There are several ways to look at today's start to the early signing period for basketball. USC fans could look at is as the official start of the Kevin O'Neill era. Or, Trojans can look at it as the end of an era of Trojans basketball that went incredibly wrong at the end of Tim Floyd's reign.
No matter how you look at it, though, the day is certainly a big one for the basketball program. Even with the loss of Gary Franklin, the Trojans have bounced back to land a very nice class. With that in mind, let's take a look at the newest additions and see what some of the nation's top recruiting experts have to say.
Garrett Jackson - The Portland native is an intriguing forward whose best days are far ahead of him. With excellent size for the wing, the 6-foot-6 Jackson is an outstanding mid range shooter and smart player on the offensive end. While not a traditional high flyer, he's adept at using his athleticism where it's most needed and is quite clever off the ball. Because of his skill in the high post, he can also be deployed as a face up four man in smaller lineups.
Bryce Jones- Most talent evaluators would agree that Jones could be the biggest get for the Trojans staff. Off the radar until last summer, the 6-foot-5 Jones has the big time athleticism that schools covet in wings. More than just a high flyer, he's a skilled offensive player with deep range on his jumper and ball skills that allow him to create his own shot. He still needs to add strength to his lean frame and isn't yet a model of consistency, but he's the type of kid with the talent to be a multiple year starter and leading scorer.
Maurice Jones- The first question that everybody will want to see answered is just how big of a hindrance is his 5-foot-7 (and that might even be stretching it) size going to be on the college level. But, as Isaiah Thomas, Tajuan Porter and Jerome Randle have proved, the Pac-10 seems to be a place where undersized, offensive minded guards can not just succeed, but thrive. He's strong, tough, quick and can definitely fill it up.
Dwayne Polee- One of the premier athletes in the country, the 6-foot-7 Polee hasn't actually signed because his father is on the staff. At least in the eyes of this author, he's a guy who has been getting underrated a bit. Yes he needs to work on his skill, but he's a special athlete who is learning to play hard and will have the versatility to play inside and out. Defensively, he could be a huge weapon and he does solid work on the boards. With coaching and a mind open to being taught, he's got a vast amount of untapped potential.
Curtis Washington- Frankly, Washington is a bit of an unknown. Even in his home state. He's long, runs pretty well and should be able to develop into a shot blocking presence. He will need to get stronger and work on his low post skills before he can be counted on too much. It wouldn't be a surprise to see him spend a year as a redshirt.
What The Experts Are Saying
Rob Harrington, Prepstars.com/USA Today- "All things considered, I think USC should be very happy with their signing class. Losing Gary Franklin could have been a devastating blow, but the Trojans rebounded to get legitimate Pac-10 talent into the program. They aren't all the way there yet, but this is a good start. Polee is the one with the most upside and Jones looks like a future starter and potential leading scorer."
Dave Telep, Scout.com- "Big Bryce Jones fan here. I think he can be a significant scorer on the Pac-10 level. Polee's athleticism will be an asset and if they can get production out of 2 of the three other signees they'll be in business."
Evan Daniels, Scout.com- "USC needed to fill a lot of voids with their class and they certainly did that. Bryce Jones is obviously the biggest pick up because of his abilityto score. But Dwayne Polee and Curtis Washington are guys with potential and have chances to be good college players down the road."