Basketball: End-of-year capsules, No. 6

Over a two week period that began last week, we're going over the 10 scholarship basketball players who were on USC's 2010-2011 roster -- one by one, Monday-Friday -- and recap their accomplishments in the now-completed season, no matter how big or how small. We began with redshirt junior forward Aaron Fuller, redshirt sophomore Evan Smith and sophomore Curtis Washington, with the years in reference to what they will be come next season.

We fell behind some last week, so four, five and six have been coming your way Monday, starting with sophomore forward Garrett Jackson and sophomore guard Maurice Jones.

Now we have departed senior guard Marcus Simmons.

Simmons became a full-fledged defensive star in 2010-2011, marking the Trojans' opponents best players on a game-by-game basis and proving consistently able of holding them below their established averages. The Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year honor he earned proved that.

For that, he was a big part of USC's success.

His offense still left a lot to be desired, though, as the soft-spoken Simmons finished his USC career with a season average of 5.1 points per game. In his career at USC, Simmons averaged a remarkably low 2.7 shot attempts per game, a great example of his tentativeness on the offensive end.

Still, he did close out the season with some solid performances. He was great offensively against Arizona in the semifinals of the Pac-10 tournament -- his best game as a collegian without a doubt -- and also added seven points in the quarterfinal win over Cal and the first round loss to VCU in the NCAA tournament.

And so, regardless of his offensive inabilities, Simmons will be sorely missed at USC. At one point in the early-going of his sophomore year under Tim Floyd, Simmons was set on transferring, but eventually reconsidered and ended up as the only four-year scholarship player on last year's squad.

Replacing his defensive skills next season will be hard, although incoming recruit Byron Wesley will probably be asked to a lot of the same things Simmons did these past two seasons under coach Kevin O'Neill.

That's it for today. Coming up tomorrow is departed senior guard Donte Smith.