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USC basketball: UC Irvine forward Eric Wise will transfer to USC

May 27, 2011 |  2:52 pm

Getprev2 About two weeks ago, Eric Wise's phone rang. A USC men's basketball coach was on the other end. The UC Irvine junior forward was surprised but happy. Coming out of Riverside King High School, he'd been recruited by few Division I schools, and those were in the Big West Conference. Now USC wanted him. 

On Friday afternoon, Wise signed the paperwork to make his transfer to USC official. He will sit out the following season and have one season of eligibility remaining in 2012-13.

"It's USC; it's everybody's dream to go to a school like that," Wise said by phone.

In April, Wise, who started 62 of 63 games in which he played during his first two seasons with the Anteaters, announced that he wanted to transfer from UC Irvine to finish his college career.

"I thought it was just time to move on, pretty much," Wise said then, according to the Daily Pilot. "I don't want to make it seem like Irvine was a bad place. I guess I thought [transferring] will be best for me playing basketball after [college]."

Listed at 6-foot-6 and 240 pounds (though he said he's closer to 6-5), Wise averaged 16.3 points and a team-high 8.1 rebounds last season for the Anteaters, who finished 13-19 overall, 6-10 in league play. 

As a sophomore, he became the second player in Anteaters history -- and first in 37 years -- to lead the team in scoring (16), rebounding (6.5) and assists (3.0). He missed 12 games this last season, largely because of leg injuries. 

Wise called himself "crafty" because he's able to play well in the paint despite his lack of size. 

His rebounding prowess should come as no surprise, though. It's in his blood. 

His father is Francois Wise, who is Long Beach State's career leader in rebounds, grabbing 896 from 1976-80.

His uncle, Willie Wise, known as "Wondrous Willie," played in the American Basketball Assn. and NBA in the '70s, posting a career average of 19 points and 8.1 rebounds.

And his cousin is Jaha Wilson, who played at USC in the mid-'90s and became known for his rebounding abilities despite standing just 6-5 too. 

Like incoming transfer Ari Stewart, who joined the Trojans from Wake Forest and also will be eligible in 2012-13, Wise will not be able to travel with USC to Brazil in August, when the Trojans will play three exhibition games against Brazilian professional teams.


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-- Baxter Holmes 

Photo: Former UC Irvine basketball player Eric Wise goes up for the shot with Long Beach State's Larry Anderson coming up quickly from behind at Honda Center on March 11, 2011. Credit: Alex Gallardo / AP