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The Men Behind the Women of Troy

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For the first week, Michael Cooper called him Carlos.  Now, he has earned the nickname Carlos Bryant for his on-court skills.

His real name is Korri Ennis and he is one of the men who push the Women of Troy to achieve their athletic best.

"We are asked to do everything we can to make the girls better," said Ennis, who is one of 10-15 guys who make up the women's basketball practice squad.  "Our defensive intensity, speed and agility, they want us to bring it, so it will eventually make the girls better."

Ennis-Action.JPGEnnis is an eye-catching athlete, who simulates and often enhances the experience of playing against the nation's best women.

"Especially going against UCLA and Stanford, these guys are so much better than a lot of the girls that play at this level, so it really helps to prepare us," said freshman Cassie Harberts, who is preparing to play #3 Stanford this Friday night at Galen Center.

Ennis is in his second stint on the practice squad, so he has learned to never underestimate the skill and physicality of the Women of Troy.

"You can get really hurt out here," joked Ennis about the Trojan elbows that keep him grounded at times.  "They are Pac-10 players and they really know how to play.  They are very good at what they do.  If you come out here and you are not ready to play and you are not on your guard, you will get hurt."

Ennis cited Kari Laplante and Briana Gilbreath as two players most likely to stick him with the chicken wing.

"He's always up on us," Harbers retorted.  "We have to get him off somehow."

While Ennis obviously does not suit up for the games, he and the rest of the guys are considered part of the team, which includes getting yelled at by Cooper and his staff.

"When we are not playing to the best of our abilities, they have no problem letting us know that we have to step it up," said Ennis, who also has to run suicides and do push-ups when his team loses.

Ennis was originally spotted playing pick-up games in the Lyon Center when he arrived as a transfer from Florida.  After a year on the practice squad, he was pushed by the women to go after his dream and walk-on to the men's team, which he did successfully last season.

While he wanted to spend his senior year at USC concentrating on his future career in finance, Ennis was easily lured back into the women's program.

"I love the girls," he said.  "I feel a part of them and a part of their family."

Ennis (center) will be cheering on the women against Stanford and Cal this weekend at Galen.
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