Star of the class: O.J. Mayo. After a much bally-hooed high school career that was played under the national microscope, the former five-star prospect moved from a small pond in Huntington, West Virginia to the bright lights of Los Angeles. He helped the Trojans return to the NCAA tournament and raised the program’s reputation on a national level. Mayo was a first-team All-Pac-10 performer after scoring 20.7 points per game. His next move is likely to the NBA.
Steal of the class: Davon Jefferson. His road to college took a little longer than he may have wanted, the athletic forward went to work when he finally made it. The former prep schooler’s crowning moment this season came in a 72-63 win over UCLA, where he scored 25 points and grabbed nine rebounds. With Mayo likely leaving for the NBA next season, don’t be surprised to see Jefferson have an all-conference type of year next year.
In hindsight: Mayo did what everyone thought he would do, score the ball, raise the profile of the team and make an impact right away. Jefferson should come into his own even more as a sophomore. Outside of Mayo, Jefferson and Angelo Johnson, the other two signees Marcus Simmons and Mamadou Diarra didn’t factor too much into the big picture mostly to injury. Johnson should factor more into the plans next season and beyond. He started 11 games and was third on the team in assists.
Very fair grade for a solid class. The future will look as bright as can be if O.J. and Davon return next season, but even if they depart, the rest of the class should contribute for many years to come. Marcus Simmons is a player that will continue to develop and become a Kyle Weaver type of player. Mamadou Diarra certainly has the skill-set to become an impact big man. Finally, Angelo stepped it up when needed and looks like a player that can at the very least provide quality minutes at the PG spot.