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USC basketball: Forward Ari Stewart transferring from Wake Forest

Lhikmenc Ari Stewart, a 6-foot-7 forward who played two seasons at Wake Forest, is transferring to USC, Trojans basketball Coach Kevin O’Neill announced Friday.

Stewart averaged 8.5 points and 4.9 rebounds per game last season as a sophomore. He started 16 games and scored a career-best 18 points and had seven rebounds in a 90-69 loss against Virginia Commonwealth, which eliminated USC from the NCAA tournament to start its run to the Final Four.

Under NCAA transfer rules, Stewart must sit out the 2011-12 season. He will be eligible in 2012-13 and have two seasons of eligibility remaining.

“He is going to have a great year of development during his redshirt year and is going to be a great contributor to our success once he becomes available," O’Neill said in a statement. "He has a tremendous upside as a player and I’m convinced he can raise us to another level.”

Stewart, from Marietta, Ga., averaged 7.3 points and 3.2 rebounds per game as a freshman. He chose Wake Forest over offers from Oregon, Virginia and Xavier as a high school senior.


Jim Larranaga hired as basketball coach at Miami

Malcolm Lee to forgo senior season, enter NBA draft

--Gary Klein

Photo: Ari Stewart, left, formerly of Wake Forest, takes a shot against Georgia Tech's Daniel Miller during an NCAA college basketball game in Winston-Salem, N.C. March 3, 2011. Credit: Lauren Carroll/AP

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