NCAA grants Oraby eligibility

The USC men’s basketball team received a big boost right before the season opener against Coppin State, when 7-foot-two-inch transfer center Omar Oraby was granted a hardship waiver by the NCAA.

Hardship waivers are requested when a player wishes to override the standard one-year waiting period for transfers due to mitigating personal circumstances. USC applied on Oraby’s behalf in September when he declared his intent to attend the school.

Had the waiver been denied, Oraby would have been required to sit out this season and begin playing in 2013 with two years of eligibility remaining.

Oraby transferred from Rice University in the fall and averaged 6 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in under 12 minutes per game when he played for the Owls. He has been practicing with the Trojans for the past month while waiting for the NCAA’s ruling.

He is the third 7-foot player on the roster this year and measures up with junior forward Dewayne Dedmon and senior center James Blasczyk.

The Trojans play against Coppin State at the Galen Center at 8 p.m. Friday.