USC lands big fish for 2011

On the first official day recruits could announce what campuses they intended to bring their hoops game to next season, it seemed at first glance that the rich kept getting richer.

ESPNU’s top 50 players were going to traditional powerhouses like Kentucky, Kansas, UNC and Duke, while USC seem destined to be left out in the cold.

But according to a number of sources, thanks to the help of USC assistant coach Dieter Horton, Kevin O’Neill was able to snag a potential big-time post player, albeit for 2011, in Antelope Valley College’s Dewayne Dedmon.

While it easy to understand why prestigious programs accustomed to filling their recruiting boards with McDonalds All-Americans and Gatorade Player of the Year award winners passed on Dedmon, given that he only averaged 6.6 points and 7.8 rebounds for the Marauders last season, USC has not been shy in gushing about their newest acquisition.

“We are really excited that Dewayne decided to be a Trojan,” O’Neill said in a statement. “ I think he has great potential, is an excellent student and is an even better person. He will be a huge part of our successes in the future.”

That future will begin next January for the junior college recruit, when he will redshirt his freshman season, as he learns behind proven veterans Alex Stepheson and Nikola Vucevic during the 2010-2011 season.

What may be most remarkable about the Trojans’ future post presence is that he didn’t start playing basketball until his senior year at Lancaster High School, due to his beliefs as a Jehovah’s Witness. So while his numbers at Antelope Valley, where he was coached by Horton, are not gaudy and don’t jump off the page right away, USC still made quite a splash in grabbing Dedmon off the recruiting market.