USC Bans Itself Over OJ Mayo

January 4, 2010

USC coach Kevin O’Neill assembled his players early Sunday morning to deliver the news that the Trojans’ eight-game win streak and their newfound status as a Pac-10 title contender won’t matter for an NCAA tournament berth.

The school had decided to self-impose penalties related to former player O.J. Mayo and his relationship with agent/runner/booster Rodney Guillory. But vacated wins from two seasons ago and a scholarship being taken away weren’t tangible to this crew. Having their season end March 7 was all the players heard.

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O.J. Mayo

Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

O.J. Mayo’s involvement with Rodney Guillory led to USC’s self-imposed sanctions, including a postseason ban.

"My heart sank for a second," said senior point guard Mike Gerrity, a two-time Division I transfer from Pepperdine to Charlotte to USC. "I was frustrated. That’s what you play college basketball for — to play in March."

The Trojans haven’t lost since Gerrity became eligible. Since beating Sacramento State and Idaho State before he was cleared to play Dec. 18, they’ve won six games with him as their lead guard. They beat Tennessee by 22 points, won the Diamond Head Classic with wins over Western Michigan, Saint Mary’s and UNLV, then earned a Pac-10 season-opening home sweep of Arizona and Arizona State. The Trojans are on a roll heading into a three-game road swing to Stanford, Cal and UCLA in the next 12 days.

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