March could not end without one more splash of madness for USC men’s basketball, as redshirt sophomore guard Shaqquan Aaron declared for the NBA Draft on Friday.
The 6-foot-7, 190-pound guard averaged 7.6 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 20.8 minutes per game this season. Aaron has not signed an agent, leaving him eligible to revoke his draft status up to 10 days after the NBA Combine in May.
For weeks, USC fans have dreaded head coach Andy Enfield’s talented young roster disintegrating one-by-one as players declare for the draft, but no one expected Aaron to make the first move.
His decision to declare for the draft might come as a surprise given the arc of his season, and, more broadly, his career at-large.
He began the year in USC’s starting rotation but failed to win back his role despite sophomore forward Bennie Boatwright’s injury. In late January, Aaron exploded off the bench for 23 points versus UCLA at the Galen Center to lead the Trojans’ to their regular season marquee victory. He earned Pac-12 Player of the Week for his performance. However, he couldn’t replicate that performance down the stretch. In three NCAA Tournament games, Aaron averaged 7.7 minutes a game, but he failed to score.
Aaron sat out the 2015-16 season after transferring from Louisville. In March 2016, he had surgery to repair an old pinky fracture suffered at Louisville. While with Rick Pitino’s Cardinals, Aaron appeared in 23 games and made two starts. He averaged 1.3 points and 0.7 rebounds per game.
At Rainier Beach High School in Seattle, Aaron led his squad to the second of two consecutive Class 3A titles. In 2013-14, he won Washington Player of the Year Honors and was ranked No. 26 nationally by 247Sports.com and No. 33 in the ESPN 100.