You know Cal State L.A. can’t hire a coach without a USC connection. I’m hearing the front runner now is Jim Saia, who was USC interim coach after Henry Bibby was fired and before Tim Floyd got hired. Saia is currently at Cal State San Marcos. Is Cal State L.A. a move up?
Former USC guard Bryce Dejean-Jones, who plays for the New Orleans Pelicans, died yesterday from a reported gun shot wound to the abdomen. He was 23. Dejean-Jones played his freshman year at USC before transferring to UNLV and then Iowa State. He was known at Bryce Jones at USC. He averaged 5.6 points and 3.4 rebounds per game for the Pelicans.
Clay Helton is a players’ coach and I’m sure he would be thrilled if Adoree Jackson competed in the 2016 Olympics. But I’ll bet USC’s defensive coaches are not disappointed Jackson currently remains a long way off from qualifying for the long jump.
Helton might actually look like a genius if Jackson comes up short because he gave his star the entire winter/spring to focus on track. So Jackson can’t blame football if he does not qualify and will return fully motivated because he needs a big junior year before he turns pro. It might have been a different story if Steve Sarkisian did not let him miss spring practice and he did not make the U.S. Olympic Trials.
Chris Kiffin, the younger brother of Lane Kiffin, or the “nice Kiffin” when they were at USC together, was named in the NCAA’s notice of allegations against Ole Miss, where Chris Kiffin is the defensive line coach. Ole Miss announced a recruiting suspension for Kiffin, who had multiple recruiting inducements and illegal contact violations.
USC is recruiting two offensive linemen from Melbourne, Australia, including one who is 6-foot-10. The Trojans are looking at 16-year-old Daniel ‘Baby Shaq’ Faalele, who is 6-10 and 17-year-old Eneasi Kavapalu (6-7).
But USC is hardly alone as Penn State and Michigan are among the schools also recruiting the pair. And Michigan might be the leader when you consider the Wolverines will have a satellite camp in Melbourne on June 3.
If you want to see something crazy, look at Michigan’s satellite camp tour dates. If USC only had not lost player personnel director Austin Thomas . . .
Remember 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.