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USC basketball: Leonard Washington declared academically ineligible

September 28, 2009 |  9:51 am

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USC power forward Leonard Washington will be academically ineligible for the first semester, Coach Kevin O’Neill said, robbing the Trojans of another player from last season’s NCAA team.

Washington, a 6-foot-7 sophomore, averaged 9.8 points and 6.7 rebounds last season despite a high ankle sprain that sidelined him for a month. His freshman season involved some turmoil, as he was ejected from a game for punching Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin in the groin area.

Washington had difficulties before enrolling at USC. He committed to USC as a senior at Washington-Marion High School in Lake Charles, La., in 2007, but did not meet entrance requirements. He spent a year at Compton Thurgood Marshall School. He enrolled at USC in the fall of 2008.

The USC program has undergone an upheaval since losing to Michigan State in the second round of the 2009 NCAA tournament. Guard Daniel Hackett, forward Taj Gibson and forward DeMar DeRozan all declared early for the NBA draft. Coach Tim Floyd resigned in June over concerns about an NCAA investigation, which led to O’Neill being hired. The Trojans also had three recruits ask to be let out of their letters of intent, and lost two who had verbally committed. 

-- Chris Foster

Chris.foster@latimes.com

Twitter.com/cfosterlatimes

Photo: Leonard Washington won't be grabbing too many rebounds for USC this season. Credit: Gina Ferazzi /  Los Angeles Times.

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