Jeff Trepagnier gets one more opportunity to prove he's more than just an athlete.
With a 40-inch vertical leap and a penchant for highlight-reel slam dunks, the Trojans' senior guard oozes natural ability. But he now realizes it takes much more than that to be successful in the game of basketball.
A high jumper for USC's track team, Trepagnier was also the Trojans' second-leading scorer last season, averaging 15.9 points per game. As he enters his senior season, the 21-year-old knows he needs to continue making strides and polishing all areas of his game if he wants to continue playing at the next level.
"I have improved my ball-handling skills and jump shot the most," he says."That will be a real plus this year because I have a lot more confidence in those parts of my game."
Last season, Trepagnier made incredible leaps defensively, leading the Pac-10 in steals with 3.2 per game (he averaged 1.8 per game the season before). He shattered the school record of 63 steals in a season, recording 94. Trepagnier also led the team with 41 blocked shots and ranked third with 6.6 rebounds per game.
Coach Henry Bibby has been impressed with Trepagnier and expects to see him develop even further.
"Jeff Trepagnier is an example of someone who has improved each year he has been here," Bibby said. "When he came to USC, he was more of an athlete than a basketball player. But through a lot of hard work, he is rounding into a complete player. He's not quite there yet. He still needs to work on his ball-handling and becoming more consistent on his finishes, but he has made big strides. Last year, he proved to be one of our top outside shooters. We expect nothing but more improvement from Jeff this year."
-- Jimmy Traina