USC senior point guard Jio Fontan will undergo surgery to repair the torn ACL in his left knee today, almost four weeks after he sustained the injury during USC’s pre-season exhibition trip to Brazil.
The delay in surgery was because of extensive swelling in the knee, which needed to subside before surgeons could operate.
Fontan emerged as a dependable second scoring option to departed forward Nikola Vucevic, averaging 10.5 points per game last season and scoring a prolific 29 and 28 points in his first two games in Brazil before suffering the injury in the third game.
Fontan would apply for a medical redshirt that will enable him to return to USC for at least one more season.
USC will now start a completely new lineup, although sophomore guard Maurice Jones, relegated to sixth man status late last season, started 25 of 34 games.
Jones averaged 9.9 points and 3.3 assists per game in his first season with the Trojans.
Freshman guard Alexis Moore, from nearby Long Beach, is expected to replace Fontan in USC’s starting lineup at point guard.
The USC men’s basketball team’s recent history of NBA-level talent provided some perspective to 6-foot-8, 220-pound forward Stranhinja Gavrilovic.
On an official visit this past weekend, Gavrilovic committed to play for the Trojans for the 2012 season.
“I want to progress in basketball and play at a high level,” Gavrilovic told Scout.com. “I know USC sends a lot of players to the NBA and my goal is to one day play at the next level.”
Gavrilovic, a native of Serbia, cites former USC forward Nikola Vucevic’s recent departure as a key reason he decided on the cardinal and gold.
“Nikola Vucevic is going from Serbia to USC to the NBA, that was a big reason,” he said.
After moving to the United States earlier this year, he will play his senior season of high school at La Jolla Prep School near San Diego.
Gavrilovic is USC’s second verbal commitment of the 2012 recruiting class, joining Arizona native Larry Lewis.
After losing forward Marcus Simmons, center Alex Stepheson and forward Nikola Vucevic following the USC men’s basketball team’s run to the NCAA tournament last March, the Trojans are looking to rebuild with a strong 2012 recruiting class.
Landing forward Shabazz Muhammad, the nation’s top recruit in the class of 2012 according to multiple scouting services, would certainly help their cause.
Muhammad, a Las Vegas native and member of Bishop Gorman’s esteemed high school basketball program, has scheduled an official visit to USC during the weekend of Oct. 28, according to ESPNLosAngeles.com.
USC made an in-home visit with Muhammad on Friday — the first day of the NCAA-allowed contact period.
Measuring at 6-foot-6 and 215 pounds, Muhammad, has the ability, according to scouts, to step in right away and make an impact for the Trojans.
As a small forward, Muhammad is capable of knocking down a jumper or slashing to the basket. He is also regarded as one of the top defenders for his age in the country, according to scouts.
USC could potentially stand to benefit from his family connection, as Muhammad’s father, Ron Holmes, played forward for the Trojans in the 1980s.
If the Trojans are to win the services of Muhammad, they will have to top some of college basketball’s elite programs. Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, UCLA and UNLV will also be in the running come signing day.
With Muhammad scheduling an official visit to USC, it would appear the Trojans are among the star recruit’s top five schools, considering recruits are only allowed to schedule five official trips.