USC power forward Leonard Washington will be academically ineligible for the rest of the fall semester, coach Kevin O’Neill said Monday.
Washington, a 6-foot-7, 230-pound sophomore from Louisiana, averaged 9.8 points and 6.7 rebounds last season and saw decent playing time despite coming off the bench. A high ankle sprain prevented him from playing in late December and early January, but he was able to recover and join the Trojans in time for their Pac-10 championship run.
This is not the first problem that Washington has had with academic clearance at USC. In 2007, when he committed to USC as a senior in high school, Washington did not meet entrance requirements and was forced to spend a year at Compton’s Thurgood Marshall School before enrolling at USC in 2008.
Washington joins the laundry list of USC personnel that will be gone for the start of the 2009 season. The Trojans lost starters Daniel Hackett, Taj Gibson and DeMar DeRozan to the NBA draft, and former coach Tim Floyd resigned in June amid rumors of his connection to an ongoing NCAA investigation. Only senior guard Dwight Lewis returns for the Trojans as a starter in 2009.
If Washington meets the academic requirements, he will be able to return to action by January, near the start of the Pac-10 season.