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Nikola Vucevic

SPORTS
November 18, 2009 | Pete Thomas
As Dwight Lewis goes, so will the young and otherwise inexperienced Trojans go. This public assessment was delivered recently by Kevin O'Neill, the new USC men's basketball coach, and on Tuesday night the senior guard scored a game-high 22 points and had five rebounds. And the Trojans, who aren't supposed to be very good this season, opened the O'Neill era with a wire-to-wire 77-67 victory over UC Riverside in front of an announced crowd of 3,062 at the Galen Center. But it's not that simple.
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SPORTS
October 13, 2010 | By Baxter Holmes
In a city and region known for clear blue skies, the USC men's basketball program had a dark cloud hanging low over its 2009-10 season. First came self-imposed sanctions in January that banned the Trojans from postseason play for allegations of scandal surrounding former star O.J. Mayo . Then came the wait for the NCAA's final decision after a four-year investigation, which arrived in June. But now that the ban has lifted and the NCAA decided not to further penalize the Trojans basketball team, Coach Kevin O'Neill can breathe easier entering this season, which starts Nov. 13. "I'm glad we self-imposed," O'Neill said Wednesday at a coaches luncheon at the Los Angeles Athletic Club.
SPORTS
February 3, 2011 | By Baxter Holmes
Eight days stand between USC and its next game, between its 64-50 loss to UCLA on Wednesday and a home rematch with Oregon State on Feb. 10. The break provides the Trojans, who feature just a seven-man rotation, a chance for much-needed rest. They won't practice too much, and, if they do, it will probably be light at best. But while the time off could be considered a positive ? and the Trojans (12-11, 4-6 in Pacific 10 Conference play) are surely glad for it ? it also means their poor showing against UCLA will loom longer in their heads than they would like.
SPORTS
January 29, 2011 | By Baxter Holmes
Reporting from Tucson Rotten irony, cruel fate or bad karma, USC can't be sure. But two of its former recruits, two players whose signature on 2009 letters of intent officially made them Trojans, ended up at Arizona and beat them Saturday. Derrick Williams and Lamont Jones each made all six of his shots against the team they nearly joined, and led Arizona to an 82-73 victory at the McKale Center. Williams, a superstar sophomore forward from La Mirada High who has become a national player-of-the-year candidate, scored a game-high 20 points, including 17 in the second half.
SPORTS
February 10, 2011 | By Baxter Holmes
Kevin O'Neill boiled the eight games his team had left into a mini-season. Then USC's coach gathered his players during their first practice after last week's loss to UCLA and spread the word. Win half, plus maybe an extra win or two to be on the safe side, and they'd have enough capital to earn an NIT invitation. But, if not, just stitch some wins together to have steam heading into the Pacific 10 Conference tournament at Staples Center. The Trojans' mini-season opened with Oregon State on Thursday at the Galen Center, and USC took care of business with a 67-56 victory in front of 3,853.
SPORTS
December 30, 2010 | By Baxter Holmes
USC's lock-down defense shut down Washington's high-powered offense Wednesday. It held the Huskies to 35.5 points below their season average by the start of overtime ? and didn't give up a fastbreak point. It forced Washington into 17 turnovers ? after the Huskies committed a total of nine in their two previous games ? and kept star guard Isaiah Thomas (10 points, six turnovers) in check. But that all went for naught in an 73-67 loss, forcing USC (8-6, 0-1 in conference play)
SPORTS
December 11, 2009 | By Baxter Holmes
'Tis the season for giving, and the USC basketball team has been most charitable, giving opponents a hefty bounty of extra possessions this month -- 61 turnovers in three games. Two of those were losses against ranked teams from Texas and Georgia Tech, the third a win over Sacramento State on Tuesday when the Trojans had a season-high 25 turnovers. It's a problem, but one Coach Kevin O'Neill said won't be fixed quickly; the team is short-handed and waiting for two players to become eligible.
SPORTS
February 12, 2011 | By Baxter Holmes
Every Friday, your average 9-to-5 worker is worn down and ready to punch out, thankful for a Saturday to kick back and chill. USC knows the feeling ? except for that last part. Leading up to Saturdays, the Trojans too seem tuckered out as their seven-man roster looks dead-legged, usually from playing a game two days prior. Which partly explains why more than half of USC's losses this season (seven) have come on Saturdays, with the Trojans' only wins coming in its season opener and after a six-day break between games.
SPORTS
November 27, 2010 | By Baxter Holmes
For the first 20 minutes of its nonconference basketball game against Nebraska on Saturday, USC played nearly fundamentally perfect. The next 20 minutes? Not so much. After building a 20-point lead, the Trojans squandered all of it and more in a 60-58 loss. Nebraska hadn't come back to win from as big of a deficit since its 87-77 overtime win against Kansas State in 1997. It was finalized when USC freshman guard Maurice Jones missed a three-point shot at the buzzer.
SPORTS
October 25, 2010 | By Baxter Holmes
Marcus Simmons is a stopper on defense, but he wants to be more than that. So, the summer before last season, he didn't leave the gym each day until he made 1,000 shots. His dedication was commendable. However, the extra work didn't pay dividends. Simmons averaged just three points a game and USC Coach Kevin O'Neill considered him a liability when opposing defenses played zone, closing down the key and opening up the perimeter. "I probably hurt his confidence last year, when you think about it," O'Neill said.
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