USC Basketball: A Look Back

A look back at the Trojans' 2011-2012 basketball season and what to expect from the men of Troy in the future.

One Trojan fan suggested that a look back on the 2011-2012 Trojan men's basketball team wasn't necessary, that the year was painful enough.

And he isn't alone in feeling that way.

As the football team amassed winning record after winning record in the fall, the basketball team followed up with just the opposite this spring.

The men of Troy (6-26) lost more games this season than ever before. The previous record for losses in a season was 22 (10-22) in 1989. The team's scoring average was the lowest since the 1949 season. They were seeded 12th in the Pac-12 conference tournament.

USC lost to rival UCLA three times in a season, culminating in a 55-40 tournament loss at Staples Center. USC shot 28 percent from the field in that game.

Much of the Trojans' poor performance this year can be attributed to season ending injuries. Five of them. Jio Fontan (knee), Curtis Washington (labrum), Evan Smith (labrum), Aaron Fuller (labrum) and DeWayne Dedmon (knee) all went down prior to or early in the season. Only six scholarship players were used this year.

And there remains much to be excited about in 2012-2013. USC guard Byron Wesley ranks among the top Pac-12 freshmen in six different categories. Against Washington on March 1st, he scored a career-high 23 points.

Aside from Wesley's progression this season, another glimmer of hope can be found in the team's stagnant defense. In the regular season, USC held its opponents to a conference-leading 59.8 points per game.

Starting guard Maurice Jones won't be atop the country in minutes played next year like he was this season. Jones was one of nine players in the nation averaging 38.0 or more minutes per game.

Next season, USC could have a lethal backcourt with the combination of Jones, Wesley, freshman Alexis Moore and returning senior Fontan. And returning big men include Washington, Fuller and Dedmon who showed great potential before getting injured.

Looking at the Trojans' recruiting class, guard J.T. Terrell of Peninsula (Washington) Junior College is the top-ranked junior college player, according to Swannys Roundball Review. Adding to Troy's frontcourt is 6-8, 220-pound forward Strahinja Gavrilovic from La Jolla Prep (Calif.). Gavrilovic came to the U.S. from Serbia in the fall.

On moving forward, head coach Kevin O'Neill said:

"What we have to do as a group is get a bad taste out of our mouth from this year, which we will. Get some guys healthy. Get back to work after the Final Four, and make sure that we have a great team next year which we plan on doing."

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