Mark Trakh Returns To USC WBB

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trakh-wbb (1).jpgToday, USC Athletic Director Lynn Swann announced the hiring of Mark Trakh as head coach of USC women's basketball.

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"We are thrilled to welcome Mark back to USC," said Swann. "It was important for us to hire a coach who really wanted to be at USC, who truly cares about our student-athletes and who believes in the Trojan way of excelling. We found that coach in Mark Trakh. He has the experience and maturity to help our young team grow and develop."

This is Trakh's second stint at USC, having previously coached the Women of Troy from 2005-09. During those five seasons, Trakh's teams went 90-64, advanced to the NCAA Tournament twice and finished in the top half of the Pac-12 each year.

This season, Trakh replaces Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, who stepped down last month after four years at the helm of the program.

"I'm excited to once again be a part of the great tradition at USC," said Trakh. "I really want to reignite the tradition of excellence that we have at USC. It all starts with recruiting and coaching up the women and helping them succeed."

Trakh certainly had success in recruiting during his first go-around at Troy, signing four Top 10 classes, including the No. 1 class in 2006.

Trakh resigned from USC for personal reasons in 2009 and took nearly two years off from coaching before joining San Diego State's staff. For the past six years, he has served as head coach at New Mexico State, going 104-80 overall. In each of the last three seasons there, he was named the WAC Coach of of the Year for guiding his team to 20-plus victories, the regular season WAC title and the WAC Tournament title.

Overall, in his 22 years as a head coach at the collegiate level, Trakh boasts a 393-267 record, with eight NCAA Tournament trips, seven regular season championships and five conference Coach of the Year honors.

Follow USC women's basketball on Twitter for updates and use the hashtag #TrakhIsBack to welcome Trakh home.

Another Bruin Battle

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Along with beach volleyball, women's water polo and men's tennis, USC women's tennis will clash with UCLA to close out the regular season this weekend.

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The No. 32 Women of Troy head to Westwood at noon tomorrow to take on the No. 22 Bruins. The Trojans are looking to avenge a tight 4-3 loss to UCLA earlier this season, which didn't count toward conference play. USC is also looking to get back to its winning ways after a 4-3 loss to Pepperdine on Wednesday snapped its four-match win streak.

UCLA boasts the highest-ranked player in tomorrow's matchup in No. 3 Ena Shibahara. The Bruins have one more ranked singles player, while USC has three, led by No. 27 Gabby Smith. Both teams have two ranked doubles teams.

Follow the Women of Troy on Facebook and Twitter to stay up-to-date on news and results!


Warriors In The Water

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In its regular season finale tomorrow, USC's second-ranked women's water polo team tangles with No. 1 UCLA.

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The Trojans head to Westwood with their sights set on a share of the regular season MPSF title. With a 26-1 (4-1 MPSF) record, USC would need to beat UCLA (19-1, 5-0 MPSF) to earn it.

This is the second meeting of the season between these two teams, as USC eked out a 10-9 victory in the semifinals of the Barbara Kalbus Invitational in February.

UCLA jumped from No. 3 to No. 1 in the country last week after beating Stanford, the team that snapped USC's 52-game win streak earlier this month. The Bruins also hold an eight-goal scoring differential over the Trojans, so USC would need to beat them by eight to earn the top seed in the upcoming MPSF Tournament.

Tomorrow's 1 p.m. matchup will be a battle between USC's conference-leading offense (15.56 gpg) and UCLA's conference-leading defense (4.1 gpg). The battle will be broadcast live on Pac-12 Los Angeles and will be streamed on


Trojans Eye A Title

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USC men's tennis can clinch a share of the Pac-12 regular season title with a win at UCLA today.

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The No. 6 Trojans head to Westwood to take on No. 8 UCLA for the third time this season. The Bruins took the first battle, a 4-3 decision at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships, but the Trojans pulled off a resounding 4-1 win when the teams met again last month.

Today's match, which begins at 3 p.m., will decide the top seed in the upcoming Pac-12 Tournament. USC enters the matchup at 22-4 (5-1 Pac-12), while UCLA is 16-4 with a 5-0 mark in conference play. Should the Trojans win, each team would have one Pac-12 loss and a share of the title. Should the Bruins come out on top, they'd win the conference outright.

Both the Trojans and Bruins boasts two ranked singles players, while USC also has two ranked doubles teams to UCLA's one.

USC freshman Riley Smith has the team's hottest hand right now, having won his last 12 singles matches. Sophomore Jack Jaede, meanwhile, has won six in a row.

The Trojans and Bruins clash today at 3 p.m. at UCLA.

Two To Go

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bvb-seniors.jpgAfter opening up the season 28-0, USC's top-ranked beach volleyball team closes out the regular season tomorrow with a double-header against Cal Poly and No. 2 UCLA.

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Yesterday, the Women of Troy extended their winning streak to 58 consecutive duals with a 4-1 win over Long Beach State and a 5-0 sweep of Cal State Bakersfield.

USC's five seniors -- Sophie Bukovec, Nicolette Martin, Allie Wheeler, Sara Hughes and Kelly Claes -- will play the last home matches of their careers tomorrow at Merle Norman Stadium.

This remarkable senior class has posted a 113-5 record during its four years at Troy and has led the team to two national championships. Hughes and Martin are this year's captains, while Hughes and Claes have dominated throughout their careers.

Hughes is a three-time AVCA All-American who won the Pac-12 Pairs Championship in 2016 and the AVCA Pairs National Championship in 2015 alongside Claes. During their time at Troy, Claes and Hughes strung along a 103-match win streak as a pair, which stretched from the 2015 season until earlier this month.

Martin is a Pac-12 All-Academic First Teamer who boasts a 120-20 overall record during her four seasons. She played exclusively alongside Wheeler last season, but Wheeler has played primarily with Bukovec this year.

Bukovec, a Toronto native, was a Pac-12 First Teamer in 2016 and an AVCA All-American in 2015.

The Trojans will honor these five seniors for their remarkable accomplishments tomorrow. USC's match vs. Cal Poly begins at 1 p.m. and the match vs. No. 2 UCLA begins at 3 p.m.

Coming Home

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Yesterday, the NFL's 2017 schedule was released, and several Trojans learned they'd be back in the Coliseum this fall.

Nickell Robey-Coleman and Robert Woods, the Los Angeles Rams' newest Trojan representative, will play seven regular season home games at the Coliseum. The first fellow Trojan to come to town is Redskins safety Su'a Cravens, who visits his old stomping grounds in Week 2.

The Seahawks, led by former USC head coach Pete Carroll and featuring Trojans Tre Madden and George Farmer, will be in the Coliseum Week 5.

In Week 10, the Houston Texans and their all-time leading tackler, Brian Cushing, come to town. Cushing was an All-American, Rose Bowl Defensive MVP and team captain during his time at Troy.

In Week 14, USC All-American wide receiver Nelson Agholor will make his first return to the Coliseum.

In the Rams' regular season finale against the 49ers, two more Trojans will step foot on their old home field once again: QB Matt Barkley and LB Malcolm Smith.

Click here for the full Rams schedule!

If Trojan fans can't make it to the Coliseum this year, they can head just down the road to the StubHub Center, where Max Tuerk and the Los Angeles Chargers will host a number of Trojan football alumni as well. Kevon Seymour (Bills), Cody Kessler (Browns), Randall Telfer (Browns), Cravens and Agholor will all play just over 10 miles from USC this NFL season.

Click here for the full Chargers schedule!

Die-hard fans looking to spend a full weekend at the Coliseum will have two opportunities to do so this fall. On Sept. 9, USC hosts Stanford in its second home game of the season. The very next day, the Rams host their home opener against the Colts. On Sept. 16, USC hosts a marquee matchup with Texas, followed by a Rams game vs. the Redskins on Sunday.

Click here for an inside look at how the Coliseum staff flips the stadium from Trojans colors to Rams'!

With the 2017 NFL Draft just around the corner, a few more Trojans may get to return to the Coliseum sooner than they could have dreamed.


Good Luck Chuck

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Charles O'Bannon Jr., the No. 28 prospect on ESPN's Top 100, has joined USC men's basketball's incoming 2017 recruiting class.

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O'Bannon Jr. prepped at Bishop Gorman HS (Las Vegas, NV), averaging 21.4 PPG, 8.1 RPG and 4.0 APG his senior year, while leading his team to a 22-9 record. He scored 36 points and grabbed 11 boards in the 2017 4A state title game, which Bishop Gorman won for the sixth year in a row.

"Chuck is an excellent all-around basketball player who is a great fit for our system" said USC head coach Andy Enfield. "We are excited to add his offensive explosiveness and his size and length at the guard position. Chuck has a great passion for the game of basketball and Trojan fans will enjoy watching him play."

O'Bannon Jr. was a 2017 McDonald's All-American, posting a 10-point, three-rebound and two-assist effort in the McDonald's All-American Game last month. He is USC's first McDonald's All-American signee since DeMar DeRozan in 2008.

O'Bannon joins Jordan Usher and Victor Uyaelunmo in USC's Class of 2017. With Chimezie Metu returning and Derryck Thornton Jr. joining the team after sitting out a year due to NCAA transfer rules, the Trojans looked stocked for the upcoming season.

Meet Frank Martin II

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usc-spring-game-2017-mcgillen-2343.jpgName: Frank Martin II

Position: OL

Class: Redshirt Freshman

Size: 6-foot-5, 310 pounds

Age: 19

High School (Hometown): Mater Dei HS (West Covina, CA)

Game: Martin is a big body who currently projects as an offensive guard, but the Trojans like to train their linemen at several spots, so he worked at tackle as well last year. He is expected to start this season as a reserve, competing for playing time behind the veteran guards.

Prep Career: He made 2015 Prep Star All-American Dream Team, Tacoma News Tribune Western 100, USA Today All-California first team, Cal-Hi Sports All-State first team, All-CIF Pac 5 Division, Fox Sports West/Prime Ticket All-CIF, Los Angeles Times All-Area first team, Orange County Register All-Orange County first team and All-Trinity League first team as a senior offensive lineman at Mater Dei High in Santa Ana.

Martin on why he chose USC: "[I wanted a school with] prestigious academics and football tradition, and [the] opportunity to showcase my skills at the highest level no matter where they might be."

Fun Fact: Martin went to high school with three current USC teammates: CB Jonathan Lockett, DL Connor Rossow and LB Grant Moore.

Here is Martin on who has mentored him at USC, growing up watching Trojan football and more:

To Whom It May Concern

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USC_Football_Arizona_McGillen_DSC_2939110815 (1).jpgNext week, JuJu Smith-Schuster and group of fellow Trojans will learn their fate at the 2017 NFL Draft.

In preparation, Smith-Schuster penned a resume and a cover letter in The Players' Tribune to explain why he thinks teams should draft him. His cover letter focuses less on his stats -- though 3,092 career yards are certainly impressive -- and more on his passion for football and competition.

Twenty-year-old Smith-Schuster pointed to his performance in USC's 2015 game vs. Arizona as an example of his love for the game. The wideout hauled in eight balls for 138 yards and a touchdown,  all with a metal plate inserted into his right hand, having broken it in USC's game the week before.

"When you know something is going to hurt and you not only do it anyway, but you do it at full speed and don't miss a beat -- that's the definition of toughness, in my opinion," said Smith-Schuster of his mindset that night.

Read Smith-Schuster's full NFL Draft Cover Letter here.

Jones' and Sloan's

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USC track & field swept the Pac-12 Track & Field Men's and Women's Field Athlete of the Week awards, the conference announced yesterday.

Senior Eric Sloan repeated as men's field athlete of the week after winning the triple jump at this weekend's Beach Invitational in Long Beach, CA. He beat out an Olympian and a former U.S. triple jump champion in the event with a 53-10.50/16.42m (+1.7). His jump ranked second among all collegiate athletes this season and best in the Pac-12 by more than two feet.

Jones finished first among collegians and third overall in the long jump at the Beach Invitational. She posted a season-best and Pac-12 best 20-8.50/6.31m (+0.0) to finish behind only a 2015 Pan American Games gold medalist and a former Pac-12 champion.

USC has now earned seven Pac-12 weekly Track & Field awards this season heading into its next competition: the Triton Invitational at UCSD.