April 2013 Archives

Walk Your Bike!

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As part of the 2013 Tommy Awards, each team submitted a funny video to be voted on by all the student-athletes.  The best original work was done by USC women's volleyball.

Click here for the 2013 Tommy Award winners and photos.

2013 Tommy Awards

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USC student-athletes gathered last night for the annual Tommy Awards to celebrate each other and the previous year in Trojan athletics. 

What are the Tommy Awards?  This video explains it (sort of).

Here is the list of 2013 winners which honors 2012 accomplishments:

Team of the Year - Men's Water Polo

Male Athlete of the Year - Steve Johnson, Men's Tennis

Female Athlete of the Year - Natalie Hagglund, Women's Volleyball

Male Trojan of the Year - Kevin Swick, Baseball

Female Trojan of the Year - Katie Fuller, Women's Volleyball

Best Single Competition Performance - Marqise Lee vs. Arizona

Record-Breaking Performance - Katinka Hosszu, Women's Swimming

Male Rising Star - Kostas Genidounias, Men's Water Polo

Female Rising Star - Cassie Harberts, Women's Basketball

Male Rookie of the Year - Micah Christenson, Men's Volleyball

Female Rookie of the Year - Sabrina Santamaria, Women's Tennis

Head Coach of the Year - Jovan Vavic, Water Polo

Assistant Coach of the Year - Jeremy Kipp, Men's Swimming

Staff Member of the Year - Whitney Rotrock, Stevens Academic Center

Here are the photos from the night courtesy of Jenn Kassar:

Racing to the Next Challenge

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USC All-American junior swimmer Vladimir Morozov announced that he is turning pro after winning a trio of NCAA titles this season to go along with his bronze medal from London 2012.  Morozov made the announcement via his Twitter account.

Morozov made waves at the NCAA Championships this spring by winning both the 50y and 100y sprint titles as well as anchoring the champion 4x100y relay team.  He also posted a record split in the 4x50y relay.

"We are proud that Vlad can continue his dream as a professional swimmer," said USC swimming head coach Dave Salo.  "He has made an unrivaled impact on our program, and we will continue to work with him to impact the world of swimming. We will miss his athletic contributions to the Trojans, but his impact will continue."


Bryshon Beasting

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USC senior sprinter Bryshon Nellum was named the Pac-12 Track Athlete of the Week for winning the 200 meter, 400 meter and 4x400 meter relay at the Dual Meet last weekend. 

Click here for the full story.

While Nellum owns a silver medal from London 2012 for his prowess in the 400, he opened up eyes in the track world with his blistering 20.37 in the 200.  The time was a personal best for Nellum, but also this year's best collegiate time and fourth best in the world, and fourth on the all-time USC list.

Nellum will be a favorite in all three races at the Pac-12 Championships at USC coming up May 11 and 12.  Click here for tickets.


Galen Center Making Noise

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While USC athletic events will still take top priority, Galen Center could be the new hot spot for big Los Angeles concerts after signing a partnership with Nederlander Concerts.  Galen could fill the void left by the closing of the Gibson Amphitheatre at Universal City.

Click here for the full story in the LA Times.

"This gives us an indoor place for those shows that need to be indoors, and for winter months it gives us the opportunity to replace some of the shows that would be at Gibson on a 12-month basis," said Nederlander Concerts Chief Executive Alex Hodges.


Championship Season

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With six active programs in the top 5 nationally, USC is eying a spring of hardware led by women's water polo and women's golf, which both earned NCAA Tournament No. 1 seeds this week.

After women's water polo took home the MPSF crown, the Women of Troy were rewarded with the overall top seed and a first round date with Pomona-Pitzer (May 10 at Harvard).  No. 2 Stanford and No. 3 UCLA are on the other half of the eight-team bracket (pictured below).

Click here for the full story on women's water polo.

As for women's golf, the Trojans won five tournament titles this season to rightfully earn the top spot in the NCAA Tournament West Regional. If the Women of Troy finish in the top eight of their 24-team regional, they advance to the NCAA Championship in Athens, GA (May 21-24).

Click here for the full story on women's golf.


Coaches Tour Dates

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The annual USC Athletics road show will hit seven California cities this May and June.  The Coaches Tour program features a Q&A with Lane Kiffin and new men's basketball head coach Andy Enfield plus special guest student-athletes, performances by the Trojan Marching Band and a silent auction.

Click here for more.

Legendary head coach John Robinson will serve as the emcee as the USC Coaches Tour stops in Newport Beach (May 20), Manhattan Beach (May 21), Pasadena (May 23), La Jolla (May 28), Indian Wells (May 31), San Francisco (June 5) and Atherton (June 6).

To RSVP, click here to email or click here to reserve online.

Enfield-Wall-Ball-McG.jpg(Photo by John McGillen)

Student-Athlete Graduation

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The Trojan Family is invited to celebrate the culmination of another year in USC Athletics at the annual Student-Athlete Graduation at Galen Center on Thursday, May 16.  The ceremony begins at 2 p.m. with a reception to follow.

Click here to RSVP and get more info.

Matt vs. Matt

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Now that he is officially an NFL QB, we want to issue a big thank you to Matt Barkley who not only served the football program, athletic department and university as an exemplary Trojan, but was an honorary member of our video and social media team as the host of the Project Tro7an app.

We certainly could not have done all the "Matt vs." without Matt, so we are sending him off with a special Barkley blooper reel.

Cooper-Dyke Names Staff

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In her first season, USC women's basketball head coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke will be assisted by Brandy Manning (associate head coach), Evan Unrau (returning assistant) and Jualeah Woods.  The new staff has built a reputation as strong recruiters and teachers.

Click here for the full story.

"One of the things I really wanted was to bring in some strong recruiters and people who were really strong teachers of basketball, because I really like to teach basketball," Cooper-Dyke said. "Brandy is so well-rounded in his ability to coach Xs and Os and recruit. He is just phenomenal at teaching, motivating and recruiting.

"Jualeah is just a great person. She's been at San Diego State for years. I love her personality and her ability to recruit, especially on the West Coast. She's a really strong recruiter and I really feel like she'll help make this staff great. Evan has done such a fantastic job in her one year here, too, so I'm really excited about how this staff has taken shape."

Manning joins USC after five seasons at Arizona, while Woods is a former Trojan player who enjoyed a long stint assisting at San Diego State.


Pac-12 Doubles Double

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While Sabrina Santamaria and Kaitlyn Christian are dynamic on their own, USC women's tennis' top doubles team is an unbeatable combination.  Santamaria and Christian are now 30-0 this season with the latest win making them back-to-back Pac-12 doubles champions. 

Click here for the complete recap.

Santamaria and Christian easily handled UCLA's duo 6-3, 6-3 in the final at Ojai.  They will pursue the NCAA doubles crown starting May 22 after the team championships in Illinois.


Right Back at You

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In the world of women's collegiate water polo, USC and Stanford stand above everybody else in 2013.  It would take a major upset for the Women of Troy and Cardinal not to meet in the NCAA Title Match.

The two titans have met three times this season with USC throwing the first haymaker in a 13-10 win at the UCI Invitational final in February.  Stanford countered by grinding out a 6-4 slobberknocker two weeks ago.

The Women of Troy have the upper hand now though and the hardware to show for it after beating the Cardinal 11-7 to win the MPSF Tournament Sunday for the first time since 2009.  The Trojans claimed their third MPSF title, and now await seeding in the NCAA Tournament, which begins May 10.

Hannah Buckling paced the Trojans with four goals, while Monica Vavic added a hat trick.  Goalie Flora Bolonyai was the difference making nine saves which was five more than her Stanford counterpart.


A Milestone Win

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With a postseason berth on the line, USC women's lacrosse went on the road and came through in the clutch with a 12-11 win over San Diego State to advance to the MPSF Tournament in its inaugural season.  The Women of Troy finished the regular season 8-9 overall and 5-3 in conference (4th place).

Click here for the recap.

"For us, our main goal has been improving throughout the year, and we did that," said head coach Lindsey Munday. "There was a stretch in the middle of the season where we had a couple of losses in games that we maybe could have won. I'm really proud of the girls for not shutting down, then. We're really excited to have the opportunity to play in the MPSF tournament. It's really special and I'm really proud of the girls."

Munday's Trojans, picked to finish 7th, have exceeded expectations in year one.Munday-NW1-PC.jpg

Photo Gallery: 2013 Dual Meet

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For the first time since 2006, UCLA swept USC in the Dual Meet.  In a losing effort, the Trojans received standout performances from Bryshon Nellum (200m, 400m and 1600m relay winner), Aaron Brown (100m, 400m relay and 1600m relay winner) and Akawkaw Ndipagbor (women's 200m, 400m relay and 1600m relay winner).

Click here for the recap.

Here are all the John McGillen photos including football All-American Marqise Lee finishing third in the long jump:

2013 NFL Draft Recap

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USC had four players drafted this week which makes the record total 480 all-time Trojans selected. 

A pair of 2011 All-Americans started the action on day two as WR Robert Woods went to the Bills (41st overall pick in the 2nd round) and S T.J. McDonald was selected by the Rams (71st pick in the 3rd round).  The Eagles kicked off the final day by making QB Matt Barkley the first pick of the 4th round (98th overall pick), and then the QB's longtime cohort C Khaled Holmes was given a 4th round call by the Colts with the 121st pick overall.

Immediately after the draft, CB Nickell Robey (Bills), S Jawanza Starling (Texans), DE Wes Horton (Panthers) and RB Curtis McNeal (Steelers) were signed as free agents, according to


2013 NFL Draft: Khaled Holmes

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NFL Draftee: Khaled Holmes

Round Selected (Overall): 4th round (121st pick)

Team: Indianapolis Colts

USC center Khaled Holmes was selected with the 121st overall pick in the 4th round by the Indianapolis Colts. 

The Trojan captain will snap to Andrew Luck if he stays on the ball, but he provides versatility as a former guard at Troy.  He is the highest drafted USC center since Ryan Kalil was taken in the 2nd round in 2007.


2013 NFL Draft: Matt Barkley

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Matt Barkley NFLEagles]_00000.jpgUSC QB Matt Barkley was selected with the first pick of the 4th round (98th overall) by the Philadelphia Eagles, who traded up to get him.  Barkley will be coached by former Oregon head coach Chip Kelly who saw the QB throw for 807 yards and 9 TDs in the last two games against the Ducks.

While Barkley slipped down the draft significantly from where he was projected to go, the all-time Pac-12 TD pass record holder joins the likes of fellow USC QBs Rodney Peete (6th rounder), Paul McDonald (4th rounder), Rob Johnson (4th rounder), Vince Evans (6th rounder) and Pat Haden (7th rounder) who all enjoyed prosperous NFL careers.

Here is a look at what the Eagles are getting in Barkley:

2013 NFL Draft: T.J. McDonald

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TJ_Draft-Correct.jpgUSC All-American safety T.J. McDonald was selected 71st overall in the 3rd round by the St. Louis Rams.  He was the second Trojan taken in the 2013 NFL Draft.

McDonald will play for former USC defensive back Jeff Fisher, the head coach of the Rams.  He is the highest Trojan safety drafted since Taylor Mays (49th overall) in 2010.

Tim McDonald, T.J.'s dad, was also a USC All-American and drafted by St. Louis.  He played one year in that city before the Cardinals moved to Arizona.

T.J. McDonald led the Trojans with 110 tackles in 2012.  He had eight career interceptions.

2013 NFL Draft: Robert Woods

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Woods NFL Draft.jpgUSC WR Robert Woods was selected by the Buffalo Bills in the second round with the 41st overall pick.  He was the first Trojan taken in the 2013 NFL Draft, and he becomes the 477th USC alum selected all-time (more than any other school).

Woods will join the Bills which currently do not have any other Trojans on the roster.  He is the highest drafted Trojan receiver since Mike Williams was selected 10th overall in 2005.

He leaves USC as the school's all-time receptions leader and a 2011 All-American.

Dual Meet Info

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USC is hosting the annual Dual Meet with UCLA at the Loker Track Stadium this Saturday beginning at 11 a.m. PT on campus. Tickets ($10 for adults, $5 for students with ID) can be purchased at the gate in cash. 

The live stream will begin at Noon PT.  Click here to view the live stream.

Due to the March of Dimes for Babies walk, several streets around campus will be closed until 1 p.m. We recommend that you approach campus from the west side (Vermont Ave.) and use entrance 1 (Exposition and Watt Way), entrance 5 (Jefferson and McClintock), entrance 6 (Vermont and 36th) or entrance 8 (Jefferson and Orchard).

Click here for a Dual Meet preview.

ERDELYI-Zsofia-USC-UCLA-KL.JPG(Photo by Kirby Lee)

Ready, Set, Rivalry

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Co-written by Sarah Bergstrom and Andie Hagemann, USC blog contributors

The USC-UCLA Dual Meet is a tradition rich in history. Like the other programs at USC, the rivalry match-up with the Bruins is a date that is circled on the calendar every year. Emotions run high as athletes who have competed against each other for years, both in college and elsewhere, look to defend their side of LA. After splitting the meet last season, USC is looking to take down their crosstown rival at Loker Stadium on Saturday (starting at 11 a.m.).

Brown at Texas RelaysKL.jpg"We've battled each other and have traditionally at the NCAA, conference, and Dual Meet levels," said Ron Allice, Director of Track and Field. "There have been periods of history, in the early years, that USC absolutely dominated, and then UCLA's track program really started to flourish and things changed. It has kind of alternated back and forth. Things started to change because of Title IX. Men's scholarships dropped from 30 all the way down to 12. The women's scholarships went from zero to 18."

This year, the USC men's team is ranked No. 9 and the women's team is ranked No. 23. Both UCLA men's and women's teams are ranked No. 13.

"They are favored this year on both the men's and women's sides," Allice said. "You can be a certain type of team. You can be a Dual Meet team, conference team, or an NCAA team. The setting we have here at USC, a private school with high tuition and the inability to give partial scholarships, hurts us because our depth and balance is not what it used to be.  I'm not making any excuses, that is just the way it is."

Though the Bruins are favored, the Trojans are not out of the race yet. In the past, some meets have come down to the performances of non-scholarship athletes. "People do things they don't normally do," said Allice. "There has been a history of people who weren't even supposed to be in the picture making a difference. Someone scores a point in an event they've never done before and we end up winning the meet by one. That's the beauty of the sport, you never know."

Allice thinks the marquee events on the men's side will be the 100m, 200m, 400m and intermediate hurdles. Bryshon Nellum and Aaron Brown (pictured by Kirby Lee), two of this season's biggest stories for the Trojans, will be featured in these events. Nellum currently has the third fastest 200m and 400m collegiate time in the country, while Brown has the fastest 200m and seventh fastest 100m time. 

On the women's side, Allice says all the events should be incredibly competitive as the higher number of scholarships allows for a more balanced array of talent in different events. 

"We will dominate certain areas and they will dominate certain areas," Allice said. "And in the events where we are both competitive, those events will determine who wins the meet."

Because of the storied rivalry between USC and UCLA, the Dual Meet attracts fans that do not necessarily follow track and field regularly. "There are a lot of people who attend the Dual Meet that normally will not attend meets throughout the course of the year just because of the rivalry," Allice said. "We will get a lot of football-based fans because Marqise Lee is going to jump. If a football player is going to put a pair of shorts and a singlet on and show that he can do something else that will attract a crowd."

With pride and PR's on their minds, the Trojans will take to the track at 11 a.m. at Loker Stadium on Saturday April 27.

Volley for the Environment

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No. 4 USC women's sand volleyball will prepare for the AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball Championship by taking on the USA Junior Beach National Team featuring 2012 captain Geena Urango in an exhibition Saturday at Merle Norman Stadium.

Click here for the full story.

The match will be a Zero Waste event with the focus on recycling and composting all garbage so that it does not end up in a landfill.  The Women of Troy are doubling down on their environmental commitment by doing a beach cleanup today in Santa Monica at the Annenberg Beach House.

Sam Hirschmann and Kirby Burnham doing their part today.

Not Again Taj

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USC men's basketball great Taj Gibson seems to save his best dunks for the postseason.  He made a name for himself by posterizing Dwyane Wade two years ago, and last night, he abused Kris Humphries (insert Kim Kardashian joke here) en route to a Bulls victory and series lead.

Stronger People, Stronger Athletes

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By Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contibutor

The USC-UCLA Dual Meet is this Saturday (April 27) starting at 11 a.m. PT at Loker Track Stadium on campus.

The throwing events included in the sport of track and field are all about strength. When someone pictures a typical hammer thrower, an image of a giant, intimidating and physically strong, comes to mind. Without a doubt, it takes incredible physical strength to power a heavy, metal object through the air for hundreds of feet. However, it's not often that people notice or applaud the mental strength that is also required for these athletes to be successful on the field. 

Ozorai-Hammer-NCAA.jpgThe USC women's throwing squad has a storied history and has continued to be incredibly successful this season. Their dominance has been across multiple events but most notably in the hammer throw where USC has had 12 female athletes score at the NCAA Championships in the past 14 seasons. These women have assuredly been strong, but head throwing coach Dan Lange has learned that good marks always begin with great character. 

"I think we are successful because we go out and get the right girls. We emphasize personal development first with the theory that better, stronger people make better, stronger athletes. We've also gotten leadership from some of the better athletes to create a cohesive environment of success," says Lange. 

All but one of the top ten male and female hammer throwers in the school's history have been coached by Lange and all but one of the record-holders in men's and women's hammer, discus, javelin and shot put have been coached by Lange as well. This legacy has included international throwers, Olympic throwers, and throwers of all shapes and sizes, but one constant has been the establishment of individual character and strength within his athletes. 

Jenny Ozorai fits this description to a T. A two-time All American from Hungary, Ozorai followed in the footsteps of former Trojan greats like Eva Orban, Balazs Kiss, and Julianna Tudja by coming to USC to compete in the hammer throw. Lange says the continued success of recruiting in Eastern Europe can be attributed to the positive reports Hungarian athletes have sent home after coming to school at USC.

According to Lange, the Trojans have had an athlete from Hungary on the squad every year since 1992. Ozorai's success as a Trojan began immediately as she finished sixth and fourth in the hammer throw in her freshman and sophomore seasons at the NCAA Championships, respectively. She also finished 3rd and 2nd at the Pac-12 Championships in those seasons and is second all-time on the female throwers list with a throw of 223-4.

This year, the junior started her season winning the Trojan Invitational with a throw of 204-0. She later won the Cal State LA Invitational with a season best throw of 209-5 (63.84m) winning for the second time in two meets. Her goal is to chase down the top spot on the USC all-time hammer throw list, beat her current collegiate PR of 223-4, and place in the Top 3 at NCAAs. 

Hurdling the Pack

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Written by Andie Hagemann, USC blog contributor

The USC-UCLA Dual Meet is this Saturday (April 27) starting at 11 a.m. PT at Loker Track Stadium on campus.

Wyatt-NCAA-KL.jpgBreaking records isn't anything new to Reggie Wyatt. During his fours seasons at USC, Wyatt has consistently edged out the competition, proving to be one of the top 400m hurdlers in the country.

As a freshman, the hurdler and sprinter moved into ninth place in USC history with a time of 49.97 in the 400m IH during the Pac-10 Championships. Aside from other accolades during his first year with the USC track and field program, Wyatt earned bronze while representing the United States at the U-23 NACAC Championships.

The immense success for Wyatt was not a case of beginner's luck.

During Wyatt's sophomore and junior seasons, he continued to break records. In 2011, he set a then-personal record in the 400m IH with a time of 49.41 at the Pac-10 Championships. The improvement moved Wyatt to the eighth spot on USC's all-time list. In 2012, he continued his streak of three consecutive seasons as a two-time winner at the USC-UCLA Dual Meet. On Saturday, Wyatt hopes to extend that streak to four.

"This is my last Dual Meet. It has been a great journey and Saturday will be a lot of fun," Wyatt said. "I'm not focusing on the streak. I am going to go out there, go all out and enjoy it."

Hailing from Riverside, the Dual Meet has always held great importance to Wyatt. "Before I even decided to come to USC, I would watch this specific track meet," Wyatt said. "Watching the rivalry then and now being a part of it feels so different. I take it seriously."

Wyatt credits his success throughout his past four seasons to the high level of competition at USC and within the conference.

125 Days to Kickoff in Hawaii

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The 2013 season opener between USC and Hawaii on Thursday, August 29, will kickoff at 5 p.m. in Honolulu (8 p.m. PT) and be carried live nationally on CBS Sports Network. 

Click here to book a vacation package to join the Trojans in Hawaii.

The Trojans and Warriors opened the season with a Thursday night game in 2010, which USC won 49-36 and began the Lane Kiffin era.  Hawaii is coached by former USC offensive coordinator Norm Chow.


NFL Draft Infographic

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When it comes to the NFL Draft, USC is historically unparalleled with more first round draft picks and total players selected than any other school in the country.  Five Trojans have been taken No. 1 overall which ties Notre Dame and Auburn for the most all-time.

The NFL Draft starts tonight, so don't memorize these numbers because Matt Barkley, Robert Woods and the rest of the 2013 hopefuls are ready to join the Trojans in the NFL fraternity.


Queens of the Conference

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No. 1 USC women's golf had all five starters make Pac-12 All-Conference teams after winning the Pac-12 Championships by 24 strokes.  Annie Park, the individual Pac-12 champion, Sophia Popov, conference runner-up, and Kyung Kim were named to the first team.

Doris Chen, the 2012 Pac-12 champion, made the second team, while Rachel Morris was given honorable mention.  The Women of Troy's remarkable depth has led to an historic season with five tournament wins and favorite status heading into the NCAA Championships.

Here are the highlights from Pac-12s featuring head coach Andrea Gaston:

Christian Honored Before Ojai

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As No. 5 USC women's tennis prepares for the Pac-12 Championships in Ojai this weekend, Kaitlyn Christian was named the conference player of the week for winning in singles and doubles against UCLA.  Christian and Sabrina Santamaria will be the Pac-12 favorites in the doubles competition after completing a perfect 26-0 regular season as a tandem.

Click here for the full story.

Christian has been nearly as impressive as a singles player going 8-0 in Pac-12 dual matches and compiling a 21-6 overall record.  Of the 14 Pac-12 women's tennis weekly winners this season, a Women of Troy player has collected the honors nine times.


Rose Bowl Makeover

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In honor of its 100th birthday, the Rose Bowl is sporting a new logo and a new trophy for the January 1, 2014, bowl game.  "The Granddaddy of Them All" has been won by USC a record 24 times.

Screen Shot 2013-04-25 at 10.44.30 AM.png

Pac-12 Sweep for Women's Golf

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No. 1 USC women's golf dusted the field at the Pac-12 Championships winning the conference team title by 24 strokes.  The Women of Troy made it a clean sweep as Annie Park claimed the individual Pac-12 crown becoming the third consecutive USC freshman to win the conference.

Click here for the complete recap.

As a team, the Trojans finished at 11-under closing like champions with a 6-under final round.  They have won five tournaments this season which ties a school record.

The individual tournament came down to a dual between USC teammates Park and junior Sophia Popov.  Park sealed her championship with a birdie on 18 to complete a remarkably consistent week with rounds of 70, 70 and 69.


2013 NFL Draft: Curtis McNeal

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NFL Network Draft Video

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2013 NFL Draft: Wes Horton

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2013 NFL Draft: Nickell Robey

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2013 NFL Draft: Jawanza Starling

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Primetime in South Bend

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The USC at Notre Dame game on October 19 will kickoff at 7:30 p.m. (local time) and be broadcast nationally on NBC. 

In 2011, the Trojans and Fighting Irish squared off in primetime in South Bend for the first time in rivalry history (which dates back to 1926), so this equals the latest start time in the greatest intersectional rivalry (home or away).  Two years ago, USC defeated Notre Dame 31-17 in the first home night game at Notre Dame Stadium since 1990.

Jawanza Starling's fumble return for a touchdown silenced the raucous crowd in 2011.
Starling-NDreturn-DA.jpg(Photo by Dan Avila)

Dedmon Declares

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USC junior center Dewayne Dedmon has decided to forego his final season of eligibility to enter the NBA Draft.

"It's just my time to chase my dream and go to the NBA," said Dedmon. "I had a great time at USC and it was a good experience. I had some ups and downs and learned a lot and believe it is best for me to turn professional at this time. I wish USC, Andy Enfield and all my teammates all the best moving forward. Andy is a good guy and I believe he will do great things here."

Dedmon played two seasons at Troy.  His sophomore season was cut short by a knee injury, but he led the Trojans in rebounding (7.0 per game), blocks (66) and steals (34) as a junior.


Growing the Lumber

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While USC baseball is rebuilding under head coach Dan Hubbs, the young Trojans are starting to show glimmers of real hope particularly at the plate.  The team boasts seven different players batting .300 or better on the season.

On a roster that is made up of 50% freshmen (17 of 34), two of the top seven hitters are neophytes - Blake Lacey (.349) and Bobby Stahel (.321).  USC has given freshmen more than twice as many at-bats as any other team in the Pac-12, and the class has responded by hitting .280 combined.

Click here for more on the young Trojans.

On the mound, true freshman Kyle Twomey leads the team in strikeouts, while fellow freshman Kyle Davis is the staff leader in wins this season.  A third freshman, Brent Wheatley, pitched three hitless innings recently to combine with junior Sean Silva on the Trojans first one-hitter since 1996.

USC has won three of its last four as the Trojans continue an eight-game road trip with a series at Oregon State this weekend.  At 8-10 in the Pac-12, USC has already matched last year's conference win total.

Sophomore Dante Flores leads the team with a .356 batting average.

Project Trojan: The New Defense

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Aside from the quarterback battle, Clancy Pendergast's new 5-2 defense was the biggest storyline of spring practice.  In the new scheme, USC will attack the line of scrimmage with five dangerous pass rushers, which led to double-digit sacks in the Spring Game.

Here is a look at the new defense in the latest episode of "Project Trojan":

A Walk in the Park

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No. 1 USC women's golf extended its first place lead after day two of the Pac-12 Championships thanks to another sterling round by freshman Annie Park, who has carded back-to-back 70s to tie for the individual tournament lead.  The Women of Troy were not as sharp as round one, but still lead second place UCLA by 11 strokes.

Click here for the tournament website.

While Sophia Popov stumbled to a 75 after an opening round 66, she is just one stroke off Park and Stanford's Mariah Stackhouse in the individual race.  USC's Doris Chen is at 1-under and sitting in a tie for sixth.

The final round is Wednesday at Valencia Country Club. 

Park has made eight birdies and only four bogeys in two solid rounds.
Park-Annie1-Pac12-DA.JPG(Photo by Dan Avila)

Mustain Doc

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A documentary about the childhood and athletic career of former USC QB Mitch Mustain is set to debut at the Little Rock Film Festival.  The Identity Theft of Mitch Mustain is narrated by legendary Arkansas men's basketball coach Nolan Richardson.

Mustain started only one game as a Trojan, but he led the Razorbacks to 8 consecutive victories as a freshman before transferring to Troy.  Here's a preview of his documentary:

Sand Volley Gets the Nod

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In the program's second season, USC women's sand volleyball has been selected to compete in the American Volleyball Coaches Association Collegiate Sand Volleyball National Championship tournament in Gulf Shores, Ala., May 3 to 5.

Click here for the full story.

The Women of Troy felt spurned not to make the final four last year, but they will battle the six-team field for a national championship in 2013.  The Trojans are seeded No. 4 behind Pepperdine, Long Beach State and Florida State.

USC's top two pairs, Kirby Burnham-Stevi Robinson and Katie Fuller-Cinnamon Sary, will also compete in the pairs championship.

Burnham and the Trojans are ready to take on the nation's best.

Opening Round Statement

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No. 1 USC women's golf set a sprinting pace at the Pac-12 Championships in Valencia by posting an impressive 8-under round as a team to lead the tournament by 10 strokes after day one of three.  The Women of Troy were led by Sophia Popov who shot 66 to lead the individual field.

Click here for all the scores.

Freshman Annie Park is 2-under in second place behind Popov, while five Trojans are in the top 10.

Popov has the field lined up behind her.

Busy Summer Ahead

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USC junior Vladimir Morozov will swim five individual events at the 2013 FINA World Championships in Barcelona this summer after winning the 50-meter and 100-meter free, 50-meter backstroke, 50-meter breaststroke, and finishing second in the 100-meter backstroke at the Russian National Championships.

Click here for the story.

After a record-setting NCAA Championships, Morozov is filled with confidence and momentum that he can win big on the world stage.  He set a world's best time of 47.93 in the 100m free final in Kazan, Russia.

Morozov took home bronze from London 2012 in the 400m free relay.


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No. 1 USC women's rowing has won both of its events this season following up on the season opening victory in San Diego with an equally impressive championship at the Natoma Invitational.  The field at Lake Natoma included No. 2 Cal and No. 8 Stanford.

Click here for the recap.

Next up: The Trojans battle rivals UCLA in Marina Del Rey on May 4.

Women's Rowing JJMoore.jpg(Photo by Jonathan Moore)

Emphatic Response

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While it took all year, Jovan Vavic finally got to see how USC women's water polo responds to a loss.  The Women of Troy took out their frustrations on UCLA last Friday with a resounding 11-6 victory to close the regular season.

Click here for the recap.

The No. 2 Trojans will head up to Berkeley this week for the MPSF Championships and another possible showdown with No. 1 Stanford.  Both teams will be tipped to meet one final time at the NCAA Championships at Harvard in May.

Here are the highlights of USC's win over UCLA led by three goals apiece from Anni Espar and Kaleigh Gilchrist:

Playing Keep Away

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USC women's lacrosse was supposed to be on the wrong end of blowouts in its inaugural season, but instead, the Women of Troy executed a ruthless demolition of Fresno State defeating the Bulldogs 19-1 in the final home game of the season.  Simply put, freshman Amanda Johansen (pictured) never let Fresno get the ball by winning 13 draw controls, which is just two shy of the NCAA single game record.

Click here for the recap.

The Trojans' season comes down to one definitive game this Saturday at San Diego State as USC needs a win to secure a place in the MPSF Tournament, which carries an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament for the conference champion.

Johansen-1-NW-McG.JPG(Photo by John McGillen)

Eagle Eyed

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Four-time USC women's golf All-American Lizette Salas is enjoying her best run of form on the LPGA Tour.  Last week, she was in contention for the first major of the year at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, and she followed that performance by losing a playoff at the Lotte Championship, her best finish as a pro.

Read Salas' remarkable life story written by Bill Dwyre in "The Trojan Way": TrojanWay-Salas.pdf

Salas also made the SportsCenter Top 10 for her incredible eagle on the Par 4 10th hole.  Check it out...

Gauntlet Update: Women's Water Polo Sweep

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USC teams went 2-1 last week against the Bruins as women's water polo completed the regular season sweep of UCLA with an emphatic 11-6 victory in Westwood Friday.  While women's tennis won 6-1 on Thursday, men's tennis fell 4-3 to the Bruins on Friday.  All three teams could meet their rivals again in postseason play, so the points are not set in stone. 

Updated standings: UCLA 47.5, USC 40.

This week, USC women's golf will see UCLA as part of the Pac-12 Championships in Valencia (April 22-24), but the big head-to-head match-up is Saturday at Loker Track Stadium as the Trojans and Bruins square off in the annual Dual Meet.

Led by Bryshon Nellum, men's and women's track can put USC in front.

Photo Gallery: Women's Tennis Overwhelms UCLA

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The much anticipated showdown between No. 5 USC women's tennis and No. 7 UCLA turned into a coronation for the Women of Troy as they trounced the Bruins (6-1) en route to finishing a perfect 10-0 as undisputed Pac-12 champions.  No. 1 singles Sabrina Santamaria set the tone by defeating her Bruin counterpart (6-1, 6-0), including winning the final 12 games of the match.

Click here for the video highlights.

John McGillen was on hand to capture Senior Day for Danielle Lao, Valerie Pulido and Jackie Owens followed by the Trojans season sweep of their crosstown rivals...

Enfield Fills Out Staff

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New USC men's basketball head coach Andy Enfield filled the final spot in his coaching staff with Kevin Norris, who assisted Enfield the previous two seasons at Florida Gulf Coast.  Norris joins Tony Bland and Jason Hart on the Trojans' coaching roster.

Click here for the full story.

"Kevin has great experience as a successful player in the Big East," said Enfield. "He has a number of records at Miami, played professional ball for many years and has been an excellent assistant coach since his playing career ended. Kevin does a great job of relating to players and is a valuable addition to our program."

Norris is the only player in Hurricanes history to lead the program in assists for four consecutive seasons.  He played professionally in Europe as well as the American Basketball Association (ABA).

KNorris-FGCU.jpg(Photo via FGCU)

Men's Volleyball Camp

USC men's volleyball head coach Bill Ferguson, who has led the Trojans to the Final Four in three of the last five seasons, is hosting an advanced skill volleyball camp designed for boys between the ages of 14 to 18 seeking to maximize their potential in all areas of the game on July 30 - August 1. 

Click here for more and to register.

Ferguson and his staff will provide top quality instruction, dormitory on campus housing, meals, state-of-the-art facilities and much more.


Project Trojan: Sideline Soundtrack

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What does it sound like to be on the USC sideline for the Spring Game?  We went field level with our microphones so that you could find out.

Here is the sideline soundtrack in the latest episode of Project Trojan:

Rally Time

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USC football will host a pair of rallies this Saturday at the South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.) and Pier Plaza in Hermosa Beach (3-5 p.m.) featuring players, autograph signings and ticket giveaways.  The rallies are free to attend and open to all.

The rally at the Hermosa pier will also include a performance from the Trojan Marching Band, and can be paired with attending the USAV Beach Collegiate Challenge featuring USC women's sand volleyball all day on Hermosa Beach.

Here are some of the players scheduled to attend:

Orange County - Devon Kennard, Victor Blackwell, John Martinez, Kenny Bigelow and Kevin Greene

Hermosa Beach - Max Wittek, Leonard Williams, Lamar Dawson, Justin Davis and Leon McQuay III

Meet freshman RB Justin Davis who had a breakout spring.

A Week from Draft Night

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USC QB Matt Barkley and the rest of the outgoing Trojans are a week away from the NFL Draft, which now takes place over three days on ESPN and NFL Network.  Barkley went through the LA version of the ESPN car wash this week discussing his draft stock, arm strength and much more. 

Click here to listen to Barkley "In the Herd" with Colin Cowherd.

Here he is on the Grantland podcast with Robert Mays:

Festival of Books at USC

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USC will host the annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books this weekend on campus, which draws a crowd of thousands to see books come to life with cooking demonstrations, video screenings, autograph signings, live music and much more.

Click here for the event website.

On the athletics' side, there is a panel devoted to sports and sports writing featuring guests John Rosengren, Steven Travers and Celia Walden in the Norris Theater on Sunday at 10:30 a.m.  Also, champion figure skater Brian Boitano will host a cooking demo for his new recipe book on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

USC Athletics will also have a promotional booth in Founders' Park, come visit us!


Prep Stars to Trojan Greats

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The CIF-Southern Section released a list of its 100 greatest athletes in 100 years of Southern California high school athletics, and 29 of the 100 are Trojans.

Click here for the complete list.

Here are the high school stars who moved on to USC:

Palmer-HS-OC Varsity.jpg1915 Thomson, Earl B-T&F LB Poly
1918 Paddock, Charles B-T&F Pasadena
1922 Houser, Bud B-T&F Oxnard
1923 Copeland, Lillian G-T&F Los Angeles
1924 Drury, Morley Football LB Poly
1928 Wykoff, Frank B-T&F Glendale
1935 Zamperini, Lou Track Torrance
1949 O'Brien, Parry B-T&F Santa Monica
1949 Davis, Jack Track Hoover
1955 Dumas, Charles B-T&F Cent, Compton
1956 Mix, Ron Football Hawthorne
1963 Seagren, Bob B-T&F Pomona
1964 Yary, Ron Football Bellflower
1964 McCullouch, Earl Football L.B. Poly
1964 Smith, Stan B-Tennis Pasadena
1968 Westphal, Paul B-Basketball Aviation
1969 Cunningham, Sam Football Santa Barbara
1971 Haden, Pat Football Bishop Amat
1976 Munoz, Anthony Football Chaffey
1977 Lott, Ronnie Football Eisenhower
1979 Matthews, Bruce Football Arcadia
1982 Miller, Cheryl G-Basketball Riverside Poly
1982 Woodhead, Cynthia G-Swimming R Poly
1989 Evans, Janet G-Swimming El Dorado
1990 Leslie, Lisa G-Basketball Morningside
1998 Palmer, Carson Football Santa Margarita
2001 Leinart, Matt Football Mater Dei
2003 Felix, Allyson G-T&F L.A. Baptist
2005 Craig, Kami G-Water Polo Santa Barbara

(Photo of Palmer via

A Fairy Tale Ending

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

Danielle Lao will celebrate her Senior Day as No. 5 USC women's tennis takes on No. 7 UCLA today at 1:30 p.m. at Marks Stadium.
Once upon a time, the rivalry between USC and UCLA women's tennis was a lopsided one. This actually wasn't too long ago, as the Bruins won all four meetings between the teams from 2009 to 2011. It became difficult to see the match-up as a rivalry at all and it was at this point that the storyline for the Trojans hit a turning point. They needed a leader, someone they could look to for inspiration and determination, someone who understood that tennis is just as much a team sport as an individual one. 

Enter Danielle Lao. Lao was a member of the team from 2009 to 2011 and watched the Trojans struggle against their rivals and other Pac-10 opponents. She spent the first two years maturing, developing her game, and learning by watching teammates and coaches. 

"My first two years at USC were tough seasons. The journey from that experience to these past two years in which we've been very successful has meant everything to me," says Lao. 

In those first two seasons, the Trojans were 29-18 overall and finished ranked No. 20 and No. 19 in the nation. Lao considers that period a team struggle, but individually, her freshman and sophomore years were impressive. In her first season, she was voted ITA Southwest Rookie of the Year, was named to the All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention list, and finished with an individual record of 23-12. The following season, Lao finished ranked No. 23 in the country, secured All-Pac-10 Second Team honors, and improved on her individual record ending the season 26-13. 

"Coming in as a freshman I was the youngest girl on the team," explains Lao. "It took a lot of work on my part to mature as an individual in all aspects of my game, both physically and mentally. Every player has to go through that process and some have a faster learning curve than others. For me it's been a journey, reaching the end of that journey now I can see how far I've come and it's a great feeling."

The Scoop on Coop

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In case you missed it, Cynthia Cooper-Dyke was reintroduced to the Trojan Family as the new head coach of USC women's basketball Tuesday.

Click here to watch the press conference.

Click here to see a photo gallery.

Click here for her interview with

Click here for reaction from the LA Times.

Click here for the AP story.


Gauntlet Update: Finishing Kick

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For the first time in years, USC needs a late comeback to maintain its Gauntlet domination over UCLA.  The Trojans have owned the Crosstown Rivalry for the last five seasons, but trail 45-37.5 with a limited number of events remaining.

The action starts this week with men's and women's tennis.  The Women of Troy are looking for a season sweep over the Bruins on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. at Marks Stadium, which would add 2.5 more points to USC's total.  The men can make an even bigger dent with a Friday win in Westwood by taking 2.5 points off UCLA's total and adding 2.5 more to USC.

To simplify, if both tennis teams get the job done this week, the standings would be dead even. 

Also this week at UCLA, USC women's water polo will go for a regular season sweep.  If the Women of Troy can pick up a victory in conjunction with the aforementioned tennis success, the Trojans would be in front.

Of course, the series is far from over.  USC men's and women's golf and women's rowing have yet to meet their crosstown counterparts.  And, 10 points will be on the line at the Dual Meet on April 27 at the Loker Track Stadium.


Pac-12 All-Stars Summering in China

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The Pac-12 will send an All-Star Women's Volleyball team to China this summer led by USC head coach Mick Haley featuring All-American libero Natalie Hagglund and setter Hayley Crone from the Women of Troy.

Click here for the full release.

"I'm really excited for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to represent USC and to see a new country. It'll be extra special to have Natalie [Hagglund] and coach Haley there with me," said Crone.

This June, the all-star squad will play at least six matches against Chinese Professional Club Teams over two weeks in Beijing and Shanghai. In addition to the match experience, the 12 student-athletes selected will get a cultural introduction to China including visits to the Great Wall, Forbidden City and Summer Palace.

"I think, certainly, our Pac-12 athletes and the Conference will benefit from the competition and the cultural exchange," said Mick Haley. "What's exciting about this trip is the experience of new foods, different rules, differing styles of play and of course the opportunity to make new friends. The quality of play in China should be exceptional. China has over 100,000 club teams and university teams that play in leagues all over the country. Chinese fans are extremely loyal with a great national spirit for competition."

From left: Haley, Hagglund and Crone.

Cooper-Dyke Reintroduced

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USC legend Cynthia Cooper-Dyke was welcomed home today as she returns to Troy to take over as the head women's basketball coach. 

At her spirited introductory press conference, she was cheered on and peppered with questions by her former national champion teammates in attendance.  Cooper-Dyke made it clear that she will bring the fire that made her a superstar player to the job every day.

Photo Gallery: Cooper-Dyke Presser

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USC women's basketball introduced Cynthia Cooper-Dyke as its new head coach at a Tuesday reception inside Galen Center.  Cooper-Dyke was joined on stage by athletic director Pat Haden and senior women's athletics administrator Donna Heinel, and her current players and former teammates were in the audience to provide support.

Cooper-Dyke: "I wanted to be home. I wanted to be here. I wanted to be at USC. This is my dream job."

Project Trojan: Meet the Offensive Assistants

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In the newest episode of Project Trojan, running backs coach Tommie Robinson and offensive line coach Mike Summers are introduced to the Trojan Family.  After a physical spring, both men are ready to make a positive impact on their position groups.

Sabrina Seizes Her Spot

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Going into the season, USC women's tennis had three aces, but only one top spot.  With an eye towards the postseason, head coach Richard Gallien constantly shuffled the deck early in the campaign, and Sabrina Santamaria's card kept coming up trumps.

Santa-Christian-P12.jpgIn truth, Santamaria, Danielle Lao and Zoe Scandalis have all played well, especially during the current 12-match winning streak which has led to another Pac-12 title.  But, Santamaria has been nearly perfect this season boasting a 16-0 singles record in dual matches (10-0 playing No. 1 singles), and a 25-0 overall mark teaming up with Kaitlyn Christian at No. 1 doubles.

Gallien has continued his rotation policy as recently as last weekend's win over Oregon with Scandalis playing No. 1, but Santamaria's dominance was again on full display winning 6-0, 6-0 in the second position.  The sophomore has made a strong case for Pac-12 Player of the Year by collecting three Conference Player of the Week honors throughout the season.

Her versatility truly sets her apart.  Currently, she is ranked as the No. 2 singles player in the country, and Santamaria and Christian are the No. 2 NCAA doubles team having won back-to-back ITA National Indoor Championships.

Team tennis is an egalitarian pursuit with a win at No. 6 singles valued the same as No. 1, but with nothing but monster match-ups on the horizon for the No. 5 Women of Troy, starting this Thursday vs. UCLA at Marks Stadium (1:30 p.m. PT), Santamaria has proven to be a bankable point.  If she keeps up her winning ways at the top, a championship lineup could fall into place behind her.

Meet Darreus Rogers

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drogers.jpgName: Darreus Rogers

Position: Wide Receiver

Class: Freshman

Size: 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds

Age: 19

High School: Carson HS

Game: Rogers is built a bit bigger than the recent crop of speedy, route-runners that USC has featured at receiver.  While he is not a burner, he could develop into a valuable third down and red zone target if he learns to use his frame.

Prep Career: As a senior at Carson High, Rogers had 64 receptions for 1,251 yards and 10 TDs. He was the All-Marine League Co-Offensive Player of the Year as well as being named Max Preps All-State first team in 2011. He was originally a member of the 2012 recruiting class but was unable to enroll until the end of the first semester. Rogers was able to practice with the team before the Sun Bowl last season and so gained a little bit of experience on the other 2013 early entrants.

Spring Ball: Rogers will be thrown immediately into the mix this fall now that George Farmer is out for the season.  He started spring strong, but then missed the final weeks with shoulder and hamstring injuries.

To Quote Rogers: "I came in here with a big chip on my shoulder and it's given me something to work for each and every day."

(Photo via

Here is Rogers with our Sarah Bergstrom...

Stevens Academic Center Spotlight: Greg Zebrack

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

USC athletes are more than just champions on the field, court, diamond, and pool, they're champions in the classroom as well. Each week, we will get to know one of these scholarly Trojans a little better in our student-athlete spotlight. 

Name: Greg Zebrack
Year: Redshirt Senior
Sport: Baseball
Position: Outfield
Major: Masters of Business Administration
GPA: 3.4

(Zebrack graduated from Penn with a 3.4 GPA and a degree in Commerce and Communication in 2012. With one remaining year of eligibility, he decided to enroll in the master's program at USC this year and has maintained his 3.4 GPA.)

Sarah Bergstrom (SB): What's the biggest change coming from an Ivy League school to USC?

Greg Zebrack (GZ): It was pretty different because I went from undergrad to grad school, so the biggest difference is probably only having class two nights a week and being in class with 28 to 30 year-olds. That was the weirdest thing because you go from being in class with young kids to being in class with people who have kids themselves. 

SB: How does being in class with older people make a classroom setting different?

GZ: It was an adjustment at first. I had to sort of prove myself since I'm the youngest one in the program by far. I had to show that I am smart enough to be in the program with them. The other weird part is then going to practice on a team with 17 freshmen who are 17 and 18 years old. It's a strange transition. 

SB: Do you think that has made you more mature?

GZ: Absolutely. It's so different from an undergrad class. You can't have a bad answer and still be okay. You need to sound like you know what you're talking about and you need to go to class prepared. You really have to do your readings. There are a lot of times where the teachers just call on you at random and you better know the answer. 

SB: What made you want to do the master's program here?

GZ: Andrew Triggs did the program. He graduated last year after doing the MBA program and coming back for his fifth year. I've always wanted to go to business school but I didn't know when. When I needed to find a place to play this season, I talked to Andrew a lot about it and knew he really liked the program here. It was between this or the Annenberg graduate program. I studied communications at Penn and I knew the MBA program would be more challenging but I've always wanted to do it. My dad and grandpa are involved in business so I wanted to take that path as well. 

SB: What do you ultimately want to do with your master's?

GZ: I'm not sure. I want to stay involved in baseball in someway but I do like finance, so somehow I want to combine the two. Whether that means working for a team or working for an agency, I can see myself doing either. It changes every day but I do know that I want to stay involved in baseball. 

No. 42 as No. 28

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We don't often spotlight Bruins on this blog, but Jackie Robinson made a legacy out of being the exception to the rule. 

As a four-sport star at UCLA, he became a key player in the Crosstown Rivalry, including the 1939 classic which ended in a 0-0 tie.  The game was played in front of 103,303 people at the Coliseum, a rivalry attendance record at the time. 

The Trojans held off the Bruins when Bobby Robertson batted down a 4th-and-goal pass with less than five minutes to play.  USC went on to shutout Tennessee in the Rose Bowl to win the fourth and final national championship of the Howard Jones era.

Here is rare footage of No. 28 Robinson playing both ways against the Trojans in this Coliseum classic:

Kiffin Call: Spring Football

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Lane Kiffin wrapped up spring ball on a media teleconference this afternoon. 

Click the link to listen to the call: Kiffin-Spring-Call.mp3

The head coach answered questions about his recently released depth chart and reviewed the Spring Game, highlighting defensive stalwarts Devon Kennard, Morgan Breslin, Leonard Williams and Lamar Dawson.  He also praised Cody Kessler (pictured) for not throwing a single interception during any of the five scrimmages this spring.


Surprising Silva

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In just his second career start, left-hander Sean Silva tossed six innings of shutout ball Friday giving up only one hit to Arizona State en route to Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week honors. Freshman Brent Wheatley added three innings of hitless relief to combine with Silva on USC baseball's first one-hitter since 1996.

Click here for the full story.

The Trojans begin an eight-game road trip this week with stops at LMU, Utah, Oregon State and Pepperdine.


2013 Spring Depth Chart

Lane Kiffin has released his end of spring depth chart. 

Of note:
  • Silas Redd, Justin Davis, and Tre Madden are all listed as co-starters at running back.
  • Dion Bailey is listed at safety.
  • Antwaun Woods and Cody Temple are listed as co-starters at nose tackle.
  • Chad Wheeler and Kevin Graf are listed as co-starters at right tackle.
  • No decision was made at the quarterback position.
Click the link to see the depth chart: 2013 Spring Depth Chart.pdf


Back-to-Back with a Bullet

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No. 5 USC women's tennis clinched a second consecutive Pac-12 title by beating Oregon in Eugene this weekend.  The Women of Troy have steamrolled conference competition going undefeated in Pac-12 play amidst a 12-match overall winning streak.

Click here for the recap.

Coming off a Final Four run in 2012, the Trojans carry lofty goals into this final phase of the season.  They battle UCLA on Thursday at Marks Stadium (1:30 p.m. PT) to close the regular season before Pac-12 Championships and then the NCAA Tournament.

Team-WTennis-Oregon.jpg(Photo via USC Women's Tennis Facebook page)

Photo Gallery: WWP vs. Stanford

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No. 1 USC women's water polo was dealt its first loss of the season Saturday as Stanford returned the favor after the Women of Troy handed the Cardinal its only blemish of 2013 earlier in the year.  So now, the season series stands at one apiece with potential meetings looming in the MPSF and NCAA Tournament.

Click here for the recap.

Stanford blitzed USC early with a 3-0 start and then held on to win a low-scoring affair 6-4. The Trojans had won their first 20 games of the season, and now enter the MPSF Tournament as the No. 2 seed. 

Here is a Pierson Clair photo gallery:

2013 Spring Game Highlights

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The USC quarterbacks and receivers had the deep ball working Saturday at the annual Spring Game at the Coliseum.

Here are the highlights courtesy of Pac-12 Networks:

Photo Gallery: 2013 Spring Game

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Spring football culminated in a Coliseum scrimmage filled with offensive fireworks Saturday. Wide receivers Marqise Lee and Nelson Agholor combined to score five touchdowns as the aerial attack was in full flight.

Here are the Pierson Clair photos:

2013 Spring Game: Notes

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In front of 15,284 Trojan fans, USC wrapped up spring ball with the annual Coliseum scrimmage.

Click the highlighted names for individual post-game reaction videos...
  • With 20 players out injured, the Trojans did not tackle so that they could have enough players to give the fans a show for two hours.  Lane Kiffin even recruited former OL Jeremy Galten to play tight end for the day, and named him the MVP after the scrimmage, so USC had more than one player at the position.  Under NCAA rules, former players are allowed to practice sporadically.
  • Thumbnail image for Lee-Kiffin-Autographs.JPGKiffin: "I really thought today was very similar to the first 14 combined.  Some of the same good things and some of the same issues."
  • While spring practice has come to an end, no decision has been made in the quarterback battle, and Kiffin did not acknowledge any clear separation between the candidates.  However, Cody Kessler was the sharpest Saturday completing 15 of 22 for 242 yards and 3 touchdowns.  He did not throw an interception, which continues to be the way he differentiates himself.  "I put everything that I had into it," Kessler summed up his spring. "I left basically everything I had in spring.  Hopefully, [I] showed all the hard work that I put in the offseason, hopefully, it showed this spring."
  • On the other hand, Max Wittek threw a pair of picks to Demetrius Wright, but he bounced back to make big plays with TD passes of 29 and 30 yards to Victor Blackwell and Marqise Lee respectively.   "Obviously, you have two interceptions and that's not ideal," said Wittek, who explained that the first one was a forced ball on 4th down and the second was a tipped pass. Overall, he is proud of his spring.  "I think I've played well.  I've put a good resume on film and look forward to seeing what happens."
  • True freshman Max Browne has made great strides over the course of 15 practices, and finished with a solid game completing 7/11 for 80 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT.  His highlight play was a 44-yard TD strike to Nelson Agholor.  "Day one, the biggest thing for me was just kind of getting the snap," said Browne looking at his spring growth.  "Now day 15, I'm actually able to go out there and play quarterback and feel more comfortable. It's been a big improvement for me."
  • The offense has hit another gear in the last week since the return of Marqise Lee, who had 8 catches for 148 yards and 3 TDs. Paired with Nelson Agholor, who had 7 receptions for 116 yards and 2 TDs, the combination mirrors that of Lee and Robert Woods.  "Me and Nelson is basically the new me and Rob," said Lee about his running mate.  "Nelson understands the game as well as I do, so therefore, we always try to communicate and keep each other on track."
  • Even more imposing for defenses, the duo turned into a trio today with Victor Blackwell pacing all receivers with 7 catches for 155 yards and 1 TD.  "What normally is the two receivers making the big plays in Marqise and Nelson went to three today with Victor making plays.  All three went over 100 yards...really excited about that," said Kiffin.
  • The Trojans had no real running game today. Without the ability to break tackles, running backs are hard to judge, but the defense never gave the backs an opportunity to spring one untouched.  Tre Madden led the way with 8 carries for 23 yards, but Justin Davis and Buck Allen combined for only 14 yards on 11 rushes.
  • Typical of this spring, the defensive front seven provided great pressure, but the secondary leaked big plays over the top.  Clancy Pendergast's 5-2 defense created 12 sacks led by Morgan Breslin (3) and Kenny Bigelow (2).  Kiffin described Bigelow as "really improved" over the course of 15 practices.  "Kenny started slow like what everyone should when they get here, but really over the last week has played really well."
  • While the defensive backs gave up a lot of yardage, S Demetrius Wright stepped up with a pair of interceptions, and CB Ryan Henderson grabbed a pick as well.  Wright was dropped to the second team defense today after playing with the ones throughout spring, but he responded to the coach's challenge.  "Coach Kiff always has something under his sleeve," said Wright about the motivational tactic.  "I've got to come out and show this guy I can play.  I believe I did today."
  • Leonard Williams led the way with 6 tackles, while Josh Shaw, Kevon Seymour and J.R. Tavai each had 5.  Pendergast has been impressed by Shaw and his position flexibility, "He is one of those smart, tough, competitive players.  Those are the kind of guys you want in your top 11."
  • The players and coaches signed autographs after the scrimmage.  (Kiffin and Lee in matching white visors pictured.)
  • Here is Lane Kiffin wrapping up the Spring Game and spring football as a whole...

LIVE CHAT: 2013 USC Spring Game

Join our live chat for play-by-play, commentary and insider info from the USC Spring Game at the Coliseum.  The game starts at 1 p.m. PT.

Thursday Night at the Coliseum

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With USC football hosting Arizona on a Thursday night (October 10) this season, the University Provost sent out an early notification to university faculty, students and staff that the academic schedule will remain status quo despite the game, which means fans will not be permitted to park or tailgate on campus.  The athletic department will honor its academic commitment, but we will also take several steps to ensure that Trojan fans have an efficient and festive game day experience.

Click the link for the message from the Provost: Class Continuity During the Home Football Game on Thursday.pdf

Knowing the potential challenges, USC athletics will roll out a plan to ease the transportation burden on fans and create a unique pregame atmosphere as we get closer to kickoff.  Stay locked into our web and social channels in the coming months, and we will communicate to our fans the best solutions to any potential problems.

Coliseum JP CAL 06.jpg

2013 Spring Game Info

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The USC Spring Game is here!  The annual Coliseum exhibition will kickoff at 1 p.m. PT on Saturday (April 13) with live television coverage on Pac-12 Networks (Roxy Bernstein and Yogi Roth), ESPN Radio 710 (Pete Arbogast, Harvey Hyde and Garry Paskwietz), satellite radio broadcasts on Sirius (114) and XM (192), and a live chat on the RipsIt Blog for those of you that cannot attend. 

Click here for a preview of the game from All-American WR Marqise Lee.

Tickets are only $10 for adults, and can be purchased here or at the stadium.  Students and kids are in FREE.

If you are going to attend, share your photos on Instagram with #FightOn to have your photos streamed on

Right Place, Right Time

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Written by Andie Hagemann, USC blog contributor

No. 1 USC women's water polo has two matches remaining before the MPSF Championships. The Women of Troy host No. 2 Stanford this Saturday at the Uytengsu Aquatics Center in the last home match of the 2013 season, an opponent familiar to recent transfer Kelly Mendoza.

Mendoza-ASU-McG.jpgMendoza, a Bay Area native, transferred to USC by way of Cal this past year. "When I was originally deciding, it was between Cal and USC," Mendoza said. "It was a difficult decision but I eventually chose Cal based on my knowledge of the school and the program being from Northern California."

As a true freshman, Mendoza scored 27 goals for the Golden Bears during the 2011 season and was named to the MPSF All-Freshman Team. During her sophomore season, she tallied 16 goals.

"I think Cal was a great stepping stone but it wasn't the right decision. Being at USC, I am much happier and it is a better fit for me," said Mendoza, who has 16 goals already this season.

Mendoza chose to venture to Southern California because of the opportunity to play for head coach Jovan Vavic. "I was nervous coming in originally because I knew what Jovan was like. I knew that he could make me a better player and will make me a better player," Mendoza said. "He teaches us life goals and life lessons, preparing us for the real world. This really appealed to me and swayed my decision to come to USC."

Mendoza is enjoying her new role within the USC water polo program as a more secondary player. "Being a part of a team and having that team mentality is so much better and much more rewarding," Mendoza said. "If you are the star athlete, it's fun because you put the team on your back. When everyone is contributing, getting goals and steals, it is much more rewarding."

The junior is adjusting easily to USC and the team is on the verge of an undefeated regular season.

"It's extraordinary [to come in and be a part of this]. This team is very special and is special to me as well," Mendoza said. "They all have welcomed me with open arms and I really appreciate them. We all work super hard and that is showing in games. Hopefully we can keep the momentum going."

Photo Gallery: 2013 Spring Practice #14

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USC football was visited by combat Marines at the final spring practice on Thursday. 

Here are the John McGillen photos featuring the Marines and a cool sequence of Marqise Lee hauling in a TD catch:

An Athlete First

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Dave Roberts serves an important role at USC as the Vice President for Athletic Compliance educating Trojans in the NCAA bylaws, but he also knows what it's like to be in their shoes.  Roberts was an All-American offensive tackle at UC Davis and will be inducted into the Cal Aggie Athletics Hall of Fame.

Click here for the full release.

Roberts played at Davis from 1970-72 leading the Aggies to the first of what would be 20 consecutive conference championships.


Ace Assistants

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Bland-SDSU.jpgWhile USC men's basketball head coach Andy Enfield is new to the West Coast, he is filling up his bench with assistants that have strong Southern California roots and recruiting ties. Today, Enfield officially announced the addition of Tony Bland and Jason Hart as assistant coaches.

Click here for the full story.

"We are extremely excited to welcome Tony and Jason to the USC coaching staff," said Enfield. "Both men grew up in Los Angeles and have been successful players, mentors and coaches. Tony and Jason will be a big part of our future successes as we build the Trojan program."

Bland (pictured right) comes to USC from Steve Fisher's staff at San Diego State, where he helped his alma mater make back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances.  He is a Los Angeles native who prepped at city power Westchester High School.

Before transferring to SDSU, Bland teamed up with Hart at Syracuse.  Hart was a star point guard for the Orange becoming the program's all-time leader in steals and second all-time in assists upon entering the NBA in 2000.

Hart (pictured below) enjoyed a nine-year pro career with stops on nine different teams and some time in Greece.  He comes to Troy after serving as an assistant at Pepperdine for a year, and before that as the head coach of Taft High School in Woodland Hills.


A Perfect Ten

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For the 10th time and fifth consecutive, Hongping Li was named the Pac-12 Women's Diving Coach of the Year. After guiding Victoria Ishimatsu to an NCAA title in 2012, Li mentored her sister Haley Ishimatsu to an individual national championship on the platform this season.

Click here for the full story.

Overall, USC divers under Li have earned 35 All-American honors and 28 Pac-12 titles. Li was also the 2002 and 2006 NCAA Women's Diving Coach of the Year.


No Small Feat

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USC baseball great Roy Smalley will be enshrined into the College Baseball Hall of Fame thanks to a Trojan career that included national championships in 1972 and 1973.  The All-American shortstop was named to the College World Series 1970s All-Decade team for all his success in Omaha.

Click here for the full story.

Already a USC Athletics Hall of Fame member, Smalley now serves as an analyst on Minnesota Twins television broadcasts.  He was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1974 amateur baseball draft, and won a World Series ring with the Twins in 1987.

Roy Smalley-1973.jpg

Professional Sports Industry Networking Panel

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Written by Andie Hagemann, USC blog contributor

The Stevens Academic Center is holding a series of workshops that focus on personal development for USC student-athletes. The first workshop in the series focused on working in professional sports and utilizing networking opportunities.

The panel consisted of four professionals that were former student-athletes: Deborah Johnston (Director of Human Resources, Angels Baseball), Arthur Hightower (Director of Player Development, San Diego Chargers), Tim Martin (USC Associate Athletic Director) and Russell Silvers (Vice President, Partnership Activation, AEG Global Partnerships).

Among much advice, the panel discussed ways to standout in interviews and stressed the importance of internships as well as workplace behavior.  Among the upcoming panels, Wells Fargo will be educating the student-athletes on personal finance.

SAM_0122.JPG                                                          (Pictured L to R - Silvers, Johnston, Hightower and Martin)
(Photo by Andie Hagemann)

A Legend Returns

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USC women's basketball is searching for a leader to return the program to the glory days of 1983 and 1984 when the Women of Troy won back-to-back national championships, so who better than Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, a key guard on both squads.

Click here for complete coverage of Cooper-Dyke's hire.

As Cooper-Dyke assumes her post, here is a look back at some highlights from her playing career at Troy...

2013 Spring Practice #14: Notes

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The final spring practice is in the books with the big public scrimmage due up Saturday at the Coliseum at 1 p.m. PT.
  • USC will be without 20 injured players this Saturday, and 18 of them are on scholarship, per Lane Kiffin.
  • He also added TE Randall Telfer to the surgery list to fix a torn meniscus in his knee.  He will be out 4-6 weeks.
  • Summers-OLine-Spring13-McG.jpgDue to the depth issues, practice was basically an accelerated walk-thru.  The Trojans are down to one tight end and one fullback.  During service team, Lane Kiffin played running back and Tre Madden was the quarterback. 
  • Outside of depth, cornerback remains the biggest issue.  The head coach is even considering playing Marqise Lee and Nelson Agholor both ways in the fall.  "I did just think about that this week," Kiffin said.  "Arguably, they would be our best two corners.  I don't know if those guys could take that many plays, maybe in a limited role. My fear there is that if you do that, he's going to be less productive on offense."
  • Defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast, who coaches the secondary, is still preaching patience when it comes to the corners. He pointed out that the defensive backs have had four different secondary coaches in four years, and the techniques are different in each case. "The corners are going to jump out when the big plays happen. They just need to continue to work and master their techniques between now and next fall."
  • Initially, the offensive line was seen as a potential weakness, but the group has built chemistry during spring practice.  "Especially in the last two weeks, we really have brought it on," said senior RT Kevin Graf.  "We have made huge strides since the beginning of spring."
  • Graf is one of the last remaining Pete Carroll recruits on the roster.  "I feel like I have been here forever," he said.  For the seniors, this was there final spring practice ever.
  • The offensive line has benefited from the experience of new assistant coach Mike Summers (pictured). "I've been loving it," said Graf about working with Summers. "He's definitely a quieter guy who is very hard to please.  He's a joy to work with."
  • Last year, the offensive line fell apart against Stanford, which utilizes a 3-4 scheme.  With the Trojans switching to a defense with an odd man front, Graf anticipates that the experience will pay dividends in the fall.  "We see a lot of odd fronts throughout the year, so it's great practice for us when we get into that."
  • Here is Kiffin on the final practice of spring...

Lacrosse Making Playoff Push

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While the program is only in its first season, women's lacrosse head coach Lindsey Munday has not been shy about setting a goal to win the conference.  To that end, the Women of Troy will host Cal on Friday at 3 p.m. on McAlister Field in a showdown between two of the top teams in the MPSF.

Click here for the game preview.

The Bears are undefeated (4-0) in conference play, while the Trojans (3-2) fill the challenger's role.  However, USC is coming off a road win at Oregon, last year's MPSF champion, and sits a game out of a top four conference playoff spot.

Freshman Caroline de Lyra has emerged as the team's leader in points (44 goals and 33 assists).
De-Lyra-NW-McG.JPG(Photo by John McGillen)

Meet Chris Hawkins

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Hawkins-Spring13-McG.jpgName: Chris Hawkins

Position: Cornerback

Class: Freshman

Size: 6-foot and 170 pounds

Age: 18

High School: Rancho Cucamonga

Game: While many high school defensive backs come into college as hybrid players, Hawkins is a true corner who has the size and skill-set to contribute immediately.  He still has a baby face, but don't be fooled as he packs a good punch for his size.

Prep Career: Hawkins was a two-way starter at cornerback and wide receiver for Rancho Cucamonga High School where he earned All-CIF Inland honors as well as spots on the ESPN 150 and Rivals 100 lists. His senior year, he had 56 tackles, 6 deflections and 2 interceptions while also contributing 2 TD's on offense. He was a U.S. Army All-American.

Spring Ball: At times this spring, Hawkins has been running with the first team.  The truth is that both cornerback positions are wide open competitions, and the freshman will benefit from getting to USC a semester early.  While it often looks like trial by fire going up against Marqise Lee and Nelson Agholor, Hawkins has kept a short memory and enough confidence to battle it out with the best.

To Quote Hawkins: "You can't be caught flat-footed playing against Marqise Lee, Nelson Agholor, De'Von Flournoy and Victor Blackwell."

Here's Hawkins with our Sarah Bergstrom...

Cooper-Dyke Comes Home

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Co-written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

With her jersey already hanging in the Galen Center rafters, Cynthia Cooper-Dyke is returning to Troy as the new head coach of USC women's basketball. Owner of two NCAA Championships, an Olympic gold medal and four WNBA titles as a player, Cooper-Dyke brings instant credibility to the Trojan sideline after resurrecting three programs in her eight-year collegiate head coaching career.

cynthia_cooper_spokeo.jpg"If you were to ask me what my dream job was at any point in my coaching career, I would always have said my dream is to come back and lead the USC women's basketball team," Cooper-Dyke said. "I'm literally living the dream coming back to California and being named the new women's basketball coach at USC."

"In Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, we have a proven winning coach who happens to be a USC basketball icon," Haden said. "She was a part of the best basketball ever played here at USC, and she has seen success at so many levels of the game. As a coach she has turned around several programs. We believe she can lead USC back to successful women's basketball, and we welcome her back to the USC campus."

Cooper-Dyke played for the Trojans from 1982 to 1986, leading the team to three Final Four appearances and back-to-back NCAA titles. In her four seasons at USC, the team posted an astounding 114-15 record. 

She won gold with Team USA in 1988 and added a bronze in 1992. In 2010, she was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame alongside hoops greats such as Karl Malone, Scottie Pippen and Dr. Jerry Buss. 

Cooper-Dyke had an illustrious WNBA career winning four consecutive championships for the Houston Comets from 1997 to 2000 before retiring. The guard led the league in scoring in three consecutive seasons, grabbed WNBA MVP trophies in '97 and '98, and All-Star honors three times in her four years.

Cooper-Comets.jpg"Some people, when they hire a coach, the athletic department hits a home run," said Van Chancellor, Cooper's head coach with the Houston Comets. "Southern California has hit a grand slam, with two out and down three with the bases loaded. They hit it out of the park. This is one of the greatest hires. She's the perfect fit.

"She's the hardest working person I've ever been around. She's a recruiting machine and she loves Southern California. As a player she had the most tenacity, she was gritty, hard-nosed and hard-working. And she possesses the same characteristics as a coach as she did as a player. They better tie up their shoe laces in Southern California and tie them up now!"

In 2005, Cooper-Dyke became the head coach at Prairie View A&M University where she led the Panthers to their first NCAA tournament bid in just her second season. She went on to coach at the University of North Carolina Wilmington in 2010, and led the Seahawks to a school-record 24 wins and their first postseason appearance in her first season there.

Cooper-Dyke comes to USC after coaching one year at Texas Southern University.   She owns a 150-106 (.586) career head coaching record.

Enfield on the Couch

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Welcome to Hollywood Andy Enfield!

Enfield-Sheen-Leno.jpgNew USC men's basketball head coach Andy Enfield continued his wild ride last night sitting down with Jay Leno for The Tonight Show.

Enfield shared the couch with none other than Charlie Sheen, and told some great stories about his magical Sweet 16 run with Florida Gulf Coast.  As you can see from the picture, Leno and Sheen also broke out the Maxim magazine cover featuring his wife Amanda.

In the video clips below, Enfield discloses that even his young daughter picked Georgetown over FGCU in her bracket, and the head coach was more intimidated by his post-game interview with John Thompson than the task of taking down the Hoyas. 

Men's Basketball Awards

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USC hoops seniors Jio Fontan and Eric Wise were named the team MVPs at Tuesday night's men's basketball awards banquet.  Chass Bryan (top GPA), Omar Oraby (most inspirational), Aaron Fuller (110% effort), Byron Wesley (most improved), Dewayne Dedmon (top rebounder) and J.T. Terrell (best example of a Trojan) were among the other award winners.

Click here for the complete list of winners.

Under interim head coach Bob Cantu, the Trojans caught fire in conference play with big wins over UCLA and Arizona en route to tying for sixth place in the Pac-12 regular season. USC bids farewell to six seniors led by Fontan and Wise as well as Renaldo Woolridge, James Blasczyk, Aaron Fuller and Tyler Sugiyama.

Click here for the photo gallery of the men's basketball banquet.

Here is the 2012-13 highlight video:

Battle at the Top

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No. 1 USC women's water polo will host No. 2 Stanford this Saturday at 4 p.m. PT at the Uytengsu Aquatics Center in a rematch of the UCI Invitational title match back in February when the Women of Troy dealt the Cardinal its only loss of the season.  The Trojans are undefeated (20-0), and both teams are a perfect 4-0 in MPSF play.

Click here for a preview.

Juniors Madeline Rosenthal and Kelly Mendoza broke the down the much anticipated match-up for our latest Trojan Spotlight.

Kiffin Coverage

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Lane Kiffin spent some time in "The Herd" with Colin Cowherd this morning, and also discussed his public image with Sports Illustrated's Stewart Mandel.

Click here to listen to Kiffin on ESPN Radio.

Click here to read about Kiffin on

The head coach has stuck to his offseason mantra of personal accountability for the missteps of last season, and restoring the physical identity of Trojan football.

Kiffin to Mandel: "At the end of the day, we were not a physical football team the entire year. We did not run the ball physically, and we did not stop the run. You can't be at USC and give up more yards rushing than you run for. There's no excuse for that, so that falls on coaching."


Trojans Feeding on Fatburger

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USC Athletics through USC Sports Properties has expanded its partnership with Fatburger making it the official burger of the Trojans for post-game meals, on-campus events, and a multi-media sponsorship agreement which includes on-field and courtside signage, video board features, Fan Fest display and radio spots.

Click here for the full story.

"My sons and I are all proud alums, so we jumped at the chance to extend the partnership, becoming an official partner of USC Athletics," said CEO of Fatburger Andy Wiederhorn. "We are honored to have the opportunity to feed one of the most elite sports programs in the country and hope that our tasty burgers will fuel the Trojans to bring home many more championships."


Rowing to the Top

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After a dominant performance at the San Diego Crew Classic, USC women's rowing shot from No. 6 to No. 1 in the national rankings. The Women of Troy join women's golf and women's water polo as current top-ranked teams this spring.

Click here for the full story.

The Trojans are off this weekend before a trip to the Lake Natoma Invitational in Gold River, CA, on April 20-21.

Rowing Practice-JMoore.jpg(Photo by Jonathan Moore)

Spring for a Cause

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Along with getting a preview of the 2013 USC football team, the Trojan Family can help do some good this weekend by purchasing tickets for the annual Spring Game at the Coliseum (Saturday at 1 p.m.).  All proceeds from ticket sales will go to the Central City Community Outreach fund, which helps families and kids living in the Skid Row area of Los Angeles.

Head coach Lane Kiffin is urging fans to provide for a community program that has had a relationship with USC Athletics for years, and needs Trojan support to continue all the great work it does for those in need.

"We are very pleased to provide the proceeds from our Spring Football Game to the Central City Community Outreach fund," said Kiffin. "Over the years, the USC football program has been involved in various capacities with the Central City Community Outreach organization.  All of us, from the players to the coaches to the staff, have been very impressed with how they have effectively touched the lives of children in the Skid Row area of Los Angeles.  This is a time of particular need for the organization, so we are happy to help them advance their mission.  Further, I would urge Trojan fans to go to their website and make an additional donation."

If you have not already received your Spring Game tickets, purchase them here or for $10 at the stadium box office.  Students and kids are in FREE, so the head coach is encouraging them to pack the house in this video message.

Barkley Takes on Chuckie

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USC QB Matt Barkley was invited to Jon Gruden's QB Camp in anticipation of the 2013 NFL Draft. 

The full length 30-minute show has been airing on ESPN/ESPN2, but here is a segment as Barkley discusses his decision to return for his senior year, his shoulder injury and more with the master of intensity.

Enfield on Tonight Show

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New USC men's basketball head coach Andy Enfield will sit down with Jay Leno on the Tonight Show airing tonight at 11:30 p.m. PT on NBC. Enfield will be part of a diverse guest list including Charlie Sheen and country singer Brad Paisley.

Earlier this morning, Enfield was in The Herd with Colin Cowherd.  Click here to listen!


Photo Gallery: 2013 Spring Practice #13

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Just one more spring practice to go before the big game at the Coliseum... 

Here is a look at the final Tuesday practice of the semester courtesy of John McGillen:

2013 Spring Practice #13: Notes

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The final week of spring practice is underway...
  • The Trojans did not tackle today in an effort to preserve some bodies for Saturday's Spring Game, but Lane Kiffin was still happy with the intensity.  The Spring Game will be offense vs. defense with not enough healthy players to break into two separate teams.
  • DSC_5227.jpgOn the positive side, CB Kevon Seymour returned in a limited role.  He has struggled to stay healthy during his short Trojan career, but he could be an important cog in this defense that is weak at cornerback.  "It's been tough to evaluate Kevon since he's been here because we see some flashes, but he's had a lot of injuries," said Kiffin.  "He does have the skillset (height, weight, speed) to be a really good player, but obviously, there is a lot more to it than that."
  • S Demetrius Wright also returned and practiced fully.  He is dealing with a hip problem.
  • Josh Shaw has been the most consistent defensive back during spring practice.  While he has excelled at safety, the coaches will decide over the summer if he is more valuable to this team at cornerback.  "It is a compliment just knowing that I can do both and that they have faith in me," said Shaw (pictured from last week), who will stay at safety for the rest of the week. "The main thing is that we've got to get some guys to step up on the edge."
  • The secondary responded with a strong practice today after the position group called a meeting to acknowledge that their play has not been good enough.
  • The defensive backs are done no favors by Marqise Lee and Nelson Agholor, who challenge their counterparts on every rep. "Every single day, we are out here playing against 9 and 15, and those guys are wow, you won't see that everywhere in the country," Shaw said. "Being able to play against them, it will be a lot slower and easier in the fall."
  • On the offensive side, the Santa Ana winds put the quarterbacks to the test. "I thought they did fine with it," said Kiffin. "We missed a couple deep balls which was more on the receivers' movements and understanding how the ball was coming in."
  • Kiffin is also happy with the progress of the first team offensive line (LT Aundrey Walker, LG Max Tuerk, C Marcus Martin, RG John Martinez and RT Kevin Graf). "I think they are starting to mesh," said the head coach.
  • Here is his complete post-practice media session...

Arms Race

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Written by Andie Hagemann, USC blog contributor

Who will replace Matt Barkley and be the next starting quarterback for the USC Trojans? It has been the biggest question mark on the USC depth chart since the conclusion of the 2012 season. One week of spring ball remains and head coach Lane Kiffin has yet to name a starting quarterback.

DSC_5655.jpgLuckily, Kiffin has three talented quarterbacks waiting in the wings: Max Wittek, Cody Kessler and Max Browne.

Spring ball began with a rough start for redshirt sophomore Max Wittek after he suffered a knee injury within the first week. "I am incredibly blessed that my knee injury was not that bad and that I was able to come back as fast as I did," Wittek said.

Wittek is the most experienced quarterback in the Trojans' arsenal as he started against Notre Dame and Georgia Tech last season. "Any game experience that you can ever gain is going to be good, especially as such a young quarterback last year," he said. "Having made so many mistakes here and there during the game, I have been able to watch myself and learn from those mistakes. I am making sure that I never make those mistakes again and having game experience has really helped me more than anything."

After two seasons as the understudy to Barkley, Wittek admires the humility of his predecessor and aims to carry himself the same way. "There are some simple things that he has told me over the years. Most of it is off the field stuff because the on the field stuff takes care of itself," Wittek said. "Being able to watch a guy like that and how he had such an incredible amount of hype and press and how he remained humble through that entire process was good to watch."

For Wittek, he is not solely focused on the quarterback competition. Rather, he is enjoying what spring ball has to offer and the opportunity to help his team continue to improve. "It is just awesome being out here with these guys, running with the ones and twos," Wittek said. "We are all putting in the same work and we are getting timing with a lot of different receivers and lineman. I really think that is what spring football is for. Being able to be out here and put the ball up for these guys has been a blast."

Fellow redshirt sophomore Cody Kessler is also taking the team first approach. "I try to not focus on little things because if you start to do that, then the team is not going to get better," Kessler said. "Everyone can do better every day with themselves but at the same time, it is a group thing. If I came out here every day and just looked at myself and how I did and didn't worry about the receivers or our line, our team would not improve. All three of us know that we are competing for a spot and you have to block that out and stay focused on the other stuff and the team aspect of it."

Weekender Info

The USC Alumni Association sent out information regarding the four "Weekender" road trips this football season.  As part of road trip packages, Trojans will be included in pep rallies, gameday bus rides, tailgate parties and much more.

Click here for more info.

The Weekender circuit starts in Hawaii followed by trips to Notre Dame (Chicago), Cal (San Francisco) and Colorado (Boulder).


Friendly Fire

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In last year's Olympic semifinal in London, Spain and Hungary battled for a spot in the Gold Medal Match.  While Hungarian goalie Flora Bolonyai fought to keep her team in it, Spanish phenom Anni Espar was the difference on the night with four goals in a 10-9 win.

Less than a year later, Bolonyai and Espar are fighting the same fight as leaders of the undefeated Women of Troy.  As No. 1 USC women's water polo prepares for its biggest home match of the season (Saturday at 4 p.m. vs. No. 2 Stanford), the Olympians talked about their budding friendship and pushing each other to greatness.

Setting the Tone

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The 2013 USC football team will feature a fresh quartet of captains.  Matt Barkley, Khaled Holmes, T.J. McDonald and Nickell Robey are all moving on to Sunday football.

While Marqise Lee naturally steps into the role as the offensive leader, the defense requires a new voice, and maybe even more importantly, a physical enforcer.  Enter Hayes Pullard...

The two-year starter has already made his mark tying for the team lead in tackles as a redshirt freshman (81) before passing the century mark (107) as a sophomore.  But under Clancy Pendergast, Pullard will take over the Mike linebacker position serving as the central hub of communication and a downhill playmaker.

Listed at 6-foot-1 and 235 pounds, Pullard may not have the statuesque build of his Trojan linebacker brethren, but as you can see from the clip below in which he takes down 300-pound OT Aundrey Walker, he is more than willing to set a physical tone for this defense.

Photo Gallery: MVB vs. CSUN

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After defeating No. 10 Cal State Northridge, USC men's volleyball has just two remaining regular season games.  The Trojans finish up at Santa Barbara on April 10 and UCLA on April 12.

Here are the photos from the latest win, including senior night shots of J.B. Green and Chris Trefzger, courtesy of Pierson Clair...

The Postman Sings Five

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With five shows down and five to go, Pat Haden is making some halftime adjustments in his gig as the postman in "The Most Happy Fella."

"Five performances in the books!" said Haden. "My self assessment: I've gone from pathetic to poor but I am shooting for average by the end of the week. The cast around me is wonderfully talented, so please come out and see them this Thursday through Sunday and support the arts."

Haden elaborated on his performance in a Q&A with Tom Hoffarth.

Here is a photo gallery of Haden and company in action:

Photo Gallery: Baseball vs. Stanford

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USC baseball salvaged its three game set with Stanford by grabbing a Sunday win after Friday and Saturday losses.  In the winning effort, James Roberts delivered a solo blast to break a 6-6 tie in the 8th.

Click here for the recap.

The Trojans travel to Cal State Fullerton Tuesday before a weekend three-game home series against Arizona State.  Here are the photos from John McGillen of Friday's sunset affair with the Cardinal...

Thank You Cantu

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USC men's basketball interim head coach Bob Cantu will not be retained as an assistant by Andy Enfield ending his 12-year run in the program.  Cantu originally joined Henry Bibby's staff in 2001 and remained on the bench assisting Jim Saia, Tim Floyd and Kevin O'Neill.

"I want to thank everyone I worked with at USC the past 12 years," said Cantu. "It was a great experience.  We had some memorable moments. I look forward to following the future success of the program."

Among the memorable moments, Cantu led the Trojans to victories over UCLA and Arizona during his stint as the interim head coach.  He also earned a reputation as an ace recruiter helping to bring in the likes of NBA stalwarts Nick Young, DeMar DeRozan, Taj Gibson and Nikola Vucevic.

Before introducing new coach Andy Enfield, athletic director Pat Haden thanked Cantu and last year's assistants for their selfless work taking over the program midseason and making it competitive again.


Photo Gallery: 2013 Spring Practice #12

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Early entrant RB Justin Davis emerged as the breakout star of spring practice, while WR Marqise Lee returned to action as the "quarterback's best friend" to highlight the final scrimmage before the Spring Game.

Here are the John McGillen photos:

Victories Come in Threes

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Not only did No. 6 USC women's rowing three-peat at the San Diego Crew Classic, the Women of Troy did it in dominating fashion claiming three titles on the day.  The Trojans won the Jessop-Whittier Cup (varsity eight) for an unprecedented third consecutive year, and also brought home the Jackie Ann Stitt Hungness Trophy (second varsity eight division) and the Karen Plumleigh Cortney Cup (varsity four).

Click here for the recap.

"Awesome. That was really awesome," said head coach Zenon Babraj. "I think that they all rose to the occasion. It was a great day, but we've got to still keep in mind that it's San Diego and just the beginning of the season."


Statement Performance

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In what was supposed to be a Pac-12 showdown of conference undefeateds, No. 5 USC women's tennis annihilated Arizona State in Tempe to grab a firm hold of first place.  In the six singles matches, the Women of Troy lost a combined total of 20 games and zero sets en route to a shutout.

Click here for the recap.

The Trojans followed the win at ASU with one at Arizona.  They finish the regular season road schedule at Oregon on April 14.

Women's tennis players Casey Reede (middle) and Jackie Owens (right) with Patriots WR Danny Amendola and QB Tom Brady.

Senior Night Success

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Thanks to a roster loaded with underclassmen, USC men's volleyball has spent the year rebuilding after back-to-back Final Four appearances.  However, the program did recognize a pair of seniors, Chris Trefzger and J.B. Green, before sweeping No. 10 Cal State Northridge on Saturday.

Click here for the recap.

Here's our Dustin Avol with surprise starters Trefzger and Green after the match...

2013 Spring Practice #12: Notes

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

The offense dominated today's scrimmage as the Trojans practiced at the Coliseum for the last time before next Saturday's Spring Game. 
  • Freshman running back Justin Davis had another impressive practice looking more like an upperclassman than an early entrant this spring as he makes his case for the starting spot in the fall. He had 17 carries for 116 yards with a four-yard touchdown. Buck Allen had 10 carries for 42 yards. 
  • Kiffin says Davis has been by far one of the highlights from this spring. "I can't imagine a guy having more of an impact in just a month of practice. He is so natural, he sees things really well running our offense. It's possible for him to be the number one tailback."
  • The passing game was the story of the day which Kiffin attributes to the success of Davis and Allen at running back. "SC's best offenses have always been when we've ran the ball really well and the play actions have come off of that which was much like today," said Kiffin. 
  • All three quarterbacks looked equally strong further complicating the picture of who will get the starting nod. Kiffin said after a day like today having three solid QBs is the kind of problem he doesn't mind having. "Today you would have taken any of them," said Kiffin. "All three guys played great. They are all much improved from the first Saturday in here."
  • Max Wittek was 14 for 17 with 200 yards and 2 TDs including a nice 16 yard toss to Nelson Agholor in the corner of the end zone. Cody Kessler was 12 for 21 with 120 yards and a long 60-yard touchdown pass to Marqise Lee. Max Browne was 6 for 7, throwing for 85 yards and 2 TDs, with a potential third touchdown slipping through the fingers of Randall Telfer.
  • Marqise Lee was finally back in real-time action playing a solid portion of the scrimmage. Lee had 10 receptions for 191 yards and 2 TDs. 
  • Continuing his dominant performance this spring, Nelson Agholor had 6 catches for 91 yards with 2 TDs, one apiece from Wittek and Browne. 
  • One of the bigger stories of the spring has been the performance of both Anthony Sarao and Lamar Dawson at the Will linebacker position. Their dominant play at that position has made the coaches consider moving Dion Bailey back to safety when he resumes practice. 
  • The return of many secondary players from injury and Bailey's potential move would make safety one of the deepest positions for the Trojans come fall according to Kiffin.
  • The defensive leader of the day was Josh Shaw who had 7 tackles including 2 for a loss and 2 deflections.
  • The scrimmage ran 76 plays with the same injured players still out including Demetrius Wright, Torin Harris, and DJ Morgan. The Spring Game will be next weekend at 1 p.m. at the Coliseum. The game is open to the public and tickets are $10. 
  • Here is Lane Kiffin with the full practice recap, video courtesy of Lindsey Thiry (Fox Sports)....

Taking Nothing For Granted

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

Many people grow up dreaming of playing collegiate athletics under the lights of a stadium on a Friday or Saturday night. For the members of the USC baseball team, those dreams are a reality. But for USC freshman Blake Lacey, playing college baseball means even more than that. 

When Lacey was three years old, his father, Rob, was in a near-fatal four-wheeling accident that left him in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. He had to be resuscitated three times on the helicopter trip from the location of the accident to the hospital where doctors eventually put in over 300 bolts to reconstruct his shattered spine. 

"It's a blessing that he even survived at all," says his son. 

Now, almost 16 years later, Mr. Lacey attends almost all of his son's games. According to the younger Lacey, his time on the field is a gift he will never take for granted, and he owes that to his dad.

"My dad is my role model. I've seen what he has had to go through in his life and it's made me grateful. Showing up to the field, for me, is a lot more than what it means to the average player because I'm constantly aware of what it's like to not have the ability to run around. Watching my dad and playing baseball, I've seen both worlds. It's just such a blessing to have the opportunity to play college baseball every day, and realizing that makes me enjoy life a lot more."

Lacey and his father share a unique bond which just might be the result of learning how to appreciate every blessing in their lives. Looking at Mr. Lacey's face when Blake makes a play or when he and his son catch up after a game, it's easy to see an overwhelming sensation of pride and love. He says that Blake's decision to come to USC has been incredible for their family as they can come and support Blake almost every week.

"It's the best decision we've ever made and it just keeps getting better and better. It's an incredible school and a great opportunity for Blake. We love everything about this program, the other families, the coaches, and his teammates. Every kid on this team just seems really special," says Mr. Lacey.

His son, amidst offers from other universities far from home, says a huge part of his decision to become a Trojan was the ability it provided him to play near his family. 

"I've always been extremely close with my family. Ever since I was really little they've come to every single game I've played. They do as much as they possibly can to watch me play baseball. I've always had that support backing me and a lot of my drive comes from having them here," says Lacey. 

Response to Dieter Horton Story

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Here is a statement from the USC Athletic Department regarding the allegations made this morning on the Jay Mohr radio show about USC men's basketball assistant coach Dieter Horton.

"This morning, an individual called a national radio show and repeated five-year old allegations about Dieter Horton. The claim is related to Horton's time as head men's basketball coach at Antelope Valley College and not from his time at USC, where he has served as an assistant the past three seasons. 

The individual first made these allegations in the media in 2008. At that time, Antelope Valley College's president and athletic director investigated the claims and dismissed them. The individual also contacted USC in 2010 with these claims. USC, its general counsel and its athletic department investigated and also found nothing to substantiate the claims."

LAX Downs the Ducks

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The USC women's lacrosse team took down the Oregon Ducks, 12-10, in the team's first ever Pac-12 televised game yesterday. The Trojans beat the defending MPSF champions on their home turf with help from freshman attack Caroline Cordrey who notched her second straight four-goal game. 

Click here for complete release.

Despite the rain, the Women of Troy overcame Oregon with stellar performances all around. Freshman midfield Haleigh Dalmass scored both the first and game-winning goal and freshman attack Paige Bonomi scored twice as well. Caroline de Lyra had yet another outstanding game earning her 10th hat trick of the year and tacking on three critical assists. 

Coach Lindsey Munday said the win was the result of patience and timing.

"This was a great win for us. This really was the first game in which we played a full 60 minutes where every single player played a major role in securing the victory."

The win in Eugene helped the Trojans advance to an impressive 3-2 conference record in their first season and a 6-8 record overall. They have three games remaining until they head to the MPSF tournament. USC hosts California next Friday, April 12, at 3 p.m.

Photo Gallery: 2013 Spring Practice #11

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The Trojans, though facing significant injuries, battled through another practice and saw the return of Marqise Lee as well as another stellar performance from Nelson Agholor. Here is a look at yesterday's practice via John McGillen....

Half Nelson

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With only one hand available, Nelson Agholor made an incredible catch to end Thursday night's practice and send his teammates into frenzy.  Even with Robert Woods heading to the NFL, Lane Kiffin is not worried about the No. 2 wide receiver spot, and here's why...

2013 Spring Practice #11: Notes

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While spirits were high at practice, the injury news dampened the long term picture.
  • To reiterate from the post below, George Farmer will miss the 2013 season after tearing ligaments in his left knee.  He will redshirt the campaign and return in 2014 with two years of eligibility remaining.
  • Blackwell-Flournoy-Cal-JM.jpgFreshman DB Su'a Cravens is out for the rest of spring after tearing the meniscus in his knee.  The rehab is expected to take 4-6 weeks, and he should be healthy for Fall Camp.
  • In all, 22 players missed practice, including 18 scholarship players.  Lane Kiffin admitted that recapturing the physical identity of this team has cost them bodies. He plans on starting Fall Camp the same way, but tapering off leading up to the games.
  • Without Farmer, the onus falls on De'von Flournoy and Victor Blackwell (pictured by Jonathan Moore) to fill the third receiver role.  They own one career catch apiece, but they can expect many more opportunities in 2013. "Victor Blackwell has made a number of plays which is good.  By far, he's had his best camp," said Kiffin. "De'von Flournoy has kind of been setback with a hand injury, but has made some plays as well."
  • Spring entrant Darreus Rogers and fall enrollee Steven Mitchell will also be in the play-making mix.
  • The good news: For the third consecutive year, the USC offense can boast one of the nation's top receiving tandems.  Nelson Agholor has been electrifying during spring practice, and of course, Marqise Lee is the reigning Biletnikoff winner.  "We have seen a great spring out of Nelson," said Kiffin. "He really has made plays every day."
  • Agholor made the play of the day to end practice with a tremendous catch between two defenders who would have been flagged for pass interference.
  • Lee practiced for the first time in weeks today, and anticipates playing in Saturday's scrimmage.  "I'm good.  I felt good," said Lee.  "I'm not the type of person that likes to sit on the sideline watching. That's not me and that's not fun at all."
  • While he has been sidelined, Lee has brought constant energy and noise to the practice field.  He's either talking smack to defenders or pumping up his offense. "I try to be [a coach on the field] to the receivers at least."
  • Lee made a point to compliment Agholor, RB Tre Madden and RB Justin Davis after practice today.  He is impressed with how the offense is shaping up without him.
  • Here is Kiffin's post-practice presser:

Farmer Out for Season

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USC sophomore WR George Farmer suffered a torn ACL and MCL at Tuesday's practice this week, and will redshirt the 2013 season after surgery. 

Lane Kiffin on Farmer: "You feel really bad for the kid. Obviously, we don't like it from a production stand point for our offense. He was doing so well.  They don't make many guys that big that run that fast. But, you really feel bad for him because it seems like something happens every time he's starting to make a turn."


A Song and Dance AD

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Pat Haden is "petrified."  The USC athletic director has conquered the gridiron, the courtroom and the boardroom, but he is now faced with his greatest challenge...musical theater.

Since taking over as AD, Haden has encouraged the student-athletes to explore the breadth of all USC has to offer.  In an effort to heed his own advice, Haden has a singing part in "The Most Happy Fella," a USC School of Dramatic Arts production. 

Click the link for the flyer: MostHappyFella Poster_FINAL.pdf

The show runs from April 4-14 at Bing Theatre with Haden playing the role of the postman in his theatrical debut.  He even has a solo, "I seen her at the station."

Click here for the full story.

Just hours before curtain, here's an exclusive sneak peek at Haden's performance with commentary from the athletic director...

Free Baseball Tee

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USC baseball is giving away WE PLAY AS 1 jersey t-shirts to the first 500 fans that attend the Trojans game vs. Stanford on Saturday, April 6 at 2 p.m.

Click here for tickets.

USC is hosting the Cardinal for a three-game set this Friday (6 p.m.), Saturday (2 p.m) and Sunday (1 p.m.) at Dedeaux Field.  The Trojans are 11-17 on the season, but 4-5 in Pac-12 play after taking a series at Cal last weekend.


JMC Improves Air Quality

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In a constant effort to provide a world class atmosphere for USC student-athletes, the athletic department has taken steps to improve the air quality at the John McKay Center by using AtmosAir Solutions IAQ system to reduce mold, dust, odors, and control bacteria and the spread of airborne viruses.

Click the link for the full release: USC McKay Center press release FINAL 3.26.13.pdf

As always, the goal is to keep USC's student-athletes healthy and competing at the highest level.  The indoor air quality system is also more sustainable and reduces building operation costs.

FallCampFinale-JMC-McG.jpg(Photo by John McGillen)

Air Woolridge

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Graduating senior Renaldo Woolridge is participating in the College Slam Dunk Championship at Georgia Tech's McCamish Pavilion tonight at 4 p.m. PT on ESPN. 

Click here for the full story.

To vote for Woolridge during the contest, tweet using the hashtags #CollegeSlam and #Woolridge10.


Project Trojan: Meet the Jimokes

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If USC football practice is run like a well-oiled machine, the student managers are to thank.  They are constantly one step ahead of every drill and every rep.

In the newest episode of Project Trojan, we provide an inside look at the "Jimokes," the underrated soldiers of USC football.

Enfield on DP Show

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On his way to the Final Four in Atlanta, new USC men's basketball head coach Andy Enfield had time to chat with Dan Patrick this morning about his whirlwind month and his plans for Troy.

Golf Streak

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No. 1 USC women's golf is an unstoppable force right now with three consecutive wins led by junior Sophia Popov, who tied a Trojan record with her fifth career title.  Both Popov and the Women of Troy topped the leaderboard at the SDSU Farms Invitational at The Farms G.C. in Rancho Santa Fe.

Click here for the recap.

USC women's golf last one three straight tournaments in 2008, which, not coincidentally, was a national championship year for the program.  The team is in that kind of form in 2013.


Photo Gallery: Enfield Presser

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New USC men's basketball head coach Andy Enfield and his wife Amanda made quite an impression on the media assembled at Wednesday's press conference.

Enfield-Wife-CU-McG.jpgHere is a sampling of the reaction:

LA Times - Can Andy Enfield put USC basketball back on the grid?

LA Daily News - Enfield brings an appealing model of play to USC

ESPN - Andy Enfield takes over at USC - Complete Enfield press conference

Sports Illustrated - Enfield moves to bigger stage as USC hoops coach

Yahoo! Sports - Part tactician and part showman, Andy Enfield may have what it takes to make USC relevant

Here is John McGillen's photo gallery of the press conference:

Enfield Era Begins

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After leading Florida Gulf Coast to the Sweet 16 and getting hired at USC in the same week,  Andy Enfield deserves a moment to exhale.

Instead, he will hop on a plane tomorrow to attend the Final Four in Atlanta, and get to work immediately on hiring a coaching staff.  He will also make a few more media stops, starting with the Dan Patrick Show Thursday morning, to discuss his plans for the new era of Trojan basketball. 

As Pat Haden said in his introduction, "We want to reset the basketball culture starting today." The AD has tabbed Enfield for the task, and he responded, "I'm going to show up everyday in this office with my coaching staff and make this a better place than it was the day before, and I look forward to it."


Brady's New Friend

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Yesterday, Tom Brady worked out on USC's Howard Jones Field with Patriots WR Danny Amendola, but today, the superstar QB was joined by none other than Terrell Owens.

T.O. found his way onto Marqise Lee's Instagram as well as the NFL account, which doctored up the photo below originally taken by USC WR coach Tee Martin.


Enfield's Opening Remarks

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New USC men's basketball head coach Andy Enfield was introduced to the media and Trojan Family at a formal press conference today.

"This is a dream come true," Enfield said.  "To be here in front of you today is just an unbelievable dream."

Here is his entire opening speech...

Meet Andy Enfield

"I couldn't be more proud to be a Trojan.  I am extremely excited to get going," said new men's basketball head coach Andy Enfield.

The mayor of Dunk City spoke with the media on a teleconference Tuesday, and will be formally introduced at a press conference today at Noon PT.

Click the link to listen to the teleconference: Enfield-Teleconference.mp3

Enfield at NCAA Presser.jpg

Photo Gallery: 2013 Spring Practice #10

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As things got physical last night, John McGillen got in the action to bring you some hard-hitting photos from spring football.

2013 Spring Practice #10: Notes

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With two weeks to go in spring football, the intensity got ramped up a notch and even a little blood was drawn.
  • Along with the usual assortment of injuries (19 total), WR George Farmer (pictured) was carted off the practice field after an apparent leg injury suffered on a non-contact drill.  No update was provided as of yet.
  • DSC_9973.jpgS Demetrius Wright also left practice early with injury.
  • Practice culminated with a feisty goal line drill that left defensive line coach Ed Orgeron and DL George Uko among the bloodied.  Coach O was caught accidentally on the nose, while Uko had a bloody nose of his own while addressing the media after practice.
  • "I'm really excited about the goal line mentality that the defense had," said Lane Kiffin. "They really changed the line of scrimmage by how they got after the offense."
  • Despite a few heated exchanges, all the players were friends at the end, but they have gotten after it this spring.  "We're into going extremely hard and physical, creating that, and then when the time comes back them off," said Kiffin about creating the balance between physicality and discipline.
  • RB Tre Madden is one player that stayed out of the fray.  He is still not cleared for contact as he continues to recover from the knee injury that he suffered last spring.  "I wish I was doing more," said Madden about his spring. "I'm progressing. I feel pretty confident. We're just being smart about it."
  • The Trojans could have used him last year when the running back depth was sparse.  Now, he is in the mix with a strong and diverse group of backs. "We've got a lot of playmakers.  My role is whatever the team needs me to be." 
  • The running backs are led by a new voice, Tommie Robinson.  "He's tough on us," said Madden.  "He wants us to be perfect."
  • Kiffin actually spoke on the phone with new men's basketball head coach Andy Enfield on Sunday.  They spoke about working at USC, Pat Haden, Max Nikias, and Kiffin answered some logistical questions.  "It's a great hire," Kiffin came away impressed. "It brings excitement to the basketball program. He's done a great job of creating a style of play down there."
  • Here is Kiffin on a variety of Tuesday topics...

Instant Analysis on the Enfield Hire

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Upon announcing the hiring of Andy Enfield to take over USC men's basketball, the topic was trending globally on Twitter.  The buzz is real and for good reason.

Here is a sampling of what people are saying:

Enfield-Stephen-Dowell-OrlSent.jpgDan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports: "The man expects to win. Big. Always. And for a program that's too often accepted second-citizen status in the city, that might be enough to make him the perfect fit."

FGCU point guard Brett Comer via Twitter: "I love Coach Enfield to the end. I was his first recruit and he made me the player I am today. #GoodLuckatUSC"

Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo! Sports: "There's no question Enfield's hire will give traditionally bland USC basketball some badly needed pop and pizzazz."

Former USC forward David Blu via Twitter: "Andy Enfield is a great choice to be the basketball coach at my school. He definitely has the swag you need to be successful."

Gregg Doyel of "With fewer resources and less history and pull, Pat Haden just made a better hire than UCLA."

USC sophomore forward Byron Wesley: "After the first game, I saw it wasn't a fluke -- they were legit. I really like they're style of play. He really let them play, throw lobs and just play exciting. Everyone has the same attitude -- real excited to meet him and to get going."

Andy Glockner of Sports Illustrated: "The truth is Pat Haden and the Trojans rolled the dice on an exciting up-and-comer with significant qualifications who handled this run, on and off the court, extremely well. He looks the part of a major-conference head coach, and now he is one."

Dan Weber of "Andy Enfield is the uptempo, and up-and-coming, coach USC basketball needs right now."

(Photo by Stephen Dowell/Orlando Sentinel)

The Place to Be

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Last week, USC hosted General David Petraeus for his first public interview since resigning.  Today, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady worked out on Howard Jones Field with his newest wide receiver Danny Amendola.

Bottom line: USC is always the place to be. 

Trojans WR coach Tee Martin, who was drafted ahead of Brady in 2000, snapped a photo from the John McKay Center of the future Hall of Famer's throwing session.  Brady was also on-campus last year as he works with throwing guru Tom House in the offseason.


Stevens Academic Center Spotlight: Zoe Scandalis

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

USC athletes are more than just champions on the field, court, diamond, and pool, they're champions in the classroom as well. Each week, we will get to know one of these scholarly Trojans a little better in our student-athlete spotlight. 

Name: Zoë Scandalis
Year: Sophomore
Sport: Women's Tennis
Major: Political Economy
GPA: 3.84

Sarah Bergstrom (SB): What made you decide to come to USC?

Zoë Scandalis (ZS): When I was looking for schools, I was looking to find a program with coaches and girls that really fit my personality. I also wanted a school that would really broaden my horizons, give me opportunities to learn, and provided me with connections. Other schools offered some of that, but when I walked on campus here I realized this was the place for me to be. 

SB: You're planning on studying a new major at USC, political economy, can you explain what that is and why you're interested in it?

ZS: I've been looking at the classes and the major is mainly focused on getting a better understanding of what's going on in the world. You study world economies, different political situations, the statuses of less developed countries, women's rights, and more. One of my greatest passions for my future is empowering women, I just love that idea. So I think I am attracted to this major just because the topics are so interesting. My hope is that I learn enough to help others in some way. The more I learn about the world, the more I realize how many people are in need. I want to use my platform, whether it's tennis or just getting an education at USC to help people. 

SB: Have you done a lot of volunteer work?

ZS: I've done quite a bit of small stuff, with the team or with my family at home. I've also had the privilege to travel a lot and I feel like I've seen a lot of the world. The more that I travel and read, the more I see the opportunities to help internationally. I've definitely helped on a small scale but I still want to do something big. My hope for after graduation is to help on that large scale but I know I need to learn a lot more first. 

SB: Do you think part of being a USC athlete and student means you have an expectation to give back?

ZS: Maybe not an expectation, but you have the capability to make a big change. The resources that we have enable us to do anything. The more that people realize everything we have, the more people will want to use it for good. 

Meet Leon McQuay III

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McQuay-DayinTroy-McG.jpgName: Leon McQuay III

Position: DB

Class: Freshman

Size: 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds

Age: 18

High School: Armwood (Seffner, FL)

Game: McQuay is long and rangy, so he fits naturally as a deep safety, but he has intrigued the coaching staff as a possible solution at cornerback.  Off-the-field, he is a talented music producer and is pursuing that career at USC.

Prep Career: McQuay entered his freshman year at USC with many prep accolades including being named to the USA Today All-USA second team his senior year and first team his junior year. During the course of his senior year, he had 54 tackles and 5 interceptions as a safety. He is also currently a finalist for the Franklin D. Watkins Memorial Award given to the country's top African-American male high school scholar athlete. McQuay wrapped up his senior season playing in the Under Armour All-American game where he publicly chose USC. 

Spring Ball: He started spring ball trying to convert to cornerback, but he has played more safety lately.  If he stays at safety, he will likely fill a reserve role in 2013, but could end up as the perfect future pair with hard-hitting Su'a Cravens. 

To Quote McQuay: "I am in two music industry classes - one in the studio and one is about production management.  I get to work on the boards."

Here is McQuay with our Sarah Bergstrom...

Up to Par

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Written by Andie Hagemann, USC blog contributor

The top-ranked USC women's golf program is determined to clinch the 2013 NCAA Championship. During the past three seasons, USC has fallen just short of the title twice, including by only one stroke last year.

Popov-NG-13-PC.jpg"I think the rough part was that we lost in the last five holes after leading by four or five shots," said junior Sophia Popov. "When I was finished, I went to look at the scores and I saw our last players coming in. I knew then that it had turned around. It was a sad ending to the season."

The devastating loss gave Popov the motivation to work even harder during the 2012-13 season. "Not everyone experiences a loss like that," Popov said. "I gained a lot of experience through that and I feel that I am more mentally prepared for it."

With a roster lacking senior leadership and boasting five freshmen, program veterans Sophia Popov and Rachel Morris have taken the young team under their wing. "Rachel and I have taken over the roles of team captains. I have only been in this program for three years now but I feel I have been through many experiences here," Popov said. "Rachel and I know what it feels like to lose by one shot. We told the girls that this cannot happen and that we need to place an equal importance on every shot until the end, no matter how well or how poorly you are playing."

Two regular season tournaments remain for the Women of Troy before they embark on postseason play. Popov is using the extra time to make necessary adjustments to her game before the postseason commences.

"I'm not placing as much importance on these regular season tournaments. I'm playing different in a sense that I'm working on my swing and making changes to my game, trying things out while I still have the time before the postseason," Popov said. "I have two more tournaments to try out things and tweak a couple things in my swing. This is something that is a little different than in the past two seasons."

Athletes and Art

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

USC athletes took a little field trip to the Getty Villa this past weekend to tour the beautiful gardens and learn about athletes in ancient Roman art. The Stevens Academic Center put on the expedition to provide athletes with an opportunity to experience Los Angeles outside the boundaries of campus. 

After having some time to explore the Villa on their own, the Trojans were treated to an in-depth tour of the museum tailored to exhibits portraying ancient athletics. They learned that the Olympic games were originally created to keep soldiers in shape, mentally and physically, in between times of war. They also discovered that Romans believed the body of an athlete was the ideal form of beauty and perfection. Very similar to the tunnel walk into USC's Coliseum, the student-athletes learned that Roman Olympians would walk into the original Olympic games along a road lined with bronze statues of former great Olympians. 

The athletes enjoyed a beautiful afternoon at the facility built by J. Paul Getty in 1974 as a replication of an archaeological site buried in the ash of Mount Vesuvius. The Stevens Academic Center hopes to continue to provide athletes with opportunities to get off campus and further expand their experience as USC student-athletes. 

Dunk City, USC

USC men's basketball has reached an agreement with Andy Enfield to become the 25th head coach in the program's history.  Enfield will bring his up-tempo, "Dunk City" coaching philosophy to Los Angeles after leading the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles on a "Cinderella" run to the Sweet 16.

Click here for the complete release.

Enfield-FGCU.jpegAfter a nationwide coaching search, USC athletic director Pat Haden set his sights on Enfield to bring excitement back to the Galen Center, and create a winning culture within men's basketball. 

"My family and I are thrilled to join the Trojan Family and be part of the unparalleled athletic tradition at USC," said new head coach Andy Enfield.  "In meeting with Pat Haden, I was very impressed with his vision for the men's basketball program.  I am looking forward to bringing an exciting, up-tempo style of play to USC and building the men's basketball brand into one that the fans and basketball community will enjoy and respect."

Before bursting into the national spotlight this March, Enfield built an extensive resume as an assistant coach, shooting guru and business entrepreneur. 

He worked in the NBA for the Milwaukee Bucks (1995-96) and Boston Celtics (1999-2000) before venturing on his own as a player development consultant and an early partner in TractManager, a software contract management company in the health care industry.  He returned to basketball full-time as an assistant at Florida State (2007-11) before becoming the head coach at FGCU, where he went 41-28 over two seasons.

"Andy has been successful in every area of his life," said Haden.  "He has a consistent and proven record of success for more than 15 years in college and the NBA.  He is a respected teacher who develops his players on the court and sees them excel in the classroom, he is a noted shooting coach, he is a relentless recruiter and he has integrity and great character."

Enfield's run to the Sweet 16 was nothing short of historical as the Eagles were the first school since 1987 to win the first two NCAA tournament games in program history.  The FGCU program was in only its second year of Division 1 post-season eligibility, yet the Eagles managed to knock out No. 2 seed Georgetown and No. 7 seed San Diego State to become the first No. 15 seed ever to reach a regional semifinal.

Instead of playing conservatively, Enfield's team attacked its more highly-regarded opponents with a barrage of steals, threes and dunks.  The Atlantic Sun champions scored 70-plus points 25 times in 2013 and ranked 16th nationally in steals (8.9 per game).


Pursuing His Passion

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USC QB Matt Barkley announced via Twitter that he will forego the NFL Draft to pursue a career in professional ping pong.  Here is behind-the-scenes video of Barkley training to become a master at his craft...

Watch Your Phone

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USC season ticket holders may get a surprise call as the current Trojans are dialing up their loyal supporters to say, "Thank you!"

Click here for season ticket purchase and renewal info.

TE Xavier Grimble and his teammates spoke with members of the Trojan Family last week. 

Defending the Crown

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Women's tennis surprised the Pac-12 by taking the conference title last season, and the Women of Troy have no plan to give it back in 2013.  USC defeated Stanford at Marks Stadium Saturday for the first time since 2009 to move to a perfect 6-0 in Pac-12 play.

Click here for the recap.

The previous day, the Trojans took care of Cal as they continue to surge with nine consecutive dual match victories.  They finish the regular season with road contests at Arizona State (Friday), Arizona (Saturday) and Oregon (April 14) before a home finale against rival UCLA (April 18).

The match in Tempe could be the regular season conference decider as the Sun Devils are undefeated (5-0) as well.

Gabriella DeSimone clinched the victory over the Cardinal.
DeSimone-UCLA-McG.JPG(Photo by John McGillen)

Meet Jabari Ruffin

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Ruffin-Spring13-McG.jpgName: Jabari Ruffin

Position: DE-OLB

Class: Redshirt Freshman

Size: 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds

Age: 18

High School: Downey (Downey, CA)

Game: Ruffin is a long and strong athlete who is a prototypical 3-4 outside linebacker.  He can excel as a pass-rush but also has the foot speed to back off the line and play in space.

Prep Career: The U.S. Army All-American arrived at USC as part of the 2012 fall class.  As a senior in high school, he had 99 tackles on defense, while also amassing 549 yards and 5 TDs on 42 catches as a receiver.

Spring Ball: Ruffin spent much of the fall making the conversion from linebacker to defensive end in Monte Kiffin's system.  Now under Clancy Pendergast, he can fully utilize his skill-set in the 5-2 defense.  On the first day of spring practice, he showed his athleticism by dropping into coverage for a leaping interception.  He could be a major factor this season playing behind Devon Kennard and Morgan Breslin.

To Quote Ruffin: "[Pendergast] is kind of a perfectionist.  It's good to have a coach like that always.  I really do like him a lot."

Here is Ruffin with our Andie Hagemann...

Vlad Takes Indy

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USC junior Vladimir Morozov stole the show in Indianapolis last week as the sprinting star of the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships.  The Russian import took home three national titles, and made his biggest splash with a record-setting swim in a fourth race.

Click here for the complete recap of USC's fourth place finish at the NCAAs.

On the final day of the competition, Morozov won the 100y free in an NCAA record 40.76 before teaming up with Jack Wagner, Cristian Quintero and Dimitri Colupaev to blow away the field in the 4x100m relay.  Morozov, who won the 50y free earlier in the competition, is the first Trojan to ever sweep the sprints.

"That 100 free is by far the race that I'm most proud of. I took it out there about half a second faster than usual at the 50 and did my best to hold on to break the NCAA record," Morozov said. "I'm also very proud of our 'united nations' relay to finish off the meet in such a fashion. The guys did a great job on the first three legs of the relay and put me in the position to already be in the lead after a 25. It felt great to be the last ones to stand on the highest step of the podium as the meet came to an end."

Morozov-Podium-NCAA13-Walt-Middleton 2.jpg(Photo by Walt Middleton)

Photo Gallery: 2013 Spring Practice #9

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For the first time in three years, Lane Kiffin put his team through the "Oklahoma" drill, which is contact-heavy and tests the players' toughness.  Here is what it looked like as well as some scrimmage shots via John McGillen...