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USC BASKETBALL FYI

USC's Leonard Washington held out for academics

Tim Floyd says he will determine today whether the forward will play in the Pac-10 tournament.

March 11, 2009|Chris Foster

USC forward Leonard Washington was held out of practice Tuesday because of an academic issue.

Washington missed a tutorial session and Coach Tim Floyd said he would determine today whether Washington would play against California in the Pacific 10 Conference tournament Thursday.

"I have a policy -- no class, no practice; no tutorial, no practice," Floyd said. "We'll check it out tomorrow and see what he wants, but regardless of the situation, guys need to continue to be student-athletes."

Washington was also punished with extra running last week for skipping a class.

"This is the second stage," Floyd said.

Washington averages 6.5 points, and his play has improved considerably in the last two weeks. He was slowed through much of conference play because of an ankle injury but had 10 points in 10 minutes off the bench against Oregon State on Saturday.

Floyd wouldn't speculate whether Washington would be available Thursday, saying, "He knows what he needs to do. I've said all I can say."

DeRozan's high marks

Freshman DeMar DeRozan has continued to develop at a pace that has him projected as a first-round pick in the NBA draft if he leaves USC this spring.

DeRozan has declined to talk about that possibility, but the mock drafts have him going between 10th and 21st overall.

The bounce in DeRozan's game has been in the half-court offense.

His improvement is not so much in the numbers, though he is shooting 72% the last two games. The change in his game is finding the spots were he can score rather than barreling toward the basket.

"He's learning to move to the ball and when to move. His decision making is better," Floyd said.

DeRozan scored 14 points in the second half against Oregon State on Saturday, only two of which were in transition.

"I have had to learn when to go [to the basket] and when not to go," DeRozan said. "In high school, you can go any time. In college, the defenses are so good you have to be patient and run the plays. I'm proud of myself."

Lewis slumps

Guard Dwight Lewis, the Trojans' second-leading scorer at 14.2 points per game, has made only 16 of his last 54 shots. He has shot above 40% only once in the last seven games.

"You are going to have those games," he said. " . . . I just look for other ways to help the team."

--

chris.foster@latimes.com

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