DeRozan puts on show in scrimmage

Wharton is a Times staff writer.

It wasn’t really a first test for freshman DeMar DeRozan, playing in the USC basketball team’s intrasquad scrimmage Sunday afternoon.

More of a pop quiz, given that the Trojans looked sloppy on defense after less than two weeks of practice.

“We won’t be seeing open paths to the basket against other teams,” Coach Tim Floyd said.

Still, DeRozan passed with flying colors, scoring 29 points before several hundred fans who watched the scrimmage at the Galen Center. His alley-oop dunks and spinning layups offered hope that USC can replace a large chunk of offense lost when O.J. Mayo and Davon Jefferson left school early.


“People have always labeled me as a scorer,” he said. “In high school and the camps, everywhere.”

On a day when juniors Daniel Hackett and Taj Gibson also scored in double figures, freshman Leonard Washington also impressed, scoring 20 points and looking capable of helping the team in other ways.

“Rebounding. A big presence on defense,” the 6-7, 230-pound forward said. “Somebody needs to do it and I feel like I can be that player.”

Washington got help from Alex Stepheson, who had 10 rebounds and four blocked shots. USC is still waiting for the NCAA to decide whether Stepheson can play immediately or must sit a year after transferring from North Carolina.

“I think he can make an impact on our league, not just our team,” Floyd said.

The Trojans face Azusa Pacific in an exhibition at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 3.