August 23, 2013 by Max Meyer
By Max Meyer
In Coach Andy Enfield’s first offseason as USC coach, he’s been able to attract transfers left and right. Today, USC basketball’s Twitter account (@USC_Hoops) announced that he landed his fourth one, Virginia Commonwealth center D.J. Haley.
Haley is a seven-footer with one year of eligibility remaining at USC, and averaged 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds last year for the Rams. He averaged 3.2 points and 3.9 rebounds per game in the 2011-12 season.
Haley has followed the same path as fellow USC transfers Katin Reinhardt, Darion Clark and Pe’Shon Howard (who has yet to be cleared by the NCAA). However, he’s the only one thus far that is officially eligible to play immediately.
“[Becoming eligible immediately) occurred because I was able to finish my undergrad at VCU in three years instead of four," Haley said in a phone interview today. "USC offered the Master's program I needed while VCU did not. So that's why I was able to transfer without penalty."
Besides USC's Master's program in psychology (Haley graduated from VCU with a mechanical engineering degree), Haley said that USC's tradition of excellence and prestige were among the reasons why he decided to transfer there. After USC originally contacted him, Coach Enfield pitched the program and school itself to Haley.
"D.J. is an exceptional student-athlete as he graduated in three years from VCU," Enfield said in a press release by the school today. "We are excited to bring him back home to California to be part of the USC basketball program. We expect D.J. to be a valuable contributor on both sides of the ball for us this season."
Haley is originally from Palmdale, California, so his family will have an easier time traveling for his games in his senior season. He also provides the size that USC desperately needed after Dewayne Dedmon left for the NBA. Haley joins 7-foot-2 Omar Oraby as the two likely centers on USC's roster.
Haley described himself as a traditional big man who enjoys playing down low in the post and tries to emulate his game after Roy Hibbert. While he's a strong low-post defender that also excels at finishing around the rim, Haley hopes that Enfield can help improve his shooting. Haley's also extremely excited to be a part of USC basketball in his final season of college basketball.
"I've been talking with the players for the last couple of days just trying to get to know everyone," Haley said. "I'm looking forward to the season and looking forward to being a Trojan."