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USC BASKETBALL FYI

Transfer Jio Fontan must wait to weigh in at the point for USC

The transfer from Fordham, one of nation's top point-guard recruits in 2008, won't be eligible to play for the Trojans until next season. By then he should have his little weight problem under control

January 16, 2010|By Baxter Holmes

Jio Fontan hasn't played much basketball in the last month and a half, so the Fordham University transfer is out of shape -- by about 15 pounds.

"I hear 'fat boy' all the time" from USC teammates, he said. "But it's cool, because once I get in shape, and I start taking my shirt off, it won't be a problem."

He'll have plenty of time for that. Fontan, a point guard, joined the Trojans on Monday and won't be eligible until after the first semester of the 2010-11 season.

He was last season's Atlantic 10 Conference rookie of the year at Fordham, where his team was 3-25 his freshman year.

Fontan announced he was leaving the school last month.

He considered Miami and Tennessee but said he saw himself playing out his remaining 2 1/2 seasons of eligibility at USC.

Trojans Coach Kevin O'Neill wants the 6-foot Fontan to get down to 175 pounds but said he is excited about what one of the top point-guard recruits in 2008 can bring the team.

"He's a really good point guard," O'Neill said. "He shoots the ball. He sees the floor. He handles. He knows the game."

O'Neill said he planned to start Fontan in the fall alongside incoming recruit Maurice Jones of Saginaw, Mich.

Carroll redux

This week, O'Neill talked about the loss of football coach Pete Carroll, who left USC to take the same position with the Seattle Seahawks.

"When we had guys here during recruiting visits, he was very active in it," O'Neill said. "He is going to be missed by everybody here. I mean, the guy is a one-in-a-million-type guy."

baxter.holmes@latimes.com

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