Senior Day for USC basketball this season was rather telling of the program's current state. Introduced were walk-on guard Eric Strangis and two team managers. That was it. Yeah, by and large, the expectation was as follows: everyone is coming back for the 2012-2013 season.
But so far this offseason, there has certainly been some roster turnover. Here's a brief timeline.
March 14: Sophomore forward Garrett Jackson is granted his release and permission to transfer.
March 21: Freshman guard Alexis Moore and sophomore forward Curtis Washington are also granted their releases.
March 21: Sophomore forward Evan Smith is set to leave the team as the result of a medical retirement, per reports.
In total, that's three players -- all underclassmen and all players recruited by current head coach Kevin O'Neill -- that are transferring. Most fans, understandably weren't exactly elated. But frankly, if USC plans to sign anyone come the spring signing period on April 11, roster shuffling of some form was necessary. Losing Moore, who started 18 of the Trojans' 32 games this season, was a bit of a disappointment, sure. But it had to free up some scholarships eventually. Washington has had injury concerns and Jackson has been a bit of a tweener by Pac-12 standards. So yes, they're both out.
Here's the deal. USC was at the scholarship max last season, so for any player they signed as part of its 2012 recruiting class, it had to drop one scholarship off its roster from 2011-2012. And it had already signed two -- forward Strahinja Gavrilovic and guard J.T. Terrell -- during the early signing period last November. Subsequently, losing two frees up spots for Gavrilovic and Terrell.
You probably could go ahead and just call this oversigning.
Moreover, O'Neill is still anticipating on bringing in a class of more than two. Taft (Woodland Hills, Calif.) guard Brendyn Taylor committed last month. And after four departures, they probably figure to add another player. They had been pursuing Shabazz Muhammad before he announced his final three of Duke, Kentucky and UCLA last week following the McDonald's All-American Game in Chicago.
USC has, by and large, hoped to bring in a class of at least three, and by the look of things, it'll end up with about four. So yeah, it had to lose guys from last season's six-win team. Smith and Washington's departures were somewhat expected. Jackson's made sense, too. Moore, admittedly, was a bit more surprisingly.
But after losing 26 games, it needs an influx of talent if it hopes to get back in the conference race next season. In short, reshuffling on some level was a necessity.