Dec. 15, 1997
USC Returns To Action After Long 18-Day Layoff
LOS ANGELES -- The USC men's basketball team (4-2), under the direction of head coach Henry Bibby, returns to the road to face Ohio State on Saturday, Dec. 20 in Columbus, Ohio. USC, which will be playing its fifth road game this season, has not played since Dec. 2 (due to final exams). The Trojans have already won three games on the road this season -- at Sacramento State, Loyola Marymount and San Diego State.
Bibby is in his second full season at the helm of the Trojan program. Last season, he led USC to a 17-11 overall record, a second-place tie in the Pacific-10 Conference race (12-6) and Troy's first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1992. This season's squad, which is led by forwards Gary Williams and Adam Spanich and guards Gary Johnson and Elias Ayuso, is comprised of eight returners, four newcomers and one player coming off a redshirt year. Gone from last year's roster are four players _ Stais Boseman, Jaha Wilson, David Crouse and NBA first-rounder Rodrick Rhodes _ who each made a dramatic impact on Troy's success.
USC (4-2) at Ohio State (4-2 _ hosts Cal State Northridge on Dec. 15 and plays at Southwestern Louisiana on Dec. 17) on Saturday, Dec. 20. Tipoff is set for 2:00 p.m. EST at St. John Arena. The 1997-98 season marks the 42nd and final year that the Buckeyes will be playing their home games at St. John Arena, which is one of college basketball's most famous venues. Coming into this season, Ohio State was 419-141 (.738) in the 13,246-seat arena. The contest will be broadcast live on the Trojan Basketball Radio Network on KIEV-AM (870). The game will not be televised in the Southern California area.
Last Two Games
On Dec. 2, the Trojans lost at the Sports Arena to UNLV, 82-72, dropping their first game at home since last January. USC not only lost the game, but also one of its most important players as sophomore forward-center Jarvis Turner fractured a bone in his left hand in the first half. By the start of the second half, Turner was already sporting a cast and was projected to be out four to six weeks. Senior guards Gary Johnson (career-high 18 points) and Ken Sims (10 points and 12 rebounds) led the Trojans, who shot only 38 percent from the field and were outscored 17-6 in the final six-and-a-half minutes of the game. Rebel guard Corky Ausborne led all scorers with a career-high 19 points. USC outrebounded UNLV, 52-40, led by freshman forward Shannon Swillis, who came off the bench to pull down a career-high 15 rebounds (the most by a Trojan since the 1995-96 season). USC junior forward Adam Spanich, who brought a team-leading 15.6-point average into the game, was held to two points. Senior forward Gary Williams added 12 points for USC, while freshman guard Jeff Trepagnier chipped in with 11 points, six rebounds and four blocked shots.
On Nov. 29, Spanich, one of four Trojans to score in double figures, poured in 27 points (most points by a Trojan this season) to lead USC to a 76-72 victory at San Diego State. Johnson and Williams added 15 and 13 points, respectively. Led by Spanich's 7-of-11 performance from three-point range, the Trojans were 10-of-21 from long distance. San Diego State, however, kept the game close by forcing 25 turnovers. USC also did not help its own cause by going 12-of-21 from the free throw line. Guard Matt Watts led the Aztecs with a career-high 24 points. The victory was Troy's fourth in a row and third on the road this season.
On The Air
The USC-Ohio State game will be broadcast live on the Trojan Basketball Radio Network on KIEV-AM (870). Larry Kahn handles the radio play-by-play, while ex-USC assistant coach Jim Hefner adds the color commentary. All of USC's radio broadcasts also feature short pre- and post-game shows immediately before and after the game. The game will not be televised in the Southern California area (ESPN-Plus will broadcast the game live only in the Columbus area on WBNS-TV 10).
Last season, Henry Bibby (the 20th head coach in Trojan history) led USC to a 17-11 overall record, a second-place tie in the Pacific-10 Conference race (12-6) and Troy's first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1992. The only person to ever play for an NCAA, NBA and CBA championship team, Bibby has 15 years of college and professional coaching experience. Last season, he notched his first victory as a collegiate head coach versus Long Beach State (77-70 _ Nov. 30, 1996), which started him on his way toward posting the best record by a Trojan coach in his first full season since Forrest Twogood went 21-6 in 1951.
Ohio State's Jim O'Brien is in his first season with the Buckeyes. He is in his 16th year as a collegiate coach and entered the season with a 235-217 overall record. O'Brien spent four years at St. Bonaventure (1983-86) and 11 seasons at Boston College (1987-97), where he was a three-year letterman and the team's leading scorer in 1970 and 1971. Three of his last four Boston College teams advanced to the NCAA Tournament. The game will be O'Brien's first meeting with USC.
The USC-Ohio State series is tied, 3-3. Only one of those meetings was in Columbus. The Buckeyes won that contest, 73-56, in 1993. In the most recent meeting on Dec. 21, 1996, the Trojans were without the services of four starters, but still managed to easily defeat Ohio State, 79-68, at the Sports Arena. USC's Rodrick Rhodes, Stais Boseman and Gary Williams were suspended for the game after breaking a team rule, and freshman Danny Walker did not play due to a knee injury. Trojan guards Ken Sims (5-of-9 from three-point range) and Elias Ayuso led USC with 17 points apiece. Senior forward Jaha Wilson added 16 points and nine rebounds, while senior center David Crouse chipped in with 15 points and eight rebounds. Ohio State's Jermaine Tate led all scorers with 19 points.
The injury bug has hampered the Trojans from before the season even began. Senior forward Anthony White is expected to be out until at least mid-January. He broke a bone in his right foot in a pick-up game on Oct. 13. Junior forward Jarvis Turner is out after fracturing a bone in his left hand against UNLV on Dec. 2. The Trojans are hopeful that he will be able to return to action when the Pacific-10 Conference season begins on Jan. 3 at Arizona State. Freshman point guard Kevin Augustine is doubtful for the game at Ohio State with tendinitis in the rotator cuff of his right shoulder. Junior guard Elias Ayuso is expected to play at Ohio State. His recovery from a sprained right shoulder last week is complete.
Long Distance Operators
USC is currently shooting .402 from three-point range this season (No. 3 in the Pac-10). Led by junior forward Adam Spanich, the Trojans have hit 47-of-117 three-point attempts in their first six games (No. 2 in the Pac-10 in three-point field goals made). Spanich is 17-of-36 from behind the arc, while seniors guard Ken Sims is 6-of-13 and senior forward Gary Williams is 5-of-12 from long distance.
All 10 of the Trojans who have played this season are averaging at least 14 minutes a game.
At The Sports Arena
Dating back to last season, the Trojans are 12-3 in their last 15 games at the Sports Arena and USC is 70-27 (.722) at the Sports Arena since the beginning of the 1991 season, including a 16-game winning streak over the span of the 1992 and 1993 seasons and a seven-game winning streak at the beginning of last season.
News & Notes
Thirteen different players have started for USC over the course of the past two seasons in 17 different starting lineups ... Since the beginning of last season, the Trojans are 18-0 when leading with 5:00 remaining, 15-2 when they outrebound the opposition and 9-1 in games decided by seven points or less ... Street & Smith's 1997-98 Basketball Annual lists the Trojans as one of the 64 teams in the 1998 NCAA Tournament ... According to recruiting expert Bob Gibbons, USC has the second-best 1997 fall recruiting class in the Pac-10 (to Arizona) and ranks among the Top 10 nationally ... The Nov. 1 issue of Basketball Times, USC has the No. 2 recruiting class in the country (based on early commitments as of Sept. 13) ... USC's season-opener against New Mexico at the NABC Classic in Albuquerque, N.M. on Nov. 11, represented the earliest start of a basketball season in the history of both teams. The previous earliest regular-season game in Trojan history was on Nov. 16, 1994, when USC hosted New Mexico State in the first-round of the Pre-season NIT. Last season, the Trojans opened the regular season almost three weeks later on Nov. 30, 1996. In fact, USC played five games this season prior to the date of last season's opener and went 4-1 in those contests.
USC is scheduled to play five of the top 12 teams in the preseason ESPN/USA Today Top 25 (No. 1 Arizona, No. 4 Kansas, No. 5 UCLA, No. 10 New Mexico and No. 12 Stanford). Besides the usual rigors of the Pacific-10 Conference, USC's schedule includes a challenging slate of games. USC opened the season on the road on Nov. 11 at the NABC Classic in Albuquerque, N.M. against host New Mexico, which was working on a 26-game home winning streak (third longest in the country) at "The Pit." The road schedule also includes a game at Ohio State (Dec. 2) and a pair of "Freeway Series" games against two local rivals _ Loyola Marymount (Nov. 21) and Long Beach State (Dec. 27). The featured match-up in USC's non-conference schedule is a home clash with national powerhouse Kansas on Dec. 23. The other three teams that visit the Sports Arena before the start of the Pac-10 season are UC Santa Barbara (Nov. 25), UNLV (Dec. 2) and Tennessee (Dec. 30). The Trojans open league play on the road against Arizona State and defending NCAA champion Arizona (Jan. 3 and Jan. 5) and close out the regular season against those same teams back in Los Angeles, where Troy will have the luxury of playing five of its last seven games. USC, however, has to play four of its first five games on the road. According to the rankings in USA Today, last season's USC schedule was the 11th toughest among the nation's 307 teams and the second toughest in the Pac-10.
A 6-foot-7, 235-pound senior, Gary Williams is a player the Trojans will depend on heavily this season. Last season, Williams (a starter in 21 games) generally played out of position at power forward due to the personnel on the 1996-97 team. This season, Gary will play at his natural position of small forward where he can better utilize his skills on the perimeter (he is currently 5-of-12 from three-point range). He has started all six games this season and leads the team in scoring with a 13.7 average (No. 16 in the Pac-10). Against UNLV, he finished with 12 points in only 18 minutes of action. At San Diego State, Gary had 13 points, four rebounds and three assists. In the home-opener against UC Santa Barbara, he finished with a game-high 19 points, six rebounds and two steals. Against Loyola Marymount, Gary poured in a career-high 23 points and also hit a career-high three three-pointers to go along with eight rebounds and three assists. At Sacramento State, he finished with eight points. Gary had seven points and two rebounds in the season-opener at New Mexico. His play at both ends of the floor and the leadership he provides will be among the major keys to the season. After transferring from Riverside (Calif.) Community College, Williams was a mainstay along Troy's frontline in 1996-97 as a junior. He averaged 7.9 points and 4.0 rebounds per contest and also shot 76% from the foul line (third on the team). Gary earned an All-Pac-10 All-Newcomer Honorable Mention selection. A native of Bay Shore, N.Y., Williams averaged 25.1 points and 7.5 rebounds in 1995-96 at Riverside (Calif.) Community College. He spent his freshman season at Richmond, playing in 24 games for the Spiders in 1993-94, and then redshirted in 1994-95.
A 6-foot-8, 230-pound sophomore forward-center, Jarvis Turner is one of the keys to USC's season. He can play any position in the frontcourt, but is most valuable to the Trojans filling the gap at center. Jarvis is expected to be out of action at least two more weeks after fracturing a bone in his left hand in the first half against UNLV. He is currently USC's third leading scorer at 13.2 points per game (No. 20 in the Pac-10) and best free-throw shooter (19-of-24 _ .792, No. 9 in the Pac-10). Before his injury, Jarvis had a good game going against UNLV, scoring six points in the first eight minutes of the contest. At San Diego State, he scored 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting. In the home-opener against UC Santa Barbara, Jarvis finished with 15 points, four rebounds and two assists. Against Loyola Marymount, he scored a career-high 19 points and also had six rebounds, three steals and two assists. At Sacramento State, Jarvis scored all nine of his points in the second half, hitting four of his five shots from the field. In the season-opener at New Mexico, he scored a career-high 18 points and also had five rebounds, two assists and two steals. Last year, he started out slow due to an injury, but returned to action and showed flashes of the great potential he displayed in high school. After sitting out the first six games of the regular season with a stress fracture in his back, he returned to the court against Ohio State (Dec. 21) and went on to start three games (including USC's game at UCLA). Last season, Jarvis averaged 5.0 points and 3.0 rebounds per game as a true freshman. For his efforts, he earned an All-Pac-10 All-Freshman Honorable Mention selection. He sank the first five shots of his Trojan career, including a three-pointer against Washington. Turner averaged 24.1 points and 9.7 rebounds in 1996 as a senior at South Bakersfield (Calif.) High, leading the Rebels to a 24-6 mark and the Southwestern Yosemite League title.
A 6-foot, 175-pound senior from Washington D.C., Gary Johnson is USC's starting point guard. The speedster, who is known for making key steals late in games, is being asked to provide leadership for Troy's young squad as well as strong play at both ends of the court. Gary is averaging 4.8 assists (No. 4 in the Pac-10) and 2.5 steals (No. 6 in the Pac-10) per game. Against UNLV, he scored a career-high 18 points and also had five rebounds, four assists and three steals. At San Diego State, Gary tied his then-career-high with 15 points and also had five rebounds and four assists. In the home-opener against UC Santa Barbara, he scored 13 points, had eight assists for the second consecutive game and made a career-high six steals. Against Loyola Marymount, Gary was one of the key players of the game, hitting four clutch free throws in the final 64 seconds. He finished with career-highs in points (15) and assists (eight) to go along with four steals (one of which sealed the victory in the closing seconds). At Sacramento State, Gary finished with seven points, three rebounds and three assists. Johnson also goes by the nickname "To-To" (pronounced TOO-too), which he has had practically from birth. He started eight games last season as a junior (including USC's last four regular-season contests and the NCAA Tournament game against Illinois). He averaged 3.6 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. In Pac-10 play, Gary averaged 3.9 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists. He made the first start of his USC career against then-No. 6 Arizona and responded with nine points, eight rebounds and four assists in Troy's 75-62 victory. At Washington State, Gary scored just three points, but he had five steals, including one with 18 seconds to play that proved to be the key play in a 92-85 victory that clinched USC's first NCAA Tournament berth since 1992. He also played at Brown Mackie College (Kansas) in 1995-96 and at Jacksonville College (Texas) in 1994-95.
A 6-foot-7, 212-pound sharp-shooting junior forward, Adam Spanich has added a marksman's touch and scoring punch to USC's bench after transferring from Marshalltown (Iowa) Community College. Adam is currently second on the team in scoring at 13.3 points per game (No. 19 in the Pac-10 _ 28-of-54 from the field, 17-of-36 from three-point range). At his present pace, Adam could threaten Phil Glenn's all-time USC record for three-pointers in a season (93 set in 30 games in 1993). Against UNLV, Adam had an off night, scoring just two points on a pair of free throws. At San Diego State, he poured in a season-high 27 points (8-of-13 from the field, 7-of-11 on three-pointers -- his fifth consecutive game in double figures) in only 27 minutes off the bench. Adam's 27 points against the Aztecs is the most scored by a Trojan this season and the most by a USC player since Rodrick Rhodes established his collegiate career-high with 32 points at Washington last season (March 8). His seven three-pointers at SDSU are also the most made by a Pac-10 player this season. In the home-opener against UC Santa Barbara, Adam finished with 10 points and was 2-of-4 from three-point land. Against Loyola Marymount, he hit a 19-foot jumper with 24 seconds left to break a tie and lead USC to a 92-88 victory. Adam finished with 13 points and four rebounds. At Sacramento State, he led all scorers with 18 points (4-of-7 from three-point range) and also had six rebounds. In the season-opener at New Mexico, Adam sank the first two three-pointers of his Trojan career and went on to finish with 10 points. In addition to his prolific three-point shot, he brings leadership and a solid work ethic to the Trojan squad. Spanich can play anywhere from the shooting guard to power forward. Last season, he averaged 18.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists as a sophomore at Marshalltown CC. Considered one of the purest long-range shooters in the nation, Spanich connected on 47% of his three-pointers last season (92-of-195) and was even more of a marksman during league play, sinking 60% of his attempts from beyond the arc. He was a 1997 JC All-America honorable mention selection. Spanich also has previous NCAA Division I experience, having spent the 1995-96 season as a freshman at Oral Roberts. He was Iowa's 1995 Mr. Basketball while playing at Regis High in Cedar Rapids.
A 6-foot-2, 195-pound junior, Elias Ayuso returns as USC's starting shooting guard after establishing himself as one of the Pac-10's top long-range marksmen last season. He is one of Troy's top options on offense. In only 34 games as a Trojan, Elias already ranks at No. 10 on USC's all-time three-pointer list with 58. Against UNLV, he had eight points and four assists. In the home-opener against UC Santa Barbara, Elias scored a season-high 18 points (including three three-pointers) and passed out a career-high five assists. Against Loyola Marymount, he scored 14 points and had a career-high five steals. At Sacramento State, Elias finished with 14 points (5-of-7 from the field, 2-of-3 from three-point range). In the season-opener at New Mexico, he managed just five shots and finished with six points. In USC's second exhibition game against the Washington Dunk All-Stars, Elias led all scorers with 24 points and was 4-of-6 from three-point range. Last year, Ayuso provided a tremendous boost to USC as a sophomore after transferring from New Mexico Junior College in Hobbs, N.M. He was named to the Pacific-10 Conference All-Newcomer first team. Elias, who started 21 games for the Trojans, shot .398 (49-of-123) from behind the three-point line. He averaged 8.9 points per game and his three-point percentage ranked him at No. 10 in the Pac-10. In conference play, Elias averaged 10.1 points and 2.1 threes per contest. He was one of only two players to play in all 28 games in 1996-97. At NMJC as a 1995-96 freshman, he averaged 10.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game. Ayuso's real first name is Elias, but he also goes by the name "Larry," a moniker he gave himself as a youngster living in the Bronx. Ayuso was born in Puerto Rico, where his nickname is "el rifle" (which means the rifle and is pronounced REEF-lay), but grew up in New York City and then moved to Roswell, N.M. Incredibly, he first played organized basketball in the fall of 1993.
A 6-foot-6, 225-pound redshirt freshman forward, Shannon Swillis could be Troy's most surprising player this season. Shannon is currently USC's leading rebounder and one of the best in the Pac-10, averaging 8.3 boards per game (No. 2 in the Pac-10). He also has a team-high eight blocked shots this season (1.3 per game _ No. 4 in the Pac-10). Against UNLV, Shannon yanked down a career-high 15 rebounds, the most by a Trojan since Jaha Wilson grabbed 15 against Arizona in the 1995-96 season. It marked the fifth time this season that he has led the Trojans on the boards. Shannon also had three points, three blocked shots, a steal and an assist versus the Runnin' Rebels. At San Diego State, he pulled down a game-high eight rebounds and chipped in with four points. In the home-opener against UC Santa Barbara, Shannon continued his excellent work on the glass, pulling down 10 rebounds. At Sacramento State, he was one of USC's most vital performers, controlling the boards with nine rebounds (he also had two blocks and two steals). In his Trojan debut at New Mexico, Shannon came off the bench to provide five points, four rebounds and a team-high four assists. In USC's first exhibition game, he scored eight points and pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds off the bench. In the second exhibition game, Shannon had 10 points, eight rebounds and two blocks. Swillis was one of USC's three freshmen who were expected to play key roles last season. However, he broke a bone in his right foot before the start of the campaign. He returned to practice in mid-January, but did not play and was redshirted. Swillis averaged 17.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game in 1996 as a senior at Bullard High (Fresno, Calif.).
A 6-foot-5, 200-pound senior swingman, Ken Sims is known for his athleticism, three-point shot and tough defense. Because he can play point guard, shooting guard and small forward, his versatility is a luxury for the USC coaching staff. Ken is currently 6-of-13 from three-point range this season (.462 _ No. 8 in the Pac-10). He started at small forward against UNLV and responded with 10 points and 12 rebounds, recording the first double-double of his USC career and the first by a Trojan this season. At Sacramento State, Ken scored six points and grabbed four rebounds. In the season-opener at New Mexico, he was 3-of-4 from the field (2-of-3 from three-point range) and finished with eight points, five rebounds, two assists and a steal. Ken started both of Troy's exhibition games as a small forward and scored a combined 16 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Sims, who is also an excellent baseball player, has been pitching in the Baltimore Orioles farm system for the past two summers (he is technically a walk-on _ the Orioles are paying for his college education). He played in 25 games last season as a junior and started six times for the Trojans after transferring to USC from New Mexico Junior College in Hobbs, N.M. Last season, he averaged 4.4 points and 1.9 rebounds per contest. Ken started at shooting guard in USC's first three games of the season, scoring a combined 26 points (including 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting vs. LMU). He scored a season-high 17 points in the victory over Ohio State and also had four rebounds and four assists in that contest. A native of Union, S.C., Sims played baseball as well as basketball at New Mexico Junior College during the 1994-95 and 1995-96 seasons.
A 6-foot-4, 175-pound freshman guard, Jeff Trepagnier has described by USC head coach Henry Bibby as the "steal" of Troy's highly-rated 1996-97 recruiting class. An amazingly gifted athlete who hustles all over the court, he is already among the best leapers in the Pac-10. Against UNLV, he had his best game, contributing 11 points, six rebounds and four blocked shots to the Trojan effort. At San Diego State, Jeff did not score in 13 minutes off the bench, but he did grab three rebounds, make three assists and force a couple Aztec turnovers with his hustle. At Sacramento State, Jeff put on an impressive performance that included seven points, six rebounds, five assists and a steal in only 19 minutes of action off the bench. In the season-opener at New Mexico, Jeff had an explosive fourth quarter (the game was played under experimental rules) by scoring nine points, including two thunderous dunks. He also finished with five points, three assists and two rebounds and was frequently seen well above the rim in USC's first exhibition game. Last season, he averaged 19.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.0 blocked shots per game as a senior in 1997 at Compton (Calif.) High.
A 6-foot-8, 200-pound forward-center, Greg Lakey will play a major role this season in the Trojan frontcourt. He has started three games this season at power forward. Greg made the first start of his Trojan career against Loyola Marymount and finished with four points. At Sacramento State, he played an all-around strong game, finishing with six points, four rebounds, two blocks, two steals and an assist. In the season-opener at New Mexico, he scored eight points (4-of-8 from the field) and pulled down three rebounds off the bench in 24 minutes of action. Greg had an impressive showing in USC's first exhibition game, scoring 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting (including a three-pointer) to go along with five rebounds. In the second exhibition game, he scored 20 points (6-of-8 from the field) and had five assists and four rebounds. Last season, he averaged 23.1 points, 10.2 rebounds, 3.0 blocks and 2.0 steals per game last year while leading Lynwood (Calif.) High to an 18-10 overall record. During the summer prior to his senior season, Lakey blossomed while averaging 30 points in summer league games. He also attended the prestigious ABCD Camp in Teaneck, N.J., where he was selected as one of the Top 20 seniors.
A 6-foot, 180-pound point guard, Kevin Augustine is Troy's most well-known true freshman. He was expected to make an immediate impact in the USC backcourt this season, but has been hampered by injuries so far. Kevin is doubtful for the Ohio State game due to tendinitis in the rotator cuff in his right shoulder. He did not play at Loyola Marymount due to an illness, then returned to action in the home-opener against UC Santa Barbara and scored five points in just 13 minutes of action. At Sacramento State, Kevin played just 16 minutes off the bench, but managed a game-high eight assists to go along with three rebounds and two points. In the season-opener at New Mexico, Kevin finished with five points and a team-high three steals in 24 minutes of action off the bench. Kevin played extremely well in USC's first exhibition game, handing out 11 assists to go along with five points and five rebounds. Last season, he led Mater Dei High (Santa Ana, Calif.) to its sixth consecutive CIF Southern Section Division I-A championship, averaging 19.4 points, 8.7 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game. Kevin shot 55% from the floor (211-of-385) during his senior season.
A 6-foot-8, 215-pound forward, Anthony White is expected to be out until at least mid-January. He broke a bone in his right foot on Oct. 13. One of only a few players on the roster able to play in the low post, the senior from Jersey City, N.J., will be a key performer for the Trojans this season when he returns. Last season, White played in 19 games as a junior and started twice (vs. Ohio State and at Stanford). He did not start the 1996-97 campaign smoothly either. Anthony sat out the fall semester (the first six games of the season) while earning enough units to meet NCAA degree progress requirements. While sitting out those six games, he lost a lot of the momentum he picked up after an outstanding showing in pre-season practice. He was a junior college All-American in 1995-96 at Los Angeles City College (averaged 24.6 points and 13.8 rebounds as a sophomore) and also played previously at Hutchinson (Kan.) College in 1994-95 (averaged 11.2 points and 7.8 rebounds).
Behzad Souferian & Seymour Daffeh
Senior guard Behzad Souferian and junior forward Seymour Daffeh are the elder statesmen of the USC men's basketball team. They both were walk-ons during the previous two years, before earning scholarships prior to this season. Souferian has played in 18 games for USC and even started once. In the second exhibition game, Behzad scored six points. Daffeh has seen action in a total of seven games. They are the only two current players who were on the 1995-96 Trojan squad when Henry Bibby arrived at USC as an assistant coach.
What A Difference A Year Made
The 1996-97 Trojans (17-11 overall) posted the third biggest turnaround in school history, improving by seven games (USC went 11-19 in 1995-96). From 1923 to 1924 and from 1984 to 1985, Troy improved by nine games. USC, which went from ninth place in 1995-96 to tied for second in the Pac-10 last season, also tied the school record for improvement in the standings with a jump of seven spots. The Trojans also improved by seven spots from 1984 to 1985, going from eighth to a first-place tie (with Washington).