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Tim Floyd to stay at USC

Two days after imploring his players to wait on the NBA draft to remain with the Trojans, he takes his own advice and rejects Arizona.

April 03, 2009|Chris Foster

One is done. Now others have to make decisions.

USC basketball Coach Tim Floyd, saying he has "everything in place right here to do something special," declined an offer from Arizona -- and turned aside an inquiry from Memphis -- announcing Thursday that he would remain with the Trojans.

As he indicated last year when Louisiana State wooed him, Floyd said, "This will be the last time I look unless the administration gets tired of me."

Now comes the next chore: Keeping others from making the type of greener-pastures leap that he pondered for nearly 24 hours after flying to Tucson to meet with Arizona Athletic Director Jim Livengood.

The shape of USC's roster will be determined in coming weeks, as April 26 is the deadline for players to declare for the NBA draft. Freshman forward DeMar DeRozan, junior forward Taj Gibson and junior guard Daniel Hackett are all considering testing the NBA draft waters.

DeRozan is projected as first-round pick.

"Not yet," DeRozan said when asked if he was close to a decision. "I'm going to sit down with my family this weekend and make a decision."

The 6-foot-9 Gibson is projected as a second-round pick and NBA interest in Hackett rose during the Trojans' six-game late-season winning streak, during which they won the Pacific 10 Conference tournament championship and reached the second round of the NCAA tournament.

"I had a long talk with the coaches, Coach Floyd especially, and we are going to evaluate every review we can get about the next level," Hackett said. "All I can say is I'm preparing to make a [NBA] run and I'm preparing for my senior year in college. Whatever decision I'm going to make will be the best one for myself."

Floyd, certainly, can understand that.

At the team banquet Tuesday, he implored players to stay at USC. A little more than 12 hours later, he was on a private jet to Tucson. He had also been contacted by Memphis but decided to go to Arizona because, he said, "I was curious to see what constitutes an elite program."

Floyd added, "I listened, I heard what they had to say. But there is something really special about building your own traditions and your own history."

Floyd said he discussed the situation with his wife, then talked with "a couple of our players and a couple of recruits." He called USC Athletic Director Mike Garrett on Thursday morning to say he would be staying.

A year ago, Floyd did similar tire-kicking when LSU called. He said then that USC was his last job.

Asked Thursday why he talked to Memphis and visited Arizona if USC was his last job, Floyd said, "Because this is still my last job."

Pressed, Floyd said, "Where am I coaching now?"

Floyd said later, "If [USC administrators] get tired of me and they don't want me here then I'll look in another direction. But if they're happy then this will be it."

As for the mixed message from Floyd's banquet speech Tuesday and his actions Wednesday, his players seemed unconcerned.

"I think, nowadays, it is very common for coaches to jump from one program to another," Hackett said. "They go to one school, take it to the top, and then look at different options."

Floyd, who has an 85-50 record in four years at USC, said the decision to stay was not based on the possibility of a contract extension. He said he has three years left on his current contract with a base pay believed to be about $850,000.

However, he did say, "Hopefully they will add a year or two."

USC has been to three consecutive NCAA tournaments under Floyd, a first in school history. Expectations will be high next season should players return to mix with a recruiting class that includes forward Solomon Hill and center Renardo Sidney, both from Los Angeles Fairfax High.

"Nobody in the country [would be better]," Hackett said in response to a question about how good the team might be if everyone returns. "It's scary. You have a coach here who wants to build a legacy, maybe take control of the city [from UCLA]."

Times staff writer Gary Klein contributed to this report.

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chris.foster@latimes.com

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