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NCAA grants USC’s Drew Peterson immediate playing eligibility

USC guard Drew Peterson takes a shot.
USC guard Drew Peterson was granted immediate eligibility to play for the Trojans this season after his transfer waiver was approved by the NCAA.
(John McGillen / USC Athletics)

USC guard Drew Peterson has been granted immediate eligibility to play this season after the Rice transfer’s waiver was approved by the NCAA, USC announced Friday.

Peterson, a junior, averaged 11.1 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game for Rice last season while starting 31 of 32 games. The 6-foot-8, 185-pound guard led the Owls in rebounds, assists and steals and was the team’s third-best scorer.

“Drew has really impressed us as a staff with his ability to pick up a different system,” USC coach Andy Enfield said Friday during a virtual news conference. “He’s just a good all-around basketball player.”

With Peterson, the Trojans have a versatile player who can play every position but center. He adds length on defense, passing ability on offense and a three-point shot that’s improved since he joined USC this summer, Enfield said. Peterson shot 32.8% from three-point range for Rice last season, making 44 of 134 shots.

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“I’m happy we get to play with him this year because I think he’s going to help us a lot [to] go far in the tournament,” sophomore forward Max Agbonkpolo said Friday. “I think we can have a big tournament run this year and I’m just excited to play.”

Peterson is one of five transfers on USC’s roster this season, joining graduate transfers Tahj Eaddy, Chevez Goodwin and Isaiah White, and former Long Beach State forward Joshua Morgan. Morgan, a sophomore, won’t be suiting up for the Trojans until next season.

The Trojans begin the season Wednesday against Cal Baptist at the Galen Center. The start time has not been announced.

Linebacker has been a major cause for concern on USC’s defense, with injuries robbing an already unproven position of depth in the offseason.

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