LOS ANGELES (AP) -The NCAA has denied Alex Stepheson's waiver petition for immediate eligibility to compete at 19th-ranked Southern California after transferring from No. 1 North Carolina.
The forward won't be eligible at USC this season, the NCAA ruled Wednesday.
``Alex would have really helped our team this season and would have had a big impact in the Pac-10, but we will have to move beyond this now,'' USC coach Tim Floyd said in a statement. ``We were disappointed to learn about this decision, but I respect the NCAA process.''
USC said it will consult with Stepheson and his family on the next course of action.
Stepheson played the last two seasons at North Carolina, where he appeared in 75 games, making 52.7 percent of his shots. Last season, he averaged 4.3 points and 4.5 rebounds while leading the Tar Heels in rebounds six times.
Stepheson had been practicing with the Trojans, but he didn't travel with them to the Puerto Rico Tip-Off that begins Thursday while awaiting the NCAA decision.
oyd said. ``I'm confident he'll work even harder now and prepare himself for next season.''

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