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April 25, 2007USC football has been known for the strength of its recruiting under Pete Carroll, but basketball coach Tim Floyd is starting to make noise, too.
Trojan basketball is competing for some of the top players in the country, assuring the hoops program of continued success in the years to come.
Everyone knows about the signing of O.J. Mayo out of Huntington, West Virginia. The 6-5 guard is considered one of the top three players in the country and a lock to be among the first players selected in the 2008 NBA draft.
But Floyd has gone beyond the signing of the 2007 class, ranked by Rivals as the No. 2 class nationally. He has already got a good jump on things for 2008 as well.
Before we look at who USC is set to sign for 2008, let's take a look at the roster and see how many slots are available.
The following 13 players are on scholarship for 2007-2008, assuming the return of Gabe Pruitt to the team (a likely scenario):
Kyle Austin, So.
Rousean Cromwell, Jr.
Kasey Cunningham, RS Fr.
Taj Gibson, So.
Daniel Hackett, So.
Dwight Lewis, So.
Gabe Pruitt, Sr.
Keith Wilkinson, Jr.
O.J. Mayo, Guard
Davon Jefferson, Forward
Leonard Washington, Forward
Marcus Simmons, Forward
Mamadou Diarra, Center
Following the 2007-2008 season, the Trojans will lose Pruitt to graduation and it's pretty much a lock that Mayo will head to the NBA, too. Gibson and Jefferson are wild cards who could also opt for the draft.
That means that USC will have at least two, most likely three, and as many as four rides available for the 2008 class. Here's a look at how that class is shaping up:
Angelo Johnson, 5-10, 165, PG, Minneapolis, Minn.
Demar DeRozan, 6-5, 195, SF, Compton, Calif.
Malik Story, 6-5, 200, SF, Artesia, Calif.
Superstar point guard Brandon Jennings, a five-star player, was at one time considered a USC commit, but he has recently backed off and is now considered a toss up. It is certainly possible that he could end up at Troy, but UConn is also making a strong push for his services.
Floyd didn't wait around, though, and secured the commitment of four-star point guard Johnson, who garnered attention while playing for local prep school Stoneridge (where Taj Gibson played his ball). DeRozan, another four-star, is a highly-regarded wing who could end up being one of the top players on the West Coast when all is said and done. Shooting guard Malik Story committed to USC in 2005 and will give Troy an outside shooting presence. The Trojans also have a commitment from Beverly Hills High point guard Romeo Miller, who will join the team as a walk-on.
If Jennings doesn't come to USC, that potentially opens up one more scholarship for 2008. At this point, the Trojans are in the running for Rivals' top player in the country-forward Greg Monroe of Harvey, Louis.
Monroe currently lists USC along with Duke and LSU among his top three. While it will be hard to get Monroe out of the state, Floyd has strong ties with Louisiana, so don't count USC out for his services.
Looking further out, to 2009 and 2010, things are already shaping up well for the Trojans.
Renardo Sidney, a 6-9 power forward from Artesia, is said to be strongly considering USC and he could be the centerpiece of Floyd's fourth class.
Also, 6-6 forward Dwayne Polee of Westchester has already committed to USC for 2010.
That's a long way off, though, and a lot could change. One thing we do know is that Tim Floyd has vastly improved USC's recruiting and that should translate into continued success on the court.