November 15, 2010 |
The adjustment was small, but the payoff proved hefty. In the USC men's basketball team's first half against UC Irvine on Saturday, junior forward Nikola Vucevic knew the Anteaters would double-team him any time he touched the ball. But instead of being aggressive, the 6-foot-10, 260-pound Vucevic looked to pass, which explains his paltry halftime stats: two points on one-for-three shooting. In the second half of USC's 62-49 win, though, Vucevic scored 17 points, including nine of the Trojans' first 13 after intermission, to finish with a career-high-tying 19. What changed?
November 13, 2010 |
The takeoff for USC's basketball season wasn't so smooth Saturday, but the result was a 62-49 win over UC Irvine at the Galen Center. If the opener is an indicator, the Trojans and their fans might be in for a bumpy ride, at least until junior guard Jio Fontan becomes eligible in December, when he could give the young, depth-deprived squad a much-needed boost. For now, the idea of advancing to a postseason tournament one season removed from a postseason ban is the least of USC's worries.
November 12, 2010 |
The biggest of USC's men's basketball players should also be the biggest factors this season in determining the Trojans' success. Nikola Vucevic, the smooth-shooting Serbian, and Alex Stepheson, the brutish, broad-shouldered Angeleno. Both are 6 feet 10. Vucevic, a 240-pound junior, relies on finesse. Stepheson, a 250-pound senior, counts on power. So different, yet the best of friends. And both so important as USC tries to improve on a 16-14 record forged last season amid the tumult of self-imposed penalties and an NCAA investigation.
October 14, 2010 |
In the backcourt are two freshmen, a transfer and two seldom-used seniors. In the frontcourt are two of the Pacific 10 Conference's best post players. And on the sideline, USC Coach Kevin O'Neill is planning to retool plenty ? namely, a wretched offense ? before the season starts Nov. 13 against UC Irvine. "We're going to run a lot more motion, probably a few less set plays," said O'Neill, who was 16-14 in his first season at USC. "We're really concentrating on turning misses and turnovers into easy baskets.
February 27, 2010
UCLA today VS. OREGON Time: 2. Site: Pauley Pavilion. On the air: TV: Prime Ticket; Radio: 570. Records: UCLA 13-14 overall, 8-7 Pacific 10 Conference; Oregon 13-14, 5-10. Update: The Bruins may have to do without Nikola Dragovic, who injured his left shoulder against Oregon State on Thursday and will be a game-time decision. They are already without Reeves Nelson, who has a slight tear of the retina in his left eye, James Keefe, who will undergo shoulder surgery Wednesday, and Brendan Lane, who sat out Thursday because of a sprained ankle.
February 14, 2010 |
Nikola Dragovic was too much to handle. He was older, and already competing with the best Serbia and Montenegro had to offer. So Nikola Vucevic, 12 years old and three years younger than his "godbrother," battled as best he could. His uncle's Belgium professional team was practicing for a Euro League game in Serbia, but the real competition was on the side court. This was the first time the two had met, even though their families were bound by basketball and friendship, and the outcome was predictable.
February 7, 2010
A month ago, USC's Nikola Vucevic blew the game against Stanford. This came on a failed tip-in at the buzzer. He used one hand on that attempt, not two. So Trojans Coach Kevin O'Neill asked ever-so politely, "If you get a tip-in at the end, go up with two hands, please." Vucevic paid heed and proved it Saturday, using both his sizable mitts on a tip-in with 20.6 seconds left that gave the Trojans a lead and the eventual win over Stanford, 54-49, at the Galen Center. "He always tells me not to do stuff with one hand," said Vucevic, who had a team-high 18 points.
February 2, 2010
A preliminary hearing for UCLA forward Nikola Dragovic and his roommate, Aleksandar Stanisic, was postponed Monday until March 15. Both are facing assault charges stemming from an altercation after an Oct. 24 concert at the Henry Fonda Theater in Hollywood. Prosecutors have said the incident began when Stanisic argued with a man and his girlfriend during the show. Later, a confrontation occurred outside the theater in which prosecutors allege Dragovic rushed the man and pushed him into a glass case, which shattered, lacerating the man's Achilles' tendon.
January 21, 2010 |
Call it senior night. UCLA would like to celebrate it against Washington at Pauley Pavilion tonight. Senior guard Michael Roll has promised the Bruins will never again put forth such an effort, or lack of effort, as was the case in Saturday's 67-46 loss to USC. Senior forward James Keefe preached unity during difficult days. And senior forward Nikola Dragovic vowed action. In games he has played this season, Dragovic has been an easy-to-read barometer on how the Bruins are faring.
December 23, 2009 |
Another day in court still awaits Nikola Dragovic, about a month or so down the line. The UCLA forward still must answer to a felony charge stemming from a recent fight at a Hollywood concert. But the mere act of standing in front of a judge this week, pleading not guilty, seems to have done wonders for Dragovic on another type of court. "Just by not having to deal with lawyers, not going to meetings, just even think about it, I'm able to put more time into basketball," Dragovic said.