One of the more odd stories of the past few years of USC basketball involved freshman phenom Davon Jefferson and his curious decision to join O.J. Mayo as a one-and-done following the 2007-2008 season in Troy.
Mayo went third overall; Jefferson, a potential first-rounder who averaged 12 points and six rebounds as a freshman, went undrafted. Since then, he's spent two years with Maccabi Haifa in Israel, part of it alongside Jeremy Tyler, and a year with AVSEL Villeurbanne in France. Earlier this month, he signed another one-year deal with Russian league squad BC Triumph Lyubertsy -- not exactly what he envisioned when leaving school early and not exactly what many college basketball pundits envisioned for a national top-10 recruit out of high school.
But so it goes. Jefferson put up solid numbers last season in France, averaging 18.5 points and 7.4 rebounds in 34 games. He's also spent a couple summers in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas but has yet to latch on with a NBA team for any significant period of time.
While home from Europe for the summer, Jefferson underwent platelet-rich plasma therapy on an injured knee in Vancouver, Canada, which sidelined him for a few weeks. Now recovered, he made his organized-basketball debut last weekend at the Drew League in South L.A., near his hometown of Lynwood. The 6-8, 215-pound Jefferson looked as athletic as ever in Drew action as he led his team against a potent squad made up of Denver Nuggets' first-round selection Jordan Hamilton and two other former NBA players.
Asked afterward about his year with the Trojans, Jefferson was at first a bit defensive.
"It was cool, I enjoyed it," he said. "That's all I got to say about that."
Then, with a little bit of prodding, he opened up a bit.
"All positive memories," Jefferson said. "I still got a lot of people I talk to from USC, got a lot of friends, a lot of important people I met and got to know over the years. I enjoyed it, you know what I mean?
"One good year."
Here's a full one-on-one video conversation with the 24-year-old Jefferson: