USC Coach Kevin O'Neill, shown in 2009, says several young players… (Los Angeles Times )
Ballpark cost of USC's 10-day exhibition trip to Brazil is somewhere north of $150,000, with the price around $4,500 per person and nearly 35 in USC's travel party.
The school didn't pay anywhere near that amount, as spouses and tag-alongs paid their own way, but the trip designed to give USC's young squad experience with four games against Brazilian pro teams ended up costing the Trojans much more than that.
With the loss of their most valuable player, senior guard Jio Fontan, who will miss the season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee Tuesday, USC has to redesign the up-tempo offense it had planned for this season.
"The problem right now is we're going to have to completely start from scratch," USC Coach Kevin O'Neill said by phone Friday after his team's final game of the trip, a 76-64 win over Tijuca in Rio de Janeiro.
USC went 2-2 on the trip, but despite the loss of its top returning scorer, O'Neill said several young players showed promise, especially freshman guard Alexis Moore and sophomore center DeWayne Dedmon.
"DeWayne made huge strides," O'Neill said.
USC, which won 19 games and advanced to the NCAA tournament last season, begins its regular season Nov. 11 at home against Cal State Northridge.