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Give Vucevic’s dad an assist in USC’s impressive win vs. Arizona


If Derrick Williams is the Pac-10’s best player, what does that make Nikola Vucevic?

The USC forward was the best player on the court in a 65-57 win over Arizona Thursday night, scoring 25 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in the Trojans’ biggest win since beating Texas back in December.

“Vucevic is a beast inside. He really raised his stock a lot and a lot of it had to do with me,” Williams said after scoring a season-low eight points.

The 6-8 Wildcats forward is noted for his scoring efficiency and heady play, both of which figure to make him a lottery pick. Well, that and his knack for helping Arizona to a surprising 23-5 record. Here’s what a scout told Seth Davis about Williams earlier this year:

He’s not a great athlete, but he’s physical, he has a high basketball IQ, and he’s a winner. He’s a little undersized, but he’s pretty effective and his numbers are crazy. I love his patience. He’s a four-three combo at the next level. What he’s really developed this year is his outside shot. I question his motor a little, but he’s definitely a lottery pick.

So again, what does that mean for Vucevic? Ask Williams.

“He’s top five in the league and a definite NBA guy. He averages 19 (points) and 10 (rebounds), that’s better than me. He should get more credit,” Williams told Inside USC afterward.

USC has far more talent on the roster than its 16-12 record would indicate. Vucevic is a prime example of that. He averages a double-double and can often be unstoppable inside. But it hasn’t always translated into wins.

The difference Thursday? Dad was watching his son play for the first time since he was 16. That’s how you motivate him, I guess.

“I hope he’s happy,” Vucevic said.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.