Trojans Nab Four Prep Standouts

Nov. 17, 2005

Prep standouts Kasey Cunningham from Albuquerque, N.M, Kevin Galloway from Sacramento, Calif., Taj Gibson from Tarzana, Calif. and Dwight Lewis from Katy, Tex. all signed national letters of intent with USC, announced Trojan men's basketball coach Tim Floyd on Thursday (Nov. 17).

'We are very pleased with the signing of these four young men,' said coach Floyd. 'We know we have a ways to go here at USC, but with these student-athletes we feel we took a big step forward today.'

Cunningham, a 6-7 forward, is widely regarded as the top high school player in the state of New Mexico. He averaged 17.9 points and 13.6 rebounds per game last season as a junior and 16 points and 10 rebounds a game as a sophomore for Cibola High. Cunningham is known as a very athletic forward, who excels on the defensive end of the court. Last year he recorded 28 rebounds in one game and 26 in another. He was named to the 2005-06 Long Beach Press-Telegram Best in the West second team.

Cunningham is the son of Paul Cunningham, who played collegiately at UTEP (1980-84), where coach Floyd was then an assistant coach on Don Haskins' staff.

'Kasey has a chance to be our best rebounder as a freshman,' said Floyd. 'He was the hardest working player we saw all summer. His toughness and athleticism make him a great rebounder and he has a knack for scoring.'

Galloway, a 6-6 swingman, enters his senior season rated as one of the top guards in the state, coming off his junior season in which he was named the Sacramento Bee Player of the Year. Galloway is considered an excellent passer and scored 11.9 points and dished out a state-high 10.7 assists a game last season at Charter High School in Sacramento. He also pulled down 10 rebounds a game in leading the Dragons to the Division III section title. Galloway is a 2005-06 Long Beach Press-Telegram Best in the West first team selection.

'Kevin is the most versatile player we have signed,' said Floyd. 'He has the ability to play four positions. He has very good size for a guard and is a great passer. I really like that his athleticism allows him to guard anyone on the floor. We are fortunate to have him with us and look forward to coaching him.'

Gibson, a 6-9 forward, averaged 21 points, 15 rebounds and nearly 10 rebounds a game as a junior at Stoneridge Prep in Tarzana. Gibson grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y. and attended Telecommunications High in Brooklyn as a freshman before transferring. He is ranked No. 28 nationally and as the eighth-best power forward by HoopMasters.com, and is ranked as the 32nd-best senior prospect in the country by Rivals.com.

'We are glad to have Taj join us at USC,' said Floyd. 'He will give us an immediate impact player who can score in the post and has the athletic ability to step outside. Rebounders who can score are hard to find. We expect him to have a great career at USC and make his mark in the Pac-10.'

Lewis, a 6-5 swingman from Metairie, La., averaged 27.5 points and 9.7 rebounds a game last season as a junior at Archbishop Rummel High earning a fourth team Parade All-American selection, one of only six juniors on the team. Due to the hurricane damage in Louisiana earlier this year, Lewis is attending James Taylor High in Katy, Tex. He was heavily recruited by a number of traditional basketball powers, prior to choosing USC.

'Dwight is an outstanding scorer,' said Floyd. 'In addition to his ability to shoot, he can create his own shot and passes the ball extremely well. His high school coach really did a nice job with him.'

The Trojans open up the 2005-06 men's basketball season on Sunday (Nov. 20) at 2 p.m. vs. Cal State Northridge at the Sports Arena. The team will then play in the Great Alaska Shootout in Anchorage, Alaska (Nov. 23-26), with the tournament opener on Nov. 23 vs. Oral Roberts at 8:30 p.m. (PT) to be carried live on ESPN2.

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