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USC REPORT

Floyd turns to Wilkinson

January 03, 2007|Ben Bolch | Times Staff Writer

Keith Wilkinson is averaging only three points and has made only two of nine shots as a starter, but those aren't the numbers his coach is tracking.

In the three games since the sophomore forward moved into USC's starting lineup, the Trojans are averaging only 11.7 turnovers. Before that, they had averaged 19.8 turnovers a game.

"He just wants me to pass and facilitate and [avoid] turnovers because we've had so many turnovers and that's been killing us," Wilkinson said of Coach Tim Floyd.

Wilkinson, 6 feet 10 and 220 pounds, has been on a year-to-year scholarship since arriving at USC as a lightly recruited big man who wanted the opportunity to prove that he could play in the Pacific 10 Conference. Floyd said Tuesday that Wilkinson was making a case for keeping his scholarship next season.

He averaged 1.1 points in 8.7 minutes as a freshman and 1.2 points in 5.7 minutes the first 12 games this season before he started against then-No. 8 Wichita State.

Wilkinson made two late free throws to help USC upset the Shockers and had five rebounds in its win over then-No. 14 Washington. He is averaging 28.7 minutes a game as a starter and has committed four turnovers.

"It's great starting because you know you're going to get a chance to play and you can get really mentally prepared for your opponent, especially the guy you're guarding," Wilkinson said.

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Sophomore forward RouSean Cromwell might have some extra incentive to beat Oregon on Thursday at Eugene, Ore., after a Ducks fan duped him last year on the social network website Facebook.

The fan befriended Cromwell and gained access to a profile that listed Cromwell's phone number. When USC went to Eugene last January, fans had signs taunting Cromwell and listing his number.

Cromwell had not accompanied the Trojans because he was recovering from a broken foot, but his enjoyment of USC's 84-78 victory was disrupted by the constant ringing of his phone.

"I just saw a lot of calls that I didn't recognize, so I didn't bother answering," he said.

Cromwell eventually had to change his number.

"I should have known better than to do something like that," he said of disclosing his number. "I've wised up since last year."

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Floyd said former Lynwood High standout forward Davon Jefferson had to complete one more class before gaining his eligibility and would not join the Trojans until the 2007-08 season.

ben.bolch@latimes.com

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