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Clancy's Decision Is Paying Off

January 29, 2002

Part of Sam Clancy's reasoning for returning for his senior season was to work on his overall game, making him more attractive to NBA teams in the June draft.

The 6-foot-7, 240-pound power forward is getting more desirable by the game.

After a ho-hum nonconference schedule in which Clancy averaged 15.8 points and 9.7 rebounds in 10 games, Clancy has turned it on in Pacific 10 Conference play.

Through nine conference games, Clancy is leading the Pac-10 in scoring (21.4 points) and rebounding (9.6), and is tied with teammate Errick Craven for the lead in steals (2.44).

"Everyone thinks Sam Clancy is just an offensive player, but he blocks shots, he gets steals," Coach Henry Bibby said in a rare moment of flattery. "He enjoys the press. He does some good things in it with his big wing span."

In USC's 90-82 victory over Stanford on Saturday, Bibby sat Clancy early in the game for what he perceived to be a lack of effort.

That would explain Bibby's helter-skelter substitution patterns in the early going, when he had the likes of football player-turned-power forward Greg Guenther in the game instead of Clancy.

"I didn't think [Clancy] was rebounding, moving or running," Bibby said. "I wanted him to sit a bit and think about it.

"Sometimes, sitting is the best lesson for guys."

Apparently so. Clancy finished with 24 points and 13 rebounds in 37 minutes for his league-leading 11th double-double this season. It also was Clancy's fifth consecutive double-double, a USC achievement last accomplished by Jaha Wilson in 1995.

USC (15-4), which is tied for first place in the Pac-10 with Oregon at 7-2, moved up two spots in the coaches' poll, to a season-high No. 20.

But the Trojans remained behind two Pac-10 teams they have beaten already, No. 13 UCLA (14-5) and No. 15 Stanford (12-5). Arizona (13-6), which thumped the Trojans, 97-80, was ranked 18th.

In the Associated Press poll, the Trojans remained at No. 23, behind No. 13 UCLA, No. 18 Stanford and No. 19 Arizona.

Oregon dropped out of both polls.

Paul Gutierrez

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