Forward Aaron Fuller made the decision to transfer to USC from Iowa last month after a successful 2009-2010 campaign that saw him earn Honorable Mention All-Big Ten honors. The 6-foot-6, 230-pound Fuller is a bit undersized as a forward but compensates above-average scoring ability and a knack for rebounding. He describes his play as "very versatile."
A Mesa, Ariz. native, Fuller narrowed his choices down to USC and Arizona State after first requesting a release from Iowa in early April. Ahead on credits, he will enroll at USC in August for the fall semester but must sit out but the 2010-2011 season due to NCAA transfer rules.
Fuller makes for the biggest get of a somewhat tumultuous offseason for USC coach Kevin O'Neill, who has seen three players (Leonard Washington, Davis Rozitis and Percy 'Romeo' Miller) leave the program for a variety of reasons but has also signed Fuller and junior college transfer DeWayne Dedmon. Fuller answered some questions by phone Wednesday as he prepares to play with a number of USC teammates later this month in the Nike Say No Classic.
Question: O'Neill tells me you two first met in an interesting circumstance. I guess he was in Chicago in April and heard you had your release granted from Iowa and he decided — on a whim — to make the four or five hour drive out to Iowa City and meet you at a diner and just talk basketball. Was that a big reason you ended up deciding on USC?
Answer: Definitely. You could tell he was really serious about me playing there and when he got to Iowa City, we really saw eye to eye and had the same visions on how I could expand my game and all that. I know he is the guy who is going to help me do that, and we had a really great conversation. He kinda sold me right away.
Q: Step back to before you decided on USC. At Iowa, you were a very productive player (12.3 points, 7.6 rebounds in conference play in your sophomore season) but you choose to transfer, sit out a year, and move over to a different school. Why did you want to transfer?
A: I just felt like I wanted to be closer to home. These past few seasons when I was out there haven't been the greatest for me — we had two losing seasons. I just felt like I needed a change and a place I could expand my game a little bit more, and that's why I made the decision to transfer.
Q: What do you see from this current USC roster? Obviously you won't be able to suit up with them in game situations for over a year, but what stands out on this team that you can see yourself working well with?
A: They definitely have a lot of solid big guys. I really like that they have a lot of big guys down there that can kinda take care of the rebounding down there and allso I can work on different aspects like my outside game that I wasn't able to back at Iowa.
Q: Besides O'Neill, what sold you on USC? Everyone has their own reasons and it's particularly interesting to hear them from transfers and athletes that decide to come midway through their college careers.
A: You know, they're in the Pac-10. Yes, I wanted to be closer to home, but I definitely wanted to still play at a high level. The whole coaching staff is just top-notch and everything just went great on my visit. I definitely wanted to be a part of it — the whole school. The players are all great guys too. The whole thing just really sold me.
Q: I assume you've heard that the impending NCAA sanctions that will affect the athletic programs at USC are expected to be announced sometime soon, reportedly even this Friday. How much of a factor in your decision to come to USC was the possibility that something could happen to the basketball program that would harm its success?
A: Yeah. It was a little concern but the positives just outweigh the negatives by so much. It didn't affect my decision at all, really.