By Michael Rand
These are tough times at USC. First the Reggie Bush mess. Now the O.J. Mayo fiasco. Plenty of people are piling on with questions about the past. We’d like to spin this thing forward and ask a very important question: how will this impact Percy Romeo Miller Jr., aka Lil’ Romeo (and now just Romeo, apparently)? The son of Master P. is set to be in incoming freshman with the USC hoops team this fall. Here’s a young man with a lot going for him. He’s 18. He has already released five solo CDs, not including a greatest hits compilation two years ago (a tad presumptuous, but whatever). He’s been on TV and has appeared in several motion pictures, including his 2003 work in “Honey,” sharing the screen with noted thespian Jessica Alba. But all around him in the athletic world: 1) illegal cash payments. Is this the kind of thing we want our naive young rappers exposed to? 2) Questions about his basketball talent, up to and including this mind-blowing fusion of Hip Hop News and NPR:
With the support of his father, entertainer Percy Miller aka Master P, the 18-year-old rapper has had the luxury of having direct contact within the industry, allowing him to have sold over one million albums at the age of 11 and star in various films. Developing from a father to coach relationship, the duo came in to contact with the 2008 McDonalds All-American Dunk winner and NBA prospect Demar DeRozan through P’s off-season club team.
Aligning themselves with the Compton-based basketball star, the Millers continued to strengthen their relationship as Romeo and DeRozan played in tournaments together. According to NPR, Master P phoned USC coach Tim Floyd.
“Percy Miller called me and said, ‘Would you like to have Romeo and DeMar,’ and I said ‘Why sure—I’d love to have them’,” Floyd told NPR.
With a possible deal brewing, public speculation grew due to the lopsided comparisons of DeMar’s skills to the mediocre talent of Romeo.
“I think Tim Floyd did what he had to do to acquire an All-American prospect, namely DeMar DeRozan and it cost him two scholarships,” High school basketball talent scout Bob Gibbons admitted to NPR.
So wait, the Lil’ Romeo thing was just for publicity and to get another better player? Oh, in the name of purity. Are you listening, USC athletic director Mike Garrett? Wash your hands of your mess and let this cherubic little rapping baller enter school with a clear conscience and a clean slate. Is it too much to ask that Romeo doesn’t have to someday come out with a follow-up disc titled Game Time Again: My Life On NCAA Probation with the USC Trojans. The Percy Romeo Miller Jr. Story. By Percy Romeo Miller Jr. (With Tim Floyd)? We don’t think so.