USC signs two, including guard rated No. 1 junior-college player
On Wednesdsay, the first day of the fall signing period, the USC men's basketball team received letters of intent for its 2012 signing class from two players, one of whom has been rated the top junior-college player in the nation.
Guard J.T. Terrell, a Wake Forest transfer who is playing at Peninsula College in Port Angeles, Wash., verbally committed to USC last month and is rated the No. 1 junior-college player in the country by Swanny's Roundball Review. He will have two seasons of eligibility remaining beginning in 2012-13.
At Wake Forest in 2010-11, the 6-foot-3, 175-pound Terrell played in all 32 games as a freshman and was second on the team in scoring (11.1 points per game). Terrell scored in double figures in 16 games, including three games of at least 20 points. His 32 points Nov. 11 against Iowa, a game in which he made seven of 11 three-point shots, were a season high for an Atlantic Coast Conference freshman.
Terrell will be reunited with another Wake Forest player who transferred to USC, Ari Stewart. Both will be eligible next season.
"He's an NBA talent," Peninsula Coach Lance Von Vogt said of Terrell. He added that Terrell scored 29 points in an exhibition game this weekend.
In a statement, USC Coach Kevin O'Neill said, "J.T. is a dynamic scorer that will be able to impact our team offensively next year. He comes in with the experience of playing in the ACC, which will allow him to have an immediate impact in the conference. He's an exceptional athlete that can score in a number of ways. He's as talented a perimeter player as I've coached in college."
Terrell left Wake Forest in September. He was arrested days before he withdrew and charged with driving while impaired, according to a statement his attorney issued through the school.
Terrell pleaded guilty and a Forsyth County (N.C.) District Court judge issued him a suspended 60-day jail sentence, which he will avoid if he stays within the guidelines of his unsupervised probation (i.e. stays out of trouble) for the next year, said Aaron Berlin, a Forsyth County assistant district attorney.
Von Vogt said Terrell has been a "model citizen" at Peninsula College.
Strahinja Gavrilovic, a 6-8, 220-pound forward also signed with USC. He came to the U.S. from Serbia to play his senior year at La Jolla Prep. He is said to have a strong inside-outside game and three-point range. He was a member of Serbia's under-18 team at the European Championships and his father, Zoran, played professionally in Europe for more than a decade.
"Strahinja is a very skilled forward who has the ability to use both hands and score inside and outside," O'Neill said. "He can really rebound outside of his area. He has a bright future and his best basketball is ahead of him. Once he adjusts to the college game, we expect him to have a key role in our future.
-- Baxter Holmes