It Could Be Worse For Basketball

DEROZANRemember in 2009 when USC had four players leave school that still had eligibility: Taj Gibson, Daniel Hackett, DeMar DeRozan and Marcus Johnson. That team could have been a Final Four participant in some observers’ eyes, especially when you add five recruits that never showed up: Derrick Williams, Renardo Sidney, Noel Johnson, Solomon Hill and Lamont Jones.

But that was different because athletic director Mike Garrett pretty much nuked the basketball program by releasing recruits from their letter-of-intents and treating Coach Tim Floyd abysmally.

One of my favorite stories is when Garrett called Floyd during his daughter’s wedding and demanded Floyd, “get your ass back to Los Angeles, so I can decide what I’m going to do with you.” Floyd told Garrett what he could do with that request.

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John Wayne Turns 100 . . . 109

WAYNE

Today is John Wayne’s 100th birthday. I like this picture, where he received an honorary degree from USC at the 1968 graduation ceremony. The commencement address was delivered by Rev. Theodore Hesburgh (left), who served for 35 years as president at the University of Notre Dame.

UPDATED: In my haste, I read the date wrong. Today is Wayne’s 109th birthday.

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Does Basketball Have A Plan B?

BENTILA player on the USC basketball team said this regarding Nikola Jovanovic’s decision to turn pro: “Don’t you think (the coaches) expected it?”

Yes. But then they probably also expected Julian Jacobs and some of the players who transferred to leave too. But what is surprising is there has not been much chatter about players who graduated from schools and have a year left of eligibility thinking about transferring to USC.

Is the current roster good enough that no help is required. The frontcourt is definitely thinner now. But I’m more surprised USC has not pursued a point guard stronger. Jordan McLaughlin is more of a scoring point guard and truthfully, plays better as a shooting guard. But so far there hasn’t been much about recruiting any point guards who could play next season. Cal got a commitment from a top 100 player last week (Charlie Moore) who is a point guard. So don’t say there wasn’t anyone available.

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USC Morning Buzz: Now You See It, Now You Don’t

EL.RODEO.1

This year’s cover of the USC yearbook, El Rodeo, comes with a unique cover. It normally is solid black (above). But when you place the book in the sunlight or apply heat, the cover changes to Tommy Trojan. When it cools down, it reverts to the original cover. It transforms faster than the USC basketball roster since the NCAA Tournament loss to Providence!

EL.RODEO.2

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Tale Of Two Programs

ENFIELD.PROVIDENCEWhat does it say when Oregon’s Dillon Brooks and Tyler Dorsey withdraw from the NBA Draft while USC’s Julian Jacobs and Nikola Jovanovic stayed in the draft. Dana Altman . . . Andy Enfield . . . Dana Altman . . . Andy Enfield. Hmmm.

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USC Forward Nikola Jovanovic Stays In NBA Draft

USC forward Nikola Jovanovic will remain in the NBA draft according to CBS Sports. That means two starters are gone (Julian Jacobs, Nikola Jovanovic) are gone. The best player is gone (Jacobs). And part of the bench left (Katin Reinhardt, Darion Clark, Malik Martin, Malik Marquetti).

Steve Lavin told me in February that USC might be a preseason top 10 team in the nation. Now they will be considered a mid-Pac-12 team. It tells you something when neither Jacobs nor Jovanovic stayed even though they might not be drafted. It points to Andy Enfield’s leadership because some felt certain players had a longer leash than others when it came to making mistakes or being emphasized within the offense. And that led to some distrust.

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Morning Buzz: The Unique Relationship Between USC/Nike

PHIL.KNIGHT.PLAQUEUSC has always been a Nike school. That is under scrutiny from some fans because of UCLA’s record $280 million deal with Under Armour. Yesterday, I said Phil Knight’s had a chummy relationship with USC. John McKay was on Nike’s board of directors. McKay’s statue outside the McKay Center has him wearing Nikes despite the fact he never did as USC coach. Knight donated money for construction of the McKay Center.

Knight is also close to Charles Cale, who was recently appointed to USC’s Board of Trustees and has been a member of the Nike board of directors. Knight and Cale attended Stanford. Cale endowed USC’s athletic director position in 2011 and it is named after him. He also donated to the McKay Center. Doesn’t all of this add up to a win for Nike?

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