LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kevin O’Neill took over Southern California’s troubled basketball program on Monday, promising to try to win next season under the weight of an NCAA investigation and the departures of three starters and several recruits.

“There’s nothing here that says you can’t win and that’s why I like this job,” he said after being introduced by athletic director Mike Garrett at a campus news conference.

The 52-year-old coach returns to the college ranks after spending last season as an assistant with the Memphis Grizzles.

“My attraction to the job was simple, it’s USC, ” he said. “They major in graduation and championships here, two pretty good things.”

The titles, however, belong to the powerhouse football program and to sports other than basketball, which was on the upswing until Tim Floyd resigned suddenly on June 9 amid allegations that he paid to have O.J. Mayo play for him at USC.

During Floyd’s four seasons, the Trojans reached the NCAA tournament the last three seasons and won the school’s first Pac-10 tournament title.

O’Neill said he has no qualms about taking over during tough times. He said Garrett told him everything he needs to know about the past.

“I really didn’t care what had happened and we didn’t get into detail because that’s not my place. I was taking the job no matter what. I wanted the job from the beginning because it’s USC,” he said.

“The fact that there’s an investigation going on never changed my view of the university at all. We’re going to deal with whatever comes out of this and be positive and move forward.”

But O’Neill would be affected by any fallout.

If the NCAA can prove Floyd paid to have Mayo delivered to USC, that would be considered a major violation. The Trojans could be forced to forfeit victories, and they could face recruiting restrictions and lose scholarships.

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