While USC lost its smallest player on Wednesday as 5-7 guard Maurice Jones tweeted his decision to transfer, the Trojans picked up some more size in the form of 7-2 Rice transfer Omar Oraby.
Oraby, a native of Cairo, Egypt, averaged 6.0 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.6 blocked shots per game last season with his 54 blocks setting a school record.
His departure raised the number of players to leave the Rice program this off-season to five, while his arrival in Los Angeles means that Kevin O’Neill now has three 7-footers in the program.
Senior James Blasczyk and redshirt junior Dewayne Dedmon will have someone else to battle in practice, and the school plans to file a hardship waiver on Oraby’s behalf in hopes of making him eligible for games immediately.
If the NCAA denies the request Oraby will have two seasons of eligibility remaining beginning with the 2013-14 campaign, a year in which they’ll need his size and experience.
Blasczyk and Tennessee transfer Renaldo Woolridge will be out of eligibility (wings Aaron Fuller and Eric Wise will be as well), meaning that USC will need some size inside in 2013-14.
USC has 6-10 forward Nikola Jovanovic and 6-6 wing Roschon Prince on board next season, and those additions will help the numbers in the front court as well.