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Danilo Dragovic to provide walk-on relief for USC Trojans

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In the wake of a season-ending injury to senior guard Jio Fontan, the latest blow to an already shallow depth chart, the USC Trojans men's basketball team has found a bit of relief in the form of Danilo Dragovic.

Dragovic, the younger brother of former UCLA Bruins sharp-shooter Nikola Dragovic, will join the Trojans' squad this season as a walk-on and, at the very least, provide coach Kevin O'Neill with another able body.

While not as distinguished as his older sibling, the 6-foot-5 guard does possess some of his brother's touch from the outside (more brother Nikola’s 2008-09 form than his 2009-10 form) and gives USC legitimate size at the wing positions.

It is somewhat unclear as to what exactly Dragovic will contribute to the Trojans next season. He was unable to play for North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake last year after it was ruled that his varsity eligibility has been exhausted.

Still, his addition to an already shallow roster that has been losing able bodies left and right this summer is a welcomed one.

Injuries to forward-center Curtis Washington and now Fontan have compounded USC's depth concerns for the next season.

Fontan, a senior, was expected to be the Trojans primary scorer and a floor leader, but his injury now forces O'Neill to rely on a group of wings that are equally young as they are inexperienced.

In the young category, O'Neill has freshmen Alexis Moore, Byron Wesley and now Dragovic at his disposal.

Wesley, a 6-foot-2 combo guard out of Long Beach, is expected to see increased time in Fontan's absence, but he will undoubtedly have to deal with the pressures and growing pains that come with being a true freshman playing in the Pac-12 Conference.

The same goes for Wesley and, perhaps, even more so Dragovic.

Beyond those three, junior college transfer Greg Allen and walk-on senior Eric Strangis represent the Trojans' last line of defense.

In other words, USC basketball could be in for a long and arduous journey in 2011-12.

© 2011 Neal J. Leitereg -- All Rights Reserved




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