About a week after Southern California was knocked out of the NCAA Tournament, freshman forward DeMar DeRozan said he decided to ditch college and declare for the NBA Draft.
"It was tough because I enjoyed college. I learned a lot in college," he said. "You didn’t have to worry about nothing. You still were a kid."
Apparently, some kids get paid to play at USC, and this is not a story about Reggie Bush.
DeRozan was not staying in school, not even if Tim Floyd were to hand him an envelope stuffed with cash. Not that anyone is claiming that happened, at least with DeRozan.
Floyd suddenly resigned as USC coach in early June after allegations that he gave at least $1,000 in cash to a man who helped deliver former star O.J. Mayo to the Trojans. Floyd left disgraced, and DeRozan said he was in disbelief.
"It was shocking," DeRozan said at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. "Coach Floyd is a great coach, and the program was on the rise with him there. It’s unfortunate the things that happened."
It has been nothing but bad news for USC basketball lately. After DeRozan, Taj Gibson and Daniel Hackett announced intentions to turn pro, the Floyd scandal broke.
It appears DeRozan’s one-and-done move was the right one, and he confirmed as much. "I don’t regret anything," he said.
DeRozan, drafted ninth overall by the Toronto Raptors, has been one of the most impressive players in the summer league. He scored 20 points Wednesday and made the winning layup to lift the Raptors to a 74-73 victory over the Phoenix Suns at Cox Pavilion.
• NBA CALL-UP — Floyd is in exile for now, but don’t count him out. He might resurface in the NBA someday.
After all, Kelvin Sampson is an assistant with the Milwaukee Bucks. Sampson was on the Bucks’ bench Wednesday, and it was shocking that he wasn’t holding a cell phone.
• PRIDE OF THE CELTICS — Few NBA stars show up to watch summer league games, but the Boston Celtics’ Paul Pierce made an appearance and watched from the front row.
Pierce left after one game, and let’s hope he wasn’t headed to join former teammate Antoine Walker at the blackjack tables.
• BIG-NAME GUESTS — It’s common to see boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. at the summer league. There were rumors that Michael Douglas and Ron Howard were present, and it seemed highly unlikely that two movie stars would take time off to see NBA wannabes. But the rumors were confirmed, if not entirely true.
Ron Howard is a rookie guard for the New York Knicks. Michael Douglas is the athletic trainer for the D-League select team — so don’t even ask about Catherine Zeta-Jones.
• UNHAPPY CAMPER? — Lorrenzo Wade, a former San Diego State and Cheyenne High School star, did not get off the bench in the Bucks’ 87-72 victory over the Chicago Bulls.
"In all honestly, I feel like I can contribute out there and should be playing," Wade said. "But what do you do? It’s not my basketball team. You just smile and remain positive."
Wade was not smiling when he said it.
COMPILED BY MATT YOUMANS LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL