Byron Wesley was always one of USC's marquee players during the last three seasons. But despite all of his efforts, the Trojans struggled mightily on the court. After he and his teammates finished this year at 11-21, Wesley began to consider his options.
"It just started with me talking to my family after the season," Wesley said. "I really reflected on my past three years here. Since I have a chance to graduate early, we felt like it was the best opportunity for me to go somewhere, have fun and win my last year. The past three years have all been rebuilding years and I've had three different coaches. I love USC, I've been committed to USC since I was a junior in high school and it didn't have anything to do with USC."
His teammates and coaches weren't expecting their leading scorer to leave, but they are supportive of his decision.
"I think everyone was surprised but at the end of the day, I they were understanding," Wesley said. "I gave a lot to the USC program my past three years, playing with all the different coaches and playing with what seemed like a new team every year. I gave it all I could. There's no bad blood between me and the coaches or my teammates. Everyone is supportive of my decision."
There was speculation that his decision to transfer was about concerns with the Trojans' new roster and how he fit in. Wesley says that wasn't the case.
"I saw some reports that said I was concerned with new guys coming in and my role on the team but that's not true," Wesley said. "I'm really close with Jordan McLaughlin who's coming in, he's like a brother to me. I know he's going to be really talented. I know Katin Reinhardt is also a really talented player who'll play next year. I wasn't unsure about my role, it was about my future and the opportunity to do something big my last year. I feel like it's the best time for me to take it."
The decision to transfer has put Wesley in a position that he hasn't been in since high school and colleges from across the country are contacting him already.
"The process has been crazy so far," Wesley said. "I've been contacted by a lot of coaches but the main people I've been talking to is my family and my AAU coach. I want to take my time with it and not really rush anything. It feels like I'm in high school all over again with all the coaches calling, but it's exciting at the same time. It's a blessing to be in this position."
Seven schools have already shown interest.
"So far I've been contacted by Indiana, Baylor, Michigan State, Gonzaga, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Providence," Wesley said.
The 6-foot-5 shooting guard hopes to have a few official visits figured out in the coming weeks.
"I'm still trying to narrow down my list right now and take a few official visits," Wesley said. "I want to check out some schools, meet the coaches, players on the team and everyone. I want to go where I feel most comfortable and not rush anything. Hopefully I'll set some visits in the next couple of weeks and go from there."
When he's on these visits, Wesley will be evaluating whether he believes he can win big in one season.
"One of my main goals is to go to a program that's winning," Wesley said. "I haven't had the most success over my career at USC. My main focus is finding a team where I can fit and play my game but also a team that has veterans like me. I want a team with the same goal, just win, make the tournament and make a run in the tournament. That's really my main focus."
After he figures out his visits, Wesley will still have some more classes at USC before he transfers.
"I'll finish up at USC in the summer, transfer and then work on my masters," Wesley said. "I'm excited to work on it. A lot of people are telling me how important it is and it's great that I have the opportunity to work on it in my fourth year in college. When I'm done with all of that and my final season, I'm going to start working towards the next level."
And when Wesley finally does leave USC to play basketball somewhere else, he won't really be leaving the program. No matter where Wesley goes, he'll considering himself a Trojan for life.
"I just can't thank the USC fans enough," Wesley said. "They stuck with us through think and thin, the good and the bad times. I'm still going to be a Trojan forever because I'm going to be an alumni. I plan to always associate myself with USC and at the end of the day, I wouldn't change anything about the opportunity I had at USC. It was a blessing and it was honestly the best three years of my life."
He'll even be pay attention to what USC does on the court and he expects them to turn it all around soon.
"I still think USC is going to be a challenge for teams next year and I think coach (Andy) Enfield is doing a great job," Wesley said. "He's bringing in a lot of talent and his type of players. I think in the next couple of years, USC is going to be a really successful team."