Coach Kevin O'Neill's praise may be just as good sacred "Madden Jinx", but if 7-foot junior college transfer DeWayne Dedmon can break that curse, USC fans will be elated. O'Neill has commended the likes of Bryce Jones (transfer) and Jio Fontan (torn ACL- out for season), but Dedmon is a different story. He is the candidate with the responsibility to replace all-league forward Nikola Vucevic and tough interior presence Alex Stepheson and is more than able to do so as Dedmon showed on USC's recent travels to Brazil. It took some time as he adjusted to the international style of play, but came through in the exhibition trip's final few games as a low-post scorer and dominating shot-blocker.
And if this is a sign of things to come, the NBA is in Dedmon's future. Not just his sheer size or length, but his toughness, athleticism and aptitude to limit good looks for opponents in the paint ; all of this comes while Dedmon has played basketball for a little less than 3 years at this point. He will improve with every practice and game and he continues to grow as well as he measured in a half-inch taller from a few months ago.