By Ben Goldstein
Former Wolverine standout Alex Stepheson ’06 joined the USC Trojans last month after transferring from North Carolina. The power forward announced after last season that he would leave UNC to be closer to his family because his father was ill. Stepheson considered several schools on the West Coast, particularly UCLA and Arizona State, before settling on USC.
Whether or not the 6’9" junior will see time on the court this season as a Trojan remains to be seen. Athletes who transfer schools ordinarily must sit out one season according to NCAA rules. However, Stepheson’s mother, Diane, said he will request a waiver to play this season because of the serious family reasons responsible for his move out west.
"I’m happy that Alex is closer to Harvard-Westlake," Head of Athletics Audrius Barzdukas said. "When he comes around here, his smile is as big as he is." Over the summer, Stepheson worked out at the school’s facilities, including the weight room in Taper Gym.
In 2005, Stepheson led the Wolverines to a CIF title, but his squad fell just short of winning the state championship. As a senior, he averaged 20.4 points and 17.8 rebounds per game.
Stepheson found himself in a much different role as a freshman at North Carolina. In his first season he played just over six minutes per game and averaged 2.1 points and 2.2 rebounds. He saw more playing time his sophomore year, averaging 14.5 minutes per game. He scored 4.3 points and grabbed 4.5 rebounds per game.
"He got some great coaching at UNC and played against the best players," Head Coach Greg Hilliard, his high school coach said.