Southern California’s hopes for a bounce-back season were struck a significant blow Saturday, as it was announced that junior guard Maurice Jones would be missing the Trojans’ 2012-13 campaign for academic reasons, the school said in a statement.
According to the release, though, he will return for senior season in 2013-14.
“Maurice Jones has been nothing short of magnificent for us for two years,” USC coach Kevin O’Neill said in the release. “Mo has been a great guy and great player and we want him to graduate from USC. I support him 100 percent in all that he does.”
Jones led the team in minutes, points, assists, and steals this past season, averaging 13.0 points, 3.5 assists, and 1.8 steals in just over 38 minutes per game.
The Trojans struggled in 2011-12, finishing with an overall record of 6-26, including 1-17 in the Pac-12.
Things had seemed to be looking up weeks ago, as guard Jio Fontan was cleared to play following an ACL tear last season, but the news of Jones’ ineligibility will put a damper on hopes of moving up in the Pac-12 standings.
USC will be facing a much-improved conference in the upcoming 2012-13 season.
UCLA, who struggled last season, brings in a highly rated recruiting class that includes Kyle Anderson and Shabazz Muhammad, along with Jordan Adams and Tony Parker.
Arizona, though having lost an underachieving Josiah Turner to transfer, also brings in a strong recruiting class, led by center Kaleb Tarczewski, Brandon Ashley, and Grant Jerrett.