-12 TROJANS STINGY WITH TURNOVERS - As a young team playing with no senior scholarship players and just three scholarship players who had played in the USC system before, USC committed just 10.7 turnovers per game, 13th-best in the country. USC had 10 or less turnovers in 17 of 32 games. USC was tops in the Pac-12 with a +4.38 turnover margin. USC committed 140 less turnovers than its opponents.
WESLEY AMONG 2012 PAC-12 FRESHMAN LEADERS - USC wing Byron Wesley quietly ranked among the top Pac-12 freshmen in six different category averages: scoring (9.6), rebounds (5.1), defensive rebounds (4.2), assists (1.8), steals (0.8) and minutes (34.6). He improved as the season progressed, averaging 13.9 points and scoring in double figures 11 times in the final 13 games of the season. On Feb. 15 at UCLA he matched a season high with 16 points, then bettered in three consecutive games, scoring 18 at Arizona on Feb. 23, 22 at Arizona State on Feb. 25 and 23 vs. Washington on March 1.
FACING THE BEST - USC is undertaking another very competitive schedule for the 2012-13 season, including playing 23 of 31 games against opponents which finished last season with a .500 or better record. USC also has the potential to play 18 games against teams which won 20 or more games last season. The nonconference slate includes games against last year's NCAA Tournament teams New Mexico, San Diego State, Long Beach State and potential matchup with tournament teams North Carolina, Texas and Marquette. USC also has games against Minnesota, Georgia, Illinois, Nebraska and Dayton in nonconference play.
TOPS IN SCORING "D" THREE YEARS RUNNING - USC allowed just 59.7 points per game last season, tops among conference teams. In all three seasons with Kevin O'Neill as the USC head coach, the Trojans have allowed the fewest points per game among Pac-12 schools.
BIG GAME HUNTERS -- USC has four wins against ranked teams outside of the conference in the three seasons with Kevin O'Neill as the head coach. The Pac-12 as a whole has a total of nine wins in that stretch against ranked non-conference opponents.
TROJANS ON THE RADIO -- USC's radio flagship station once again will be ESPN Radio 710 with Chris Fisher and Brandon Granville calling all the action. Fisher is in his third season as the USC play-by-play announcer. Granville, a former Trojan point guard and USC's all-time leader in assists and steals, is in his first season as an analyst.
PAC-12 PREDICTIONS -- USC was picked to finish 9th (163 points) in the 2012-13 Pac-12 Conference in a vote by the league media prior to the season. Arizona was picked 1st (403), UCLA 2nd (402), California 3rd (325), Stanford 4th (296), Washington 5th (278), Colorado 6th (262), Oregon 7th (217), Oregon State 8th (166), Washington State 10th (111), Arizona State 11th (107) and Utah 12th (78). USC was picked 7th in the preseason last year and finished 12th, while conference regular season champion Washington was picked 4th and Pac-12 Tournament champion Colorado was picked tied for 10th.