Archive for the ‘USC’ category

Offseason Pac-10 Predictions: 10-6

July 13, 2009

Recruits have signed their letters,  players have enrolled in summer school, school’s have their coaching vacancies filled- all meaning only one thing: the 2009-2010 college basketball season is fast arriving. I know its a long time until the season starts, but here are my off season predictions of how things will go down this year.

10. Stanford

Bottom Line: With three of the teams top scorers gone and little talent returning this year, Cardinal country should be in for a very long agonizing season. Dawkins ‘s team will struggle immensely and expect the  season to end with Stanford fans angry and calling for Dawkins’s head.

Projected starting lineup:
F- Josh Owens Jr. 6-8/215 (6.9 ppg)
F- Andy Brown Fr. 6-8/200 (13 ppg)*
G/F- Landry Fields Sr. 6-7/210 (12.1 ppg)
G- Jeremy Green So. 6-4/190 (6.4 ppg)
G- Drew Shiller Sr. 6-0/170 (2.5 ppg)

Key losses: Anthony Brown (16.2 ppg), Lawrence Hill (13.6 ppg), Mitch Johnson (6.6 ppg)

Recruits: Andy Brown (Rivals: NR/ Scout: NR)

Keys to Success: Dawkins needs to develop his young players and create a strong recruiting base while relying on Landry Fields and Jeremy Green to carry the team to be at least somewhat competitive for this year .

Postseason: No chance

9. Washington St.

Bottom Line: With a newly hired coach and much of last years  core gone,  ’09/’10 will be a year of struggle and rebuilding for Wassu. As a historically mediocre basketball school, Ken Bone will have his work cut out for him trying to bring the program back to what it was with Tony Bennett and this year should be just the beginning.

Projected starting lineup:
F- DeAngelo Casto So. 6-8/229 (4.4 ppg)
G/F- Nikola Koprivica Sr. 6-6/216 (3.2 ppg)
G/F- Klay Thompson So. 6-6/187 (12.5 ppg)
G- Marcus Capers So. 6-4/172 (1.7 ppg)
G- Xavier Thames Fr. 6-3/177 (20.1 ppg)*

Key losses: Taylor Rochestie (13.2 ppg), Aron Baynes (12.7 ppg), Caleb Forrest (6.7 ppg), Daven Harmeling (3.8 ppg)

Recruits: Xavier Thames (Rivals: 106/Scout: #25 PG), Reggie Moore (Rivals: NR/Scout: NR), Anthony Brown (Rivals: NR/Scout: NR)

Keys to success: Though the team is young and mostly inexperienced expect super sophomore Klay Thompson to hit the national scene as he carries the Cougars through the season.

Postseason: No chance

8. USC

Bottom Line: Despite the disastrous off season, with Dwight Lewis and Leonard Washington returning and a coach that wont let things get worse then they already are, expect the Trojans to be more competitive then many think . The real struggles for USC begin next year when things aren’t as remnant as they this year.

Projected starting lineup:
F- Alex Stepheson Jr. 6-9/235 (4.3 ppg)**
F- Leonard Washington So. 6-7/230 (6.1 ppg)
G- Marcus Simmons Jr. 6-6/200 (1.9 ppg)
G- Dwight Lewis Sr. 6-5/215 (14.4 ppg)
G- Donte Smith Jr. 5-11/180 (2.3 ppg)

Key losses: Taj Gibson (14.3 ppg), DeMar DeRozan (13.9 ppg), Daniel Hackett (12.3 ppg)

Recruits: Evan Smith (Rivals: NR/Scout: NR)

Keys to Success: If coach O’Neill can do what he was hired to do and bring stability back to USC basketball, the Trojans can finish the healing and start the rebuilding with as little growing pains as possible.

Postseason: Wouldn’t count on it

7. ASU

Bottom line: Though the devils will fall in ranking from last year, teams 3-7 will be considerably even and have a rough time beating up on each other on a nightly basis. Despite losing two of their best players from last year the Sun Devils shouldn’t drop off too much with a solid core of veterans returning and an above average recruiting class coming in.

Projected starting lineup:
C- Eric Boateng Sr. 6-10/245 (1.8 ppg)
F- Victor Rudd Fr. 6-8/200 (16.6 ppg)*
G/F- Rihards Kuksiks Jr. 6-6/205 (10.3 ppg)
G- Ty Abbott Jr. 6-3/215 (7.1 ppg)
G- Derrick Glasser Sr. 6-1/180 (8.8 ppg)

Key losses: James Harden (20.1 ppg), Jeff Pendergraph (14.5 ppg)

Recruits: Trent Lockett (Rivals: 80/Scout: #20 SG), Ruslan Pateev (Rivals: NR/ Scout: #34 C), Demetrius Walker (Rivals: 115/Scout: #31 SF), Victor Rudd (Rivals: 114/ Scout: #33 SF), Brandon Thompson (Rivals: NR/Scout: NR)

Keys to Success: If Kuksiks, Abbott, and Glasser can produce consistently and the freshman grow and contribute as expected, ASU should have a good shot to compete with any team in the Pac-10.

Postseason: Hello NIT

stanfordlogo6. Oregon

Bottom Line: The Ducks are coming off a disappointing last place 2-16 season and coach Ernie Kent finds himself in a do or die season for his job. Luckily for Kent, the Ducks have their entire starting lineup returning from last year and a much weaker Pac-10 to compete against.

Projected starting lineup:
C- Michael Dunigan So. 6-10/255 (8.4 ppg)
F- Joevan Catron Sr. 6-6/235 (7.2 ppg)
G- LeKendric Longmire Jr. 6-5/200 (9.9 ppg)
G- Garrett Sim So. 6-1/175 (6.8 ppg)
G- Tajuan Porter Sr. 5-6/150 (15.4 ppg)

Key losses: Kamyron Brown (4.5 ppg)

Recruits: Jamil Wilson (Rivals: 94/Scout #5 SF), E.J. Singler (Rivals: NR/ Scout: #24 SF), Jeremy Jacob (JC Rivals: NR/ Scout:NR)

Keys to Success: If Kent can at least utilize some of the talent he has on his  loaded roster, which he failed to do last season, expect the Ducks not to disappoint and Kent to return for his 14th season in Oregon.

Postseason: Hello NIT

* High school stats
** Sophomore stats with North Carolina


USC KO’ed?

July 2, 2009

When news broke that USC hired Kevin O’Neill to be their head basketball coach the first thing that came to my head was “what the hell is Mike Garrett thinking?”.  Why would Garrett hire a guy who’s failed with virtually every job he’s worked at? A guy who’s combined coaching record is 171-180 and has been run out of two NBA gigs, Tennessee,

Kevin O'Neill (Jake Lacey, Daily Wildcat)

Kevin O'Neill (Jake Lacey/Daily Wildcat)

Northwestern, and most recently Arizona. The truth is hiring O’Neill wasn’t just a good hire,  it was an excellent hire. In the situation its in, O’Neill is everything that USC needs and everything that O’Neill could ever hope for.  For all that USC could expect, O’Neill will demand respect from his peers, recruit, and teach his players how to play the game of basketball- all with the integrity and honesty that Floyd didn’t have.

But couldn’t have Garrett hired someone with at least some success? Maybe Pittsburgh’s Jamie Dixon or at least someone like  Reggie Theus? The answer, simply, is no. No coach with any hope of having a long term coaching career would ever come into the mess that USC is in right now. Recruiting violations, no recruits, and public scrutiny: it would almost take a miracle for someone to recover from this situation without getting fired. On the other hand for as bad of coaching record that Kevin O’Neill has, the USC  job is the best thing  O’Neill could ever dream of getting.

Simply put Kevin O’Neill is Mike Garrett’s fallback guy for the future. USC is in for a very rough next couple of years, and that’s exactly what O’Neill is there for.  O’Neill’s strong persona will bring an aspect of stability to USC exactly to what Garrett wants. Garrett also knows well from O’Neill’s history and by the enormity of the task O’Neill has, that O’Neill will not have the success to last as the permanent successor at USC, and Garrett is hoping O’Neill will do a good enough job in his short tenure to bring enough stability to USC so that they can actually go for the high profile coach like the one they hoped for now (like Jamie Dixon).

The Fall of Troy

June 13, 2009

With Tim Floyd resigning as head basketball coach at USC last week, the program looks to be in shambles- for a long time.  Just a few months ago Tim Floyd turned down two of the countries most prestigious coaching vacancies from Arizona and Memphis to return to USC and to what he thought was a top-1o recruiting class, the limelights of LA, and

Tim Floyd (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Tim Floyd (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

a program on the rise.  But, with the bolting of three of the teams top four leading scorers to play professional ball (Daniel Hackett, Taj Gibson, Demar Derozen)  and a devastating accusation from the NCAA regarding an illegal payment to a handler during the recruitment of former USC star OJ Mayo,  Tim Floyd has resigned bringing a very gloomy fate to the  future  of USC basketball.

After two failed stints in the NBA, Floyd was brought to USC to rebuild a program that had only had marginal success.  In just four years, Tim Floyd shot USC into a perennial threat in the Pac-1o leading the Trojans to an unprecedented three NCAA tournament appearances. During this time, word had began to circulate questioning the rise of USC leading many to accuse Floyd of cheating and questionable recruiting tactics.  With Floyd’s resignation last week; bringing most of the speculated word to truth, Floyd is now left without a job and, more importantly for LA and the Pac-10, USC without a coach.

Unfortunately for USC, the fallout will have many consequences for the present and even more for the future. Though the Trojans are already losing three of their four leading scorers and have a prized recruiting class lost; a very weak Pac-1o should save USC from absolute embarrassment and the return of the likes of leading scorer Dwight Lewis and UNC transfer Alex Stepheson will have the Trojans winning at least a couple games. With this season most definitely lost, the by far most important task for USC and Athletic Director Mike Garrett is to find a coach who will be able to lead the program through the frustration of now and the tough times that will endure. Names have already being thrown around, but Garrett must only find a coach who will work with integrity, enthusiasm,  patience. Here is a list of coach’s, by order of preference, that i believe Garrett should go after:

1.  Billy Gillispie

Why:  Though Gillispie didn’t have as much success as he would have wanted in Lexington, the USC coaching job would would give him a chance to start anew and showcase his true merits as a coach. USC would provide all the necessary tools for him to attract attention and shine along with the low-stress work environment and the expectations of a low mid-major school.

Billy Gillispie (AP Photo/Joe Raymond)

Billy Gillispie (AP Photo/Joe Raymond)

2. Craig Robinson

Why: Has a long-struggling Oregon St. program on the rise and has all the integrity and talent that Garrett could ever want. USC’s prime-time stage would be an ideal opportunity for Robinson to showcase his talents as a coach, but does Robinson really want to leave OSU just a few months before the season begins to rebuild another program all over again?

3 . Steve Lavin

Why: Lavin has strong recruiting ties and experience from his days with UCLA.  Lavin is young and has the optimism and enthusiasm an ailing program like USC needs, still does USC want to risk the life of its program with someone who has already failed once in the Pac-10?

Other possible candidates:

– Bobby Knight: The name has been thrown around by the likes of ESPN’s Andy Katz but it doesn’t seem realistic and would not be the long term solution that Garrett wants.

– Reggie Theus: Would be great as the interim coach for this year; but unfortunately Theus likely only wants the full time gig and i doubt Garrett has him high on his list.