Fuller set to return west

USC basketball knows better than most programs the impact the departure of a head coach can have on player turnover.

Just last season, the resignation of then-head coach Tim Floyd in the wake of allegations regarding his funneling of $1,000 in cash to O.J. Mayo resulted in the departures of DeMar DeRozan, Taj Gibson and Daniel Hackett to the professional ranks. Highly rated recruits Lamont Jones, and Derrick Williams, were also each granted releases from their scholarships and allowed to instead enroll at the University of Arizona to play for the Wildcats’ first-year coach Sean Miller.

Now, instead of losing players to the NBA and rival programs, the Trojans are benefiting from turmoil elsewhere. After Iowa fired head coach Todd Lickiter earlier this month, the Hawkeyes’ top big man, power forward Aaron Fuller, has decided to transfer to USC according to various reports first appearing in the Quad City Times.

Fuller, who led the Big Ten in offensive rebounding a year ago with 3.4 a game, will be a key addition for the 2011-2012 season when he will be eligible to suit up for USC coach Kevin O’Neill’s program.

A native of Mesa, Arizona, the 6-foot-6, 230 lb. forward’s return to the west coast will likely be well received by current Trojan forward Nikola Vucevic. With the expected graduation of Alex Stepheson next spring, Vucevic, affectionately referred to as Kid Euro by the message board geeks, will need another big body to compliment him in the low post.

And by the sounds of his past experiences in the Big Ten, Fuller should be able to do just that.

While averaging 12.3 points and 7.6 rebounds during conference play, he developed an affinity for posting double-doubles (six total), while becoming a force to be reckoned with in the paint.

During a crucial late-season home contest against Michigan, Fuller, who also reached double figures in the scoring department a career high 15 times, showed off his abilities by finishing with 30 points and 13 rebounds.