USC nabs top junior college recruit

On the first day of the early signing period, USC basketball coach Kevin O’Neill announced he received signed National Letters of Intent from two players, guard J.T. Terrell and forward Strahinja Gavrilovic.

The 6-foot-3 Terrell, who attends Peninsula Junior College in Washington, was the No. 1 junior college player in America by Swannys Roundball Review.

As a freshman, Terrell played at Wake Forest, averaging 11.1 points, which was second on the team and fifth among Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) freshman. He also shot 35.7 percent from beyond the arc.

“J.T. is a dynamic scorer that will be able to impact our team offensively next year,” O’Neill said in a statement. “He’s as talented a perimeter player as I’ve coached in college.”

Gavrilovic, a 6-foot-8 forward from Serbia, is now in the United States and will play his senior year at La Jolla Prep (Calif.). He played with the Serbian U-18 team at the European Championships, and his father, Zoran, played professionally in Europe for more than a decade.

“Strahinja is a very skilled forward who has the ability to use both hands and score inside and outside,” O’Neill said. “Once he adjusts to the college game, we expect him to have a key role in our future.”

Freshman guard Danilo Dragovic is also from Serbia.

The Trojans could still add other players in the fall or spring signing periods.

Next season, transfer forwards Ari Stewart and Eric Wise will also be eligible to play for USC, after practicing with the team this season.

Stewart, a teammate of Terrell’s at Wake Forest, averaged 8.5 points per game as a sophomore with the Demon Deacons.

Wise, who comes from UC Irvine, averaged 16.3 points and a team-high 8.1 rebounds per game as a junior.

The Trojans open the 2011-2012 season at home on Friday against CS Northridge at 8:00 p.m.