Friday, March 23, 2007

[Miller] USC loaded for another title run - ESPN
...don't feel too bad for [John David Booty]. He could be back in his native state next January, only this time with his helmet on. The national championship game returns to the New Orleans Superdome in January 2008, and lots of folks figure the Trojans will play for a third title since 2003, their first two a split of the AP title and the BCS crown.

"It would be special," Booty said carefully...

...Moreover, Booty is among a small handful of early favorites for the Heisman Trophy, an award that USC has taken back to Heritage Hall three times since 2002.

For college football fans not draped in Cardinal & Gold, this surely feels a bit like "Groundhog Day."...
[Plaschke] Garrett gives USC what it needs - LA Times
...Neither team was in great shape when Garrett became athletic director 14 years ago. The football team had just lost to Fresno State in the Freedom Bowl. The basketball team was playing in front of a handful of fans in the aging Sports Arena.

He rushed into the situation like he was running off tackle, knocking things over, drawing blood, collecting bruises.

He would put down the newspaper filled with critical columns, and hang up the phone ringing with angry alumni, and give his staff a speech that it still remembers today.

"It may not feel like it, but we are winning," he preached.

Nobody seems to want to say it, so I will.

Today, it feels like Mike Garrett has won...
Next O.J. era at USC could be short - Philly Inquirer
..."He said he wanted to play for a coach that coached in the NBA, wanted to have a transition city to the NBA, wanted to be in a major city so he could learn to live on his own in a city, that he wanted to be able to leave his name on a program," Floyd said. "He didn't want to be the next great player at Duke or Carolina or Kentucky or Ohio State."

Now, depending on your point of view and how much you believe in the NCAA credo of the "student-athlete," this is all completely insane. Or just a sign of the times.

"I never thought I'd see that," Floyd said. "We were surprised . . . I told my wife, 'This will never happen, he's 18, he'll change his mind tomorrow.' But he never did."...

Also, Floyd defends prized recruit Mayo - LA Times
On Verge Of A New Trojan Era - Hartford Courant
[Wojnarowski] Worth the trouble? - Yahoo Sports
Who knows USC? No one but No. 1 - Inland Empire Press-Enterprise
...North Carolina point guard Ty Lawson, the nation's best high school player at that position a year ago, had the answer.

He'd just been on the phone with his best friend from his days growing up in Maryland -- Kevin Durant, the likely Division I player of the year from that Texas team.

"Kevin said they're really good," Lawson said. "I thought we'd be playing Texas. But USC is like the sleeper that's really good and no one knows about."

Specifically, Durant warned Lawson that USC "does things differently on defense from anything you've seen. They do a lot of face-guarding."...

Also, USC's matchups present opportunity - LA Times
Saia's legacy looks good for USC two years later - OC Register
Southern Cal scouting report - Greensboro News-Record
[Lipper] Tar Heels need toughness to match talent - Richmond Times-Dispatch
Young Southern Cal moves up arrival time - USA Today
...If you're a freshman, or an incoming one such as the fabulously talented O.J. Mayo, it matters less where the Trojans have been. What's more important is where they are...and where they're headed. The furthest USC has advanced in the tournament's current format is the Elite Eight in 2001.

It's been suggested that No. 5 seed USC might be a year ahead of schedule...

..."I don't think we're ahead of schedule,"
said freshman guard Daniel Hackett, looking around the Trojans locker room Thursday. "We have great guys in this room. The players we have are good enough to make a run in the NCAAs. Next year, with the recruiting class, we'll just be better. But this year is the year we made a statement that we want to be remembered for."...

Also, USC wants more attention - LA Times
[Miller] Trojans breaking tradition with tourney run - OC Register
USC's run to Sweet 16 catches everyone by surprise - Newark Star-Ledger
Trojans: Hold the Mayo - Raliegh News & Observer
[Ryan] Sunny California - Boston Globe
Cushing rolls ankle, helped off field - Daily Trojan
With numerous players sitting out because of lingering injuries, the sideline looked like a hospital waiting room at times at USC football practice on Thursday.

The injury bug's latest victim is linebacker Brian Cushing, who rolled his right ankle chasing down a play toward the end of practice. Cushing could not put weight on the ankle and had to be helped off to the sideline, where he was quickly examined...

...Cushing will have plenty of company as he sits out practice to heal.

Defensive backs Josh Pinkard and Kevin Thomas, tight end Anthony McCoy and running back Stafon Johnson all have missed the first two spring practices of the year...

Also, Adewale declines invitation - LA Daily News
Cushing injures right hamstring - LA Times
USC grows thinner at linebacker - OC Register

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Coach wants to build UNC-like program at Southern Cal - Charlotte Observer
...With four starters between 6-4 and 6-6 capable of guarding multiple positions, Floyd turned loose his peculiar brand of defense to get USC deep into the NCAA tournament. North Carolina coach Roy Williams said USC's defense is unlike any the Tar Heels have faced...

...Young said Floyd's defense creates an element of uncertainty for opponents, who never know what Floyd is going to do...

...With a 255,000-square foot arena in a huge media market, Floyd is in position to turn USC into a basketball power...

..."These kids in Southern California are wanting to stay now," Floyd said. "I'm hoping that one day we can have a Duke-Carolina right there in L.A...

Also, The mystery man - Greensboro News-Record
Floyd the right man for USC - Durham Herald-Sun
Floyd has Southern Cal headed in right direction - Cape Fear News-Star
Tech product tries to establish hoops legacy at USC - Monroe [La.] News-Star
Ames was OK, but USC job fun in the sun - Des Moines Register
[Feinstein] Floyd, USC Arrive a Year Ahead of Schedule - Washington Post
[Davis] USC has chance to stun UNC thanks to Floyd - MSNBC
Dutch Scientist to Receive $200k Prize From Southern Cal - The Chronicle of Higher Education
The University of Southern California has awarded the 2007 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement to Gatze Lettinga, a Dutch scientist who invented an anaerobic wastewater treatment in the 1970s and who, by choosing not to patent his work, has strived to make it available all over the world.

The technology is now used in three-quarters of the world’s anaerobic systems for treating industrial and residential wastewater.

The prize, which was created in 1973 by John C. and Alice Tyler and is administered by the university with funds they donated, consists of a $200,000 award and a gold medal. It will be presented in April.
Gibson coming home - LA Daily News
...Two years ago, when Taj Gibson first told his peers in Brooklyn that he had commit to USC, the response was much different.

"I got a lot of flak back home," Gibson said. "They didn't want me to go across the country. They wouldn't be able to see my games. They said USC wouldn't be good for me."

Taj Gibson returns home this weekend having proven his friends wrong, riding into East Rutherford, N.J., as one of the leaders of USC's surprising run...

...his old playground buddies will be able to see him play Friday against top-seeded North Carolina
at Continental Airlines Arena.

"Everyone is going out buying USC products right now," Wilbert Gibson said...

Also, Stewart finally gets wisdom - LA Daily News
USC's Stewart recovering from root canal - LA Times
Trojans' Young not ready to think about NBA draft - OC Register
Bibby proud of his role in USC's tourney run - Philly Inquirer
[Schlabach] Floyd's ahead of schedule at "last job" - ESPN

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

USC's refusal to give up is a tribute to late teammate Ryan Francis - Newark Star-Ledger
It's halftime, and they can't hold back the tears.

The ceremony to honor Ryan Francis, the USC point guard who was shot and killed over the summer, is hitting harder than they imagined.

The players' necks are craned toward the giant video screen airing the player testimonials, game footage and team photos. They all share the same message to their tragically lost friend: "We love you, Franchise."

Four months later, the Trojans find themselves in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, enjoying an unexpected run highlighted by a second-round victory over the Texas Longhorns and their superstar, Kevin Durant. There are even rumblings from basketball's chattering class that this team has the talent to knock off North Carolina...

Also, [Waldner] It's no fluke USC is in the Sweet 16 - Daily Breeze
[Dilbeck] L.A. story is the March of the Trojans - LA Daily News
USC's Johnson is always planning ahead - LA Times
[Adande] Trojans are basking in it, darling - LA Times
Wilkinson fits Trojans' tale perfectly - OC Register
[Saxon] Pruitt's strong play should merit notice - OC Register
USC returned to the football field Tuesday for the first time since its Rose Bowl victory over Michigan. Rain and cold weather greeted the team's first spring practice for the third consecutive year.

With 18 returning starters, including 10 from the Trojans' impressive defensive squad, the team is confident in its ability to improve on last season's 11-2 mark.

"We are competing to be the fastest and most competitive football team," sophomore quarterback Mark Sanchez said. "As an offense we want to be the best offense this school has seen - put up the biggest numbers."...

Also, Washington's grades hurting - LA Daily News
Turner knows USC is counting on him - LA Times
QB Booty, Linebacker Cushing More Fit for Spring Practice - Inland Empire Press-Enterprise
Jack Kirby, 84; scored the touchdown that sent USC to Rose Bowl in '48 - LA Times
Jack Kirby, 84, who scored the only [TD] in USC's 6-0 victory over UCLA in 1947 that propelled the Trojans into the Rose Bowl, died...of lung and heart complications at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital...

...A native of Los Angeles, Kirby played football, baseball and track at Dorsey High before enrolling at USC. After a stint flying torpedo planes for the Navy in the Pacific during World War II, he returned to USC. Kirby was a halfback and defensive back on the 1947 football team...He played one more year with the Trojans, then went on to one season of professional football with the Green Bay Packers.

He returned to California and spent most of his working life as a real estate developer. An avid golfer, Kirby invented the golf course distance markers called Kirby Markers.
Dennis trying to let coaches know he's back - OC Register
Three years ago Hershel Dennis arrived at spring camp as USC's starting running back. He lost that role after a two-game suspension in the fall of 2004, before multiple leg injuries knocked him out the past two seasons.

Dennis on Tuesday participated in the first of 15 spring practices for USC, and his first since he tore ligaments in his first extended workout last spring.

"It's been awhile but when you got it, you got it," Dennis said. "You never really lose it. I'm just trying to get the feel back, make sure my knee is OK to do the moves I'm capable of doing...
Hervey retires from Esks - Edmonton Journal
Struggling to come to grips with the decision to retire, Ed Hervey sought the opinions of those who mattered the most -- his mother and sister.

As a child, he promised them he'd get them off the rough, gang-infested streets of Compton, Calif. He saw his speed and athleticism as his family's ticket to a better life...

...Hervey will be in charge of scouting the U.S. West Coast for player talent. Maciocia said he got the idea when he asked Hervey what he thought of a player at the USC and was met with what resembled a detailed scouting report in return... wouldn't surprise me one bit if he becomes one of the top personnel guys in this league,"...

...Hervey finished his career with 476 catches for 6,715 yards and 43 [TDs]...

Also, Promise to help family fulfilled - Edmonton Journal
Hervey hangs 'em up - Canadian Press via Calgary Sun

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Mayo Shows Vision on and Off Court - NY Times
...When Floyd answered the phone, he heard a teenager’s voice on the other end: “Coach, this is O. J. Mayo. I’d like to come to your school.”

Mayo had not been on an official campus visit. He had not seen the new arena, the Galen Center. He did not know anything about the current roster.

Floyd did not believe it was possible to get a verbal commitment from a player he had recruited for less than one day, especially when that player was a 6-foot-5 sharpshooter with blue-chip strength, quickness and passing ability.

“I want to be different,” Floyd recalls Mayo telling him. “I want to leave a mark.”...
Youth movement for Trojans - OC Register
Nick Young and Lodrick Stewart shot well last year, too. Gabe Pruitt could drive and dish or shut down opposing guards a year ago, just as he does now.

So how did the USC basketball team go from being the sixth best team in its conference to being one of the 16 best in the nation in one year?

It had something to do with the arrival of two freshmen who haven't played like freshmen, particularly when their team has needed them most. Daniel Hackett should be completing his senior season of high school. Instead he's playing like a college senior...

...Taj Gibson has worked through the aches and pains of a late-season slump to provide an inside presence the Trojans otherwise lack...

Also, USC stands up against the tops - LA Daily News
USC's tournament routs worthy of its football team - Inland Empire Press-Enterprise
Tar Heels present biggest challenge yet - LA Times
Defense reigns supreme - Athlon Sports
When it comes to football, there is an old saying that offense sells tickets but defense wins championships...

...Defensive Ends...
5. Lawrence Jackson, Senior, USC.
The 6-5 270 pound Jackson has prototypical NFL size...

...Defensive Tackles...
...2. Sedrick Ellis, Senior, USC.
Ellis immovable object...

...Inside Linebackers...
...4. Ray Maualuga, Junior, USC.
Maualuga mans the middle...

...Outside Linebackers
1. Keith Rivers, Senior, USC.
Rivers led the Trojans in tackles...
Deep Returning Group Has Carroll Excited About Spring - Inland Empire Press-Enterprise
USC coach Pete Carroll and his Trojans football team open spring practice today. For Carroll, this is his seventh spring at USC.

"The longest I've ever been anywhere," Carroll said last week as he took a look at where this USC program has been, where it is now and where he sees it going. Experts see this USC team going for a third national title for Carroll. With 17 starters returning and all but one first-teamer back on defense, the Trojans are the unanimous pick of the pundits for No. 1 next year...

...Q: Is USC's ability to recruit nationally getting better every year?

A: I think that's always happened in the history of USC, that they've gotten guys. What we had to do was get to the point where we could get guys when we needed to get them...

Also, USC begins spring football practice - LA Times
Quotes to Note
"Michigan State wasn't as talented as the remaining teams the Tar Heels will face, starting Friday night in the Sweet 16 against Southern Cal."

"Speaking of Southern Cal, no one who roots for UNC should shriek with glee that its crew avoided Kevin Durant and got the Trojans. They're long and agile, and they unplugged Texas freshman point guard D.J. Augustin in the second round. They'll try to do the same with similarly-electric rookie Ty Lawson of the Tar Heels."

"The big surprise so far this year is Southern Cal. There's a Cinderella for you. Who knew Southern Cal had varsity sports?"

Monday, March 19, 2007

Trojans can Hackett: USC pulls off victory - LA Daily News
Daniel Hackett looked up at who many think is the best player in college basketball - four inches up to be exact.

He didn't flinch. He wasn't intimidated.

The freshman guard is supposed to be a senior in high school, thinking about spending ditch days at the beach.

Instead, he was the latest mismatch for Kevin Durant, the player who has NBA personnel drooling.

But the mismatch, somehow, was in USC's favor.

Hackett hounded Durant, pushing around the bigger player and denying him touches in a shocking display of grit...

Also, How sweet it is - OC Register
[Scholfield] 'Fight on!' applies to USC basketball, too - NC Times
Floyd has USC hoops in the pink - Austin Statesman-American
Southern Cal delivers knockout punch to Texas - Austin Statesman-American
So long, Horns: USC beats UT - Dallas Morning News
Ahead of Schedule for Success, U.S.C. Tops Texa - NY Times
Sunny Days in Southern Cal - NY Times Blog