[Updated] USC basketball: Trojans receive verbal commitment from junior college shooting guard
Four days after freshman guard Bryce Jones told USC coaches he was leaving the program because of a lack of playing time, the Trojans appear to have found his replacement.
On Thursday morning USC received a verbal commitment from Navarro College (Corsicana, Texas) shooting guard Greg Allen, a former star at Eureka High School in northern California, giving USC a three-point threat next season -- and an experienced one at that.
[Update 4:46 p.m.: This post has been updated to include quotes from Allen. Also, a previous version of this post incorrectly stated the season in which he will be joining the team, which is the upcoming 2011-12 season.]
Through 18 games this season, the 6-foot-3, 175-pound Allen is averaging 11.9 points while shooting 40.2% (43 for 107) from three-point range and 84.8% (39 for 46) from the free-throw line.
He averaged 25.1 points his senior season at Eureka, shooting 36.6% from three-point range (56 for 153).
Allen said the timing of his commit had nothing do to with the recent departure of Jones.
"I was going to commit even before that happened," Allen said by phone. "That wasn't even a part of it. I just want an opportunity, but that shows that there's an even greater opportunity now."
Allen is noted as a strong three-point shooter, much like current USC senior guard Donte Smith, who is shooting 39.2% (40 for 102) from distance this season. He's also noted for his defense.
"I love to shoot the ball," he said. "I think I can shoot with the best of them. If I'm open, I feel I can drill it anytime. I love playing defense, too. That's probably one of my favorite things to do. I'm an all-around type player."
Allen played the point guard position in high school but has been playing shooting guard at Navarro, where he has played for the last two seasons. He said USC coaches have been telling him that they'd like him to be a spark-plug for the Trojans much like Smith is now.
"They're looking at me playing about 30 minutes, coming off screens, knocking down shots, which I love to do," Allen said.
Allen joins three other members of USC's 2011 recruiting class:
-Rancho Cucamonga Etiwanda’s Byron Wesley, a 6-foot-5, 210-pound guard/small forward, who verbally committed to USC in June
-Long Beach Poly’s Alexis Moore, a 6-foot-1, 180-pound point guard, who also verbally committed to USC in June.
-Lee College's James Blasczyk, a 7-foot-1, 260-pound center who spent two seasons at Texas A&M and will have two seasons of eligibility remaining, beginning immediately in 2011-12.
-Antelope Valley College's Dewayne Dedmon, a 7-foot, 225-pound junior college center who will have three seasons of eligibility remaining.
Allen will have two seasons of eligibility remaining once he arrives at USC.
USC made Allen an offer two weeks ago, and his decision came down to the Trojans and Boston College. He said he was also being recruited by Bradley, Nevada Las Vegas and Creighton, a team that Allen originally signed with out of Eureka but left shortly thereafter for unclear reasons.
"I thought it was a good opportunity, but I didn't feel comfortable going there," Allen said. "I didn't really know the coaches. I made the decision too quick. I felt I needed junior college just to grow up as a person, physically and mentally."
Allen said USC had been recruiting him out of high school, and that he has known USC associate head coach Bob Cantu since his senior year at Eureka. He said he was first contacted about coming to USC in September. He said he committed because, he said, "I think I have the biggest opportunity there to show my talents and help impact the team right away."
Allen added that being back in California is enticing, too, as his family can now see his games.
USC has one more available scholarship to recruit with this season. If the Trojans sign a player, they will have used all of their 13 scholarships allowed for next season.
-- Baxter Holmes