Dedmon declares for NBA Draft

first_imgThe “Dunk City” era at USC will now have to begin with a new starting center.On Wednesday, junior 7-footer Dewayne Dedmon announced that he is leaving USC to declare for the NBA draft.“It’s just my time to chase my dream and go to the NBA,” Dedmon said in a statement released by USCTrojans.com. “I had a great time at USC and it was a good experience. I had some ups and downs and learned a lot and believe it is best for me to turn professional at this time.”NBADraft.net projected Dedmon to go 47th overall in its 2014 mock draft but did not have him getting picked in the 2013 draft. The draft site DraftExpress.com does not have Dedmon being drafted in its 2013 or 2014 mocks.Dedmon played two years at USC after transferring from Antelope Valley College, averaging 7.1 points and 6.4 rebounds per game in 51 career games for the Trojans.Dedmon’s high-flying athleticism and ability to run the floor would have fit well with new head coach Andy Enfield’s frenetic “Dunk City” playing style. Enfield was hired on April 1, and Dedmon attended the first team meeting on April 3 and had reportedly been present at some offseason team workouts over the past few weeks.Junior center Omar Oraby is expected to take over the full-time starting role, as 6-foot-7 redshirt junior forward Ari Stewart and 6-foot-9 freshman forward Strahinja Gavrilovic should see increased playing time with Dedmon gone.Dedmon led the Trojans with 7.0 rebounds per game in 2012-13 to go with 6.7 points per contest. After struggling to score in the early part of the season, Dedmon had the best stretch of his career towards the beginning of USC’s conference slate, averaging 10.8 points, 8.4 rebounds and three blocks per game in a five-game stretch.He scored a career-high 18 points against Washington on March 6 but was suspended indefinitely on March 12 following a reported Saturday night incident in downtown Spokane between USC players and local bar patrons. Spokane police are still investigating the case.USC lost 69-66 to Utah in the opening round of the Pac-12 tournament two days after the suspensions were announced, with Dedmon and also-suspended senior center James Blasczyk not making the trip to the tournament. The Trojans finished the season with a 14-18 record.Dedmon averaged 2.1 blocks per game in 2012-13, good for second in the Pac-12 and the sixth-best single season total in USC history, and finishes ninth in program history with 85 career blocks. He also led the Trojans with 1.1 steals per game.Turning 24 in September, Dedmon is the oldest early entrant into the draft. Because of religious reasons, he did not play organized basketball until his senior year of high school in 2007-08 at Lancaster High in Lancaster, Calif.He played in 2009-2010 for Antelope Valley and transferred to USC the next year. He was proclaimed a surefire first-round pick by then-head coach Kevin O’Neill in 2011 but struggled to develop an offensive game and also missed the last 11 games of the 2011-12 season after injuring his left knee.last_img