USC Trojans: Jio Fontan Eager to Return After Injury

By Evan Barnes

At Pac-12 Media Day, USC point guard Jio Fontan eliminated any doubt about playing tentative after missing last season with an ACL injury.

“I’m going to try to play a little harder than usual,” Fontan told reporters. “I think that the work I put in with my trainers and my strength coach put me in a position where I’m a lot more comfortable, not only with my knee but with my body and how I take care of myself.”

The Trojans’ senior captain can’t be blamed for rushing to get on the court. Without him, the team struggled to a 6-26 record and watched several players succumb to injury or transfer at season’s end.

With only 3 returning players on this year’s squad, his leadership, scoring and facilitating will help the new faces get acclimated and smooth the transition. He can create his own shot and if things get dicey on the court, head coach Kevin O’Neill knows he has someone who’ll know what to do.

O’Neill added that he feels Fontan is the “best point guard in the league.” That’s high praise and considering the conference has several talented guards, he may not be far off from that assessment.

Coming back from an ACL injury isn’t easy, especially for a player who relies on speed. But you have to admire Fontan’s determination and fearlessness, especially in knowing the team will go as far he goes.

“I don’t want to hold back at all,” he added, “I want to go out there and play as hard as I can.”

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