De’Anthony Melton Leaving

Seems like this was always an inevitability, once USC decided to suspend the talented point guard for the complete season. Melton’s defensive skills and versatility, in particular, have been sorely missed by this year’s Trojan team. Just too much disappointment there for the youngster, who graciously tweeted earlier today he was withdrawing from school, “to focus on honing my strengths and improving upon my weaknesses for competition at the next level…I will always be a Trojan at heart. Fight On!”

USC conducted its own thorough internal investigation of the entire FBI sting involving alleged extra benefits which ensnared both assistant basketball coach Tony Bland, who was arrested and is also no longer with the Trojans, as well as Melton. The government is alleging a family friend of Melton’s received $5,000 in exchange for his promise to align Melton with an agent. Coach Andy Enfield has always publicly maintained that Melton did nothing wrong.

Melton’s family, as well as his attorney, waged both a strong public and private battle for his reinstatement, but to no avail. In mid-January, USC finally announced that Melton would not be playing any games for the Trojans this season. Previous to that and during USC’s investigation, the inside word was Melton seemed to have at least a decent chance to get back onto the court this season at Galen Center.

It will be interesting to see what other shoes drop as a result of this possible pay-for-play scenario involving the alleged (actually well-known) funneling of money by agents through shoe companies to help assure later representation. It has been reported that as many as three dozen other schools are thought to be potentially tied to the probe, with FBI wiretaps being a main evidentiary source of the purported wrongdoing.