January 5, 2011 |
Guard Bryce Jones and forward Garrett Jackson are neither gone nor forgotten freshmen at USC, even though both have all but disappeared from the lineup after impressive starts. Jones started USC's first 10 games and averaged 11.2 points in 28.1 minutes. But he has come off the bench in the last five games, averaging only 3.2 points in 12.2 minutes. Jackson hardly played in USC's first three games. But in the next five, he averaged 8.4 points in 16.6 minutes. Since, he has scored a total of four points and averaged 6.3 minutes.
March 12, 2011 |
The picture in his office shows a fruit stand advertising strawberries. The stand's sign reads "K.O'Neill. " USC Coach Kevin O'Neill has kept it since an anonymous "fan" sent it to him in the early 1990s when he coached at Marquette, telling O'Neill he should quit and sell fruit. "It kind of symbolizes to me that this business is pretty fickle; here today, gone tomorrow," O'Neill said Saturday in his office. O'Neill knows what he's talking about, because after an altercation he was involved in Thursday night in a hotel lobby with an Arizona booster, the second-year coach's job is on the line.
January 2, 2010 |
Growing up, Leonard Washington hated it when people talked trash to him on the basketball court. But Washington, who became academically eligible for USC on Dec. 22, doesn't much abide by the Golden Rule. The USC sophomore forward loves to run his mouth and openly acknowledges he's a "bully" on the hardwood who loves to bang his 6-foot-7, 230-pound frame into opponents. "I'll admit that," he said, smiling. It showed in USC's 56-50 win over Arizona, as Washington, who finished with seven points off the bench in 22 minutes, hit the floor on seemingly every possession.
December 18, 2011 |
For a four-game stretch from Nov. 22 through Nov. 30, USC shot the lights out, making more than half its attempts each game. But for the last three games, all losses in which USC has shot 36% or lower, the Trojans are shooting as if those lights are still out. What happened before that's not happening now? "We were finishing better in the paint," USC Coach Kevin O'Neill said Sunday, a day before his Trojans (4-7) were to play host to Texas Christian (7-3) at the Galen Center.
December 11, 2009 |
'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.
February 10, 2011 |
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.
December 11, 2010 |
The Trojans sulked inside their huddle, their double-digit lead whittled away to almost nothing. Their opponent had momentum and energy, needing only a good second-half push to knock a teetering team over. Then, a USC captain spoke up. "It's time to win," senior guard Donte Smith told his teammates. Out of that huddle, Smith did it himself, scoring 14 consecutive points during a game-deciding 14-3 run that gave USC a 60-52 win against Northern Arizona at the Galen Center on Saturday.
January 29, 2011 |
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.
October 13, 2011 |
Their captain was out for the season before it ever began. Now, without senior guard Jio Fontan, USC is a "rudderless ship," according to Coach Kevin O'Neill. So aimlessly the Trojans will head into the basketball season, which begins Nov. 11 against Cal State Northridge, short on experience and talent, with only a dream of a return visit to the NCAA tournament. "We're going to have an interesting year, to say the least," O'Neill said. Times staff writer Baxter Holmes looks at USC's five most pressing issues as it begins practice Friday: Looking for a leader After losing three key seniors, and junior forward Nikola Vucevic to the NBA, the Trojans had two starters returning this season before Fontan, their floor leader and leading returning scorer (10.5 points)
October 25, 2010 |
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.