2014 Spring Practice #14: Notes

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Head coach Steve Sarkisian closed practice to the media and public today, so the coaching staff could prepare the team for players-only summer workouts.
  • Sarkisian did speak to the media after practice to introduce the freshmen that were made available for the first time today (Meet the Freshmen coming soon), and he also announced that the Trojans will play about an hour of real football at the Spring Game on Saturday.
  • Here is the entire press conference:

Hoops Class of '14: SF Malik Marquetti

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USC men's basketball added to its first recruiting class under the direction of Andy Enfield, which ranks in the national Top 25.

Malik-Marquetti.jpgName: Malik Marquetti

Position: SF

Size: 6-foot-6 and 185 pounds

High School: Millikan Senior HS (Long Beach) 3-Stars

Scouting Report: Marquetti came on strong his senior year after missing part of his junior season, and greatly improving during the summer.  He is a rangy athlete who can effect the game on both ends of the floor and works hard on the glass.  He thrived in an uptempo system at Millikan, which fits well into what Enfield is trying to implement at USC.  At the high school level, he dominated games with his non-stop motor, but he made great improvement on his jumper which will help him at the next level.

Andy Enfield's Take: "Malik is a versatile player that can play multiple positions. Offensively, he can score and make plays for his teammates. His long wing span and toughness make him an excellent defender and rebounder. We are excited for Malik to join our program."

Here is an example of Marquetti's athleticism:

"Do What We Do"

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The words of USC men's tennis captain Ray Sarmiento come from a place of experience.  As a key member of one of the greatest dynasties in collegiate tennis history, he knows exactly what to do in big matches.

The Trojans will get their chance to follow their leader in Friday's Pac-12 decider between No. 3 USC and No. 5 UCLA.  The action starts inside Marks Stadium at 10:30 a.m. with doubles followed by singles play at Noon.

Here is a Crosstown Showdown preview with Sarmiento and Yannick Hanfmann:

Mic'd Up: Marques Tuiasosopo

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Former Rose Bowl MVP Marques Tuiasosopo was one of the many key offseason additions to the USC coaching staff.  The former NFL quarterback is now grooming the Trojans' tight ends.

Here is "Tui" mic'd up for spring practice:

Rico to Represent

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USC men's golf freshman Rico Hoey was selected to represent Team USA in the 2014 Palmer Cup this summer in England.  He will compete against Team Europe alongside nine other top American college golfers.

Click here for the full story.

Hoey was selected based on his team-leading 70.59 stroke average per round as well as the seven Top 7 finishes he posted this season. He will be the fourth Trojan to compete in the Palmer Cup joining Brian Hull (1997), Jamie Lovemark (2007) and Europe's Tim Sluiter (2008 and 2009).


Packing Heavy

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No. 8 USC men's volleyball will be taking a little extra hardware on its road to Utah, where the Trojans play BYU in the MPSF Tournament quarterfinals on Saturday, thanks to junior setter Micah Christenson, who made All-MPSF First Team, and Lucas Yoder, who was named the conference's Freshman of the Year.

Click here for the complete story.

Yoder also made the All-MPSF Second Team along with senior libero Henry Cassiday, and he is joined on the All-Freshman Team by Andy Benesh. Yoder and Benesh were also named to the Off The Block Freshman All-American team.

Christenson, who was the starting setter last summer for the U.S. Men's National Team, currently leads the nation in assists (11.69) and is 14th in digs (2.36, fifth in the MPSF). He tops USC in assists (1,017) and aces (25). He is a finalist for the Off The Block Lloy Ball Award presented to the nation's top collegiate setter.

Christenson (left) to Yoder (right) is USC's winning combination.

Spring Breakout: Zach Banner, OL

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

There is plenty to be excited about in the upcoming year of USC football, and with spring ball underway the Trojans are discovering new and improved talent all across the field. Whether new to the roster or finally positioned for a starting role, this year's spring breakouts are ready to make a difference. 

Banner-Camp9-McG.jpgName: Zach Banner
Year: Redshirt Sophomore
Position: Offensive Line

The Past: Banner's size has always been an area of concern and intrigue given his 6-foot-9, 345-pound frame. He was recruited heavily out of high school earning honors like ESPNU 150, All-American first team, USA Today All-USA first team, just to name a select few. Banner redshirted his freshman season, but then in 2013, the lineman served as the back-up offensive tackle seeing time in early season games against Hawaii and Boston College. Then, Banner spent the rest of the 2013 season sidelined with an injury when he discovered that he had a hip condition called FAI that would require surgery on both of his hips due to their abnormal shape.

The Present: It's been a long road to recovery for Banner as the two hip surgeries sidelined him for roughly five months. He's been working on regaining his strength but more importantly, Banner has devoted his full attention to working hard enough to earn a starting spot on an offensive line that has a lot of gaps to fill. Banner's transformation has been evident this spring from a big guy who showed a lot of potential, but struggled with execution, to a starting tackle candidate ready to contribute. 

The Future: Banner still has a ways to go before he can establish himself as an elite offensive lineman but the strides he has made this spring have created excitement for a potential breakout season come fall. The 6-foot-9 offensive lineman must continue to improve his flexibility at the waist and in the knees in order to gain maximum leverage against opposing pass rushers. It's imperative that he masters the proper techniques since his size prevents him from moving the way smaller linemen do. Though he is physically healthy, he is not where he wants to be in terms of strength. Banner also just needs the game experience to boost his confidence, so he can put his hard work to the test, something he should get the opportunity to do come fall. 

Sark on Banner: "He is a big man who is hard to run around, 6-foot-whatever he is, 350 some odd pounds. A lot of his future will center around his confidence continuing to grow. He's a very bright guy. He's physically gifted enough, it's just a matter of getting him knowing that he is capable of doing it. I think he's been showing that, especially in the past couple of days."

Here is Banner with our Caroline Deisley...

Lucha Por

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Roberto Quiroz does not know how to translate Fight On into his native tongue.  The Ecuadorian went with "lucha por" in his Pac-12 Networks appearance on "Statisfaction", although Google prefers "seguir luchando" or "lucha en". 

Either way, Quiroz gets the concept of Fight On as much as anyone.  He is a long way from home battling with his Trojan Family for another men's tennis national championship.

USC's next big test comes Friday at 10:30 a.m. (singles starts at Noon) at Marks Stadium.  Here is Quiroz's bilingual preview of the dual match on Pac-12 Networks:

Photo Gallery: WWP Senior Day

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USC women's water polo celebrated its national championship-winning senior class Wednesday recognizing a decorated group featuring Flora Bolonyai, Kaleigh Gilchrist, Kelly Mendoza, Colleen O'Donnell, Olivia Cummins and Madeline Rosenthal.

The Women of Troy were unable to defeat UCLA dropping a physical 6-4 conference regular season finale, but they will likely see their rivals again in the MPSF and/or NCAA Championships, which will both be held at the Uytengsu Aquatics Center.

Here are the John McGillen photos from yesterday's rivalry clash:

wpolo v UCLA Gallery - Images by John McGillen

Wesley to Transfer

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USC men's basketball leading scorer Byron Wesley announced via Twitter that he will graduate this summer and transfer to another school for his final year of eligibility.

Head coach Andy Enfield: "We wish Byron well and we thank him for his valuable contributions to our program.  We are happy for him that he will leave USC with his degree.  He had a very productive career here and I am sure he will do well wherever his career takes him."

Here is Wesley's announcement in four Tweets: