USC Looks To Bounce Back From Opening Loss With Games In South Carolina
Nov. 13, 2007
LOS ANGELES -- The USC men's basketball team (0-1) travels to Charleston, S.C. to face The Citadel (1-1) on Nov. 15 at 7:05 p.m. at McAlister Field House. Following that game, USC will head to Columbia, S.C. where it will face South Carolina (2-0) on Nov. 17 in a 7:30 p.m. game at the Colonial Center.
SCOUTING THE CITADEL -- The Citadel lost 103-42 at South Carolina on Nov. 12. Demetrius Nelson led the Bulldogs with 16 points. The Citadel set a school record for points in its 131-79 win vs. Daniel Webster to open the season on Nov. 9. Seven different Bulldogs scored in double figures, led by freshman Phillip Pandak who had 24. The Citadel was 7-23 last season, including a 74-58 loss at USC on Nov. 21. The Bulldogs return two starters, but have only three players on the roster from the 2006-07 squad. USC is 2-0 all-time vs. The Citadel.
FIRST GAME BLUES -- USC lost its season and home opener 96-81 vs. Mercer on Nov. 10 at the Galen Center. USC shot just 28.6 percent from the floor and 47.1 percent from the free throw line in the first half to trail 47-30 at the break. USC shot 51.4 percent in the second half, but could not make up the difference despite O.J. Mayo's USC freshman debut-record 32 points. The Trojans dropped to 0-3 in the first games of the season (all home games) in the Tim Floyd era.
SOUTH CAROLINA ON DECK -- South Carolina was 14-16 last season, but handed USC an 80-74 overtime loss in the Galen Center and season opener on Nov. 16. The Gamecocks return two starters, but have added key transfers Devan Downey from Cincinnati and Zam Fredrick from Georgia Tech. Downey (24 points) and Fredrick (14 points) led South Carolina in scoring in its season opening 92-67 win vs. South Carolina State on Nov. 9. The Gamecocks followed that up with a 103-42 win vs. The Citadel on Nov. 12, as seven players reached double figures in points. USC is 0-2 all-time vs. South Carolina.
USC ON THE ROAD -- The Trojans were 4-6 in their 10 road games last season, 4-5 in conference on the road, with a non-conference loss at Kansas. USC has lost five of its last six road openers.
THE 2007-08 TROJANS -- USC returns two starters from a team that set a school record with 25 wins (25-12) and advanced to the 2007 NCAA's "Sweet 16." The Trojans were 11-7 in conference, good for a third-place tie. USC lost its top three scorers and nearly 44 points per game in Nick Young (NBA - Washington), Gabe Pruitt (NBA - Boston) and Lodrick Stewart, but does return 2006-07 Pac-10 All-Freshman Team forward Taj Gibson and guards Dwight Lewis and Daniel Hackett, who combined to make 27 starts. In addition, USC has added a top-rated recruiting class featuring the much-heralded O.J. Mayo and five-star recruit Davon Jefferson, so they will be talented, but very young. The Trojan roster features seven freshmen, five sophomores and three juniors.
A RECORD START FOR FLOYD -- Tim Floyd posted a 42-25 record in his first two seasons as USC's head coach, the most wins by a Trojan coach in his first two seasons. Floyd has an impressive track record in the collegiate ranks along with his NBA experience. He brings 19 years of head coaching experience at the collegiate and NBA levels and owns a 285-156 record (0-1 in 2007-08) in his 15 seasons as a college head coach at Idaho (1987-88), New Orleans (1989-94), Iowa State (1995-98) and USC (2005-07). Nine of his first 14 seasons, Floyd has taken his team into the postseason (6 NCAA, 3 NIT). Floyd has helped the development of his student-athletes at each stop, as 12 players in his 14 years have made it to the NBA, including three players that did not even play high school ball.
KEEP AN EYE ON GIBSON -- USC sophomore forward Taj Gibson was one of 50 men's basketball players selected to the preseason Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy lists, the early front-runners for college basketball's coveted trophies. Gibson is USC's leading returning scorer and rebounder, averaging 12.2 points and 8.7 rebounds last season. He set two school freshman records last season with 321 rebounds and 69 blocked shots.
THE RETURNS ARE IN... -- Last season USC entered the season with the leading returning point production (83.7 percent) and rebounding (86.5 percent) among Pac-10 teams. This season, USC ranks last in the conference in returning scoring (40.2 percent) and eighth in rebounding (63.6 percent). The Trojans also return just 17.4 percent of their three-point scoring, 10th in the Pac-10. Despite being just a sophomore, Taj Gibson enters the season with the eighth-most career blocks (69) among Pac-10 players.
A HISTORY OF WINNING -- The Trojans have compiled a record of 1,416-1,018 in their first 102 years of intercollegiate basketball competition. The Trojans have had a .500 or better record in 72 of the first 101 seasons.
2006-07 SEASON IN REVIEW -- The Trojans were coming off a 17-13 season in 2005-06 and were anchored by veterans Nick Young (Jr.), Gabe Pruitt (Jr.) and Lodrick Stewart (Sr.) each reaching the 1,000 points scored plateau during the season. The Trojans went 10-2 in their first 12 games, with an overtime loss to South Carolina in the season and Galen Center opener and a 10-point loss at Kansas. USC defeated then No. 8 Wichita State in the Las Vegas Classic and followed that up with a double-overtime win against No. 14 Washington to begin conference play. USC made it three consecutive wins over a ranked opponent when the won in early January at Oregon, handing the Ducks their first loss of the season. USC did not lose consecutive games all season until the final two regular season games of the season at Washington and Washington State. USC advanced to the Pac-10 finals with wins over Washington State and Stanford, before falling to Oregon in the championship game. USC cruised to victories over Arkansas (77-60) and Texas (87-68) in the NCAA Tournament, before losing to North Carolina in the East Regional semi-finals, 74-64.
TROJAN TIDBITS -- USC does not have a senior on the roster...USC has a preseason Wooden Award and Naismith Award candidate (Taj Gibson) for the first time since 2001 when Sam Clancy and David Bluthenthal were Wooden Award candidates and Clancy was a Naismith candidate...Gibson is also ranked as the No. 10 center in the country by The Sporting News and the No. 7 center by Lindy's...Gibson has been named a preseason third-team All-American by Rivals. O.J. Mayo is on the Bob Cousy Award candidates watch list and is rated the No. 2 point guard by The Sporting News and the No. 7 point guard by Lindy's. He also was named a preseason first-team All-American and picked as the Player of the Year by ESPN's Andy Katz and ESPN's Doug Gottlieb listed Mayo as a first-team preseason All-American. Mayo has also been selected by Collegehoops.next as the preseason Freshman of the Year.
FACING THE BEST -- USC's 2007-08 schedule features four games against teams ranked in the top four in the country and 13 potential games against teams ranked in the ESPN/USA Today and AP preseason Top 25. USC has 10 wins over the last two seasons against Top 25 teams, tied for the fifth-most in the country with UCONN, Georgetown, Texas and Ohio State.
PAC-10 PRESEASON RANKINGS -- The Trojans were picked to finish in sixth place in the Pac-10 conference this season, according to a poll of media members who cover Pac-10 men's basketball. UCLA was picked to win the conference with 339 votes, followed by Washington State (273), Oregon (240), Arizona (238), Stanford (205), USC (184), California (140), Washington (132), Arizona State (81) and Oregon State (38). Last season, USC was a preseason No. 6 pick in the conference and finished tied for third.
INJURY UPDATES -- Sophomore guard Daniel Hackett, recovering from a fractured jaw, had the wire removed from his jaw on Nov. 9 and was fitted with a mouthpiece (Italian flag colors) on Nov. 12. Freshman forward Mamadou Diarra had surgery on his groin on Nov. 5 and is expected to miss approximately 3-5 weeks.
DYNAMIC DEBUT FOR MAYO -- O.J. Mayo scored 32 points in his collegiate debut on Nov. 10 vs. Mercer, a new USC record for a freshman in his first collegiate game. His 32-point total also are the sixth-most by a Trojan freshman in a single game, with the record being 39 by Cliff Robinson on Feb. 2, 1978 vs. California. The 32 points scored by Mayo were also the most in a game by a player in the two-year history of the Galen Center.
USC Top Single-Game Freshman Scoring Records 39 - Cliff Robinson, Feb. 2, 1978 vs. California 37 - Harold Miner, Dec. 28, 1989 vs. Central Connecticut State 37 - Harold Miner, Jan. 25, 1990 vs. Oregon State 35 - Cliff Robinson, Jan. 20, 1978 vs. Portland State 34 - Harold Miner, Feb. 15, 1990 vs. Stanford 32 - O.J. Mayo, Nov. 10, 2007 vs. Mercer
YOUTH WILL BE SERVED -- On a roster that features no seniors and just three juniors, the Trojans will be relying on the underclassmen to handle much of the scoring. In the first game against Mercer, USC's freshmen scored 51 of the 81 points (63 percent) and the freshman and sophomores accounted for 79 of the 81 points (97.5 percent).
GIBSON ORDERS ANOTHER DOUBLE-DOUBLE -- Sophomore forward Taj Gibson had 13 points and 14 rebounds in the game vs. Mercer on Nov. 10, his 12th career double-double (points and rebounds). He has recorded a double-double in three-straight games dating back to the 2007 NCAA Tournament games vs. Texas (17 points/14 rebounds) and North Carolina (16 points/12 rebounds).
A RECORD-SETTING DAY AT THE GALEN CENTER -- The Trojans 96-81 loss to Mercer on Nov. 10 at the Galen Center set a variety of Galen Center records, as the new arena is housing USC basketball for its second season. In all, there were 15 Galen Center records set or tied individually or by one of the teams. They are: Most points by an opponent (96), Most field goals made by an oppoent (38), Most USC 3-pointers attempted (22), Most USC offensive rebounds (22), Most opponent defensive rebounds (31), Most opponent steals (12), Most opponent blocks (7), Highest opponent field goal percentage (.594), Most opponent first-half points (47), Most opponent second-half points (49), Most points by any player (O.J. Mayo - 32), Most opponent individual points (James Florence - 30), Most opponent individual FG made (11 - Florence), Opponent individual FT percentage (1.000, Florence, 6-for-6, tied record), Most opponent individual blocks (3 - Calvin Henry, tied record).
LOUISIANA LIGHTNING -- Trojan sophomore guard Dwight Lewis, who grew up in Metairie, La. but was uprooted by hurricane Katrina, scored a career-best 15 points vs. Mercer on Nov. 10. Lewis hit 6 of 13 shots from the field and made 1 of 4 three-point shots. He also grabbed three rebounds. Lewis' previous career high in points was 14 on Feb. 24, 2007 vs. California.
NOTHING FREE AT THE LINE -- The Trojans struggled at the free throw line in the first game against Mercer, hitting just 56.3 percent of their shots (18-for-32). USC especially had troubles in the first half as they made only 8 of 17 shots from the charity stripe (47.1 percent). Last season as a team USC hit 71.5 percent of its free throws, its best mark since hitting 71.8 percent from the charity stripe in 1984.
NO MERCY FROM MERCER -- USC's first-game opponent Mercer shot 59.4 percent (38-for-64) from the field on Nov. 10 at the Galen Center. It was the highest shooting percentage in a game by a Trojan opponent since UCLA made 60.7 percent of their shots on Feb. 24, 2005.
NO OFFENSE, BUT I'LL TAKE THAT -- Taj Gibson grabbed nine offensive rebounds and 14 boards overall in the game vs. Mercer on Nov. 10. The nine offensive rebounds were a career-high for the sophomore who had a high of seven twice in his freshman season. The last Trojan with more offensive rebounds in a game was Nick Young with 10 on Feb. 25, 2006 vs. Oregon State. Gibson has grabbed 10 or more rebounds in 14 of 38 career games (36.8 percent).
THE DEFENSE RESTS -- The 96 points allowed and 59.4 shooting percentage by Mercer in the first game was quite an aberration for Tim Floyd's teams since he arrived on the USC campus. Last season, USC held 21 of 37 opponents to under 40 percent shooting and 27 of 37 to under 42 percent from the floor. In the first two seasons of the Tim Floyd era, the Trojans held 31 of 67 opponents to 40 percent of less from the floor. The fact that USC was outshot from the floor (59.4 percent to 40 percent) was also out of the ordinary. Last year the Trojans shot better than their opponents in 31 of 37 games. In 2006-07, the most points USC allowed in a game was 88 at Washington State on March 3 in an 88-86 double-overtime loss. That also had been the most points by an opponent since Tim Floyd became USC's head coach for the 2005-06 season.
0 Kyle Austin (So.) Ht. - 6-7 Wt. - 205 Pasadena, Calif. (Pasadena HS) Averaged 1.4 points and 1.6 rebounds a game as a freshman; Had season highs of 5 points and 5 rebounds in a game Played a season-high 19 mintues vs. GWU at the 2006 Wooden Classic and was instrumental in USC's comeback win Averaged 21 points and seven rebounds in leading Pasadena High to a 25-4 record as a senior Was named Pacific League MVP as a senior and shared the honors as a junior; 2-time Star News Player of the Year Named to the Press-Enterprise Division1-A first team and was a LBPT 2006 Best in the West third-team selection
33 RouSean Cromwell (Jr.) Ht - 6-11 Wt. - 225 Memphis, Tenn. (IMG Academy, Fla) Scored 2 points on 2-for-6 shooting from the free throw line vs. Mercer on Nov. 10 Played in 33 games (5 starts) last year; averaged 2.4 pts. & 2.2 rebounds; Had a season-high 13 points vs. LBSU on 11/24 Appeared in 15 games as a freshman, averaging 4.2 points and 4.5 rebounds Made quite a splash in Trojan debut with 17 points and 12 rebounds vs. CS Northridge on Nov. 20. It was the most rebounds by a USC freshman in a game since Sam Clancy had 14 on Feb. 6, 1999...since passed by teammate Taj Gibson Averaged 17 points and 11 rebounds a game in 2005 while earning all-district honors as a senior at IMG Academy Ranked the 14th-best center and 31st-best power forward in the country by RivalsHoops as a senior
43 Kasey Cunningham (R-Fr.) Ht. - 6-7 Wt. - 225 Albuquerque, N.M. (Cibola HS) Played in his first game as a Trojan on Nov. 10 vs. Mercer and scored 2 points and grabbed 2 rebounds Redshirted in 2006-07 while recovering from left knee surgery...spent the season working on his outside game and dribbling Averaged 22.0 points and 15.0 rebounds with six blocks per game as a senior at Cibola High Led team to a 13-1 record before suffering a season-ending left knee injury...had ACL surgery, missed the rest of the season Began season widely regarded as the top player in New Mexico; Named to the LBPT Best in the West second team
14 Mamadou Diarra (Fr.) Ht. - 7-0 Wt. - 230 Bamako, Mali. (Stoneridge Prep) Had hernia surgery on Nov. 5 and is expected to miss 3-5 weeks Averaged 8.1 points and 6.4 rebounds his senior season at Stoneridge Prep in Simi Valley, Calif.; As a junior led them in scoring with an 11.1 average Hoopmasters.com listed him as the No. 4 rated power forward in the 2007 class; Ranked the No. 65 prospect by Rivals.com CNN/SI's rankings of 2007 recruits listed him No. 40; Also Hoopscooponline.com listed him No. 7 among 5th-year players
3 James Dunleavy (Fr.) Ht. - 6-6 Wt. - 190 Los Angeles, Calif. (Harvard-Westlake HS) Did not play last season in high school as he had exhausted his eligibility; averaged 2.5 points as a junior Made 21 of 55 three-point shots (38.2 percent) as a junior as Harvard-Westlake went 27-6 Son of L.A. Clippers' coach Mike Dunleavy and brother of Pacers' guard/forward Mike Dunleavey, Jr.
22 Taj Gibson (So.) Ht. - 6-9 Wt. - 225 Brooklyn, N.Y. (Calvary Christian HS, Calif.) Had 13 points and 14 rebounds on Nov. 10 vs. Mercer, his 12th career double-double USC's top returning scorer (12.2 ppg) and rebounder 8.7 (rpg); A 2006-07 Pac-10 All-Freshman Team selection Set USC freshman records in rebounds (321) and blocks (69); Had 11 double-doubles, one of five freshmen in the country with that many, joing among others Greg Oden and Kevin Durant, the top two selections in the 2007 NBA Draft Had at least eight rebounds in 27 of 37 games and scored at least eight points in 34 of 37 games last season Made the Pac-10 Conference All-Tournament team, as he scored 36 points and had 29 rebounds in the three games Scored 51 points and grabbed 34 rebounds in the three NCAA Tournament games, with two double-doubles
30 Terence Green (Jr.) Ht. - 5-11 Wt. - 180 Aliso Viejo, Calif. (Irvine Valley College) Played in three games last season, his first active season for USC, but did not score Transfered to USC for the spring semester of 2006 and practiced as a walk-on, but was ineligible for competition Played high school ball at Aliso Niguel High; Helped lead the team to a 28-4 record his senior year Was second-team all-CIF, All-Sea View League (3 years) and third-team All-Orange County
13 Daniel Hackett (So.) Ht. - 6-5 Wt. - 205 Pesaro, Italy (St. John Bosco HS) Started 16 games as a freshman and averaged 5.3 points and 2.9 rebounds...second on the team with 103 assists Scored a season-high 20 points vs. Texas in the NCAA Tournament win on 3/18 Originally a 2007 recruit, he graduated early by finishing high school in the summer of `06 and enrolled at USC for 2006-07 Averaged just over 20 points a game at St. John Bosco; Ranked the 6th-best 2007 prospect in California by Rivals.com Was on the Division 2A All-CIF team in 2004 and 2005; Named a first-team selection to the 2005-06 LBPT Dream Team
5 Davon Jefferson (Fr.) Ht. - 6-8 Wt. - 215 Lynwood, Calif. (Lynwood HS) Averaged 20.0 points & 12.0 rebounds at The Patterson School (N.C.) in 2006; Sat out 2nd half of season to focus on academics In 2005 at Lynwood HS, averaged 26.0 points, 12.9 rebounds and 5.0 assists Was rated by Rivals.com as a 5-star recruit, the 15th prospect in the entire 2006 class and the No. 2 player from California
1 Angelo Johnson (Fr.) Ht. - 5-11 Wt. - 180 Minneapolis, Minn. (Stoneridge Prep, Calif.) Had a strong debut vs. Mercer on Nov. 10, with 17 points, two assists and two steals Led Stoneridge Prep (Calif.) in scoring as a senior with a 13.7 average...also dished out 4.1 assists per game As a junior, prepped at Marietta Convent Christian (Ga.) and averaged 19.2 points and 6.3 assists per game Ranked the No. 9 prospect among fifth-year players by Hoopscooponline.com and the No. 114 recruit for 2007 by Rivals Began his high school career at Patrick Henry HS in Minneapolis, Minn.
21 Dwight Lewis (So.) Ht. - 6-5 Wt. - 215 Metairie, La. (James Taylor HS, Tex.) Had a career-high 15 points and grabbed three rebounds vs. Mercer on Nov. 10 Is USC's second-leading returning scorer, averaging 5.8 points and 2.1 rebounds as a freshman; Top-returning 3-point shooter with 20 made in 2006-07; Scored a season-high 14 points on Feb. 24 vs. California Played his senior season at James Taylor High in Katy, Tex. after being uprooted from Louisiana by hurricane Katrina Scored 21 points per game as a senior in helping lead his team to a 17-10 record; Named first team All-Region As a junior at Archbishop Rummel High in Metairie, La., he averaged 27.5 points, 9.7 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game Was a fourth-team selection to the 2004-05 Parade All-American team
32 O.J. Mayo (Fr.) Ht. - 6-5 Wt. - 200 Huntington, W.V.. (Huntington HS) Scored 32 points in the opener vs. Mercer to set a school freshman debut record, a Galen Center record for points in a game and the sixth-most points ever in a game by a USC freshman; Also had seven rebounds and hit four 3-pointers Was the 2006-07 EA Sports National High School Boys Basketball Player of the Year; Was also selected a McDonald's All-American, Parade All-American and USA Today All-USA team selection Named the West Virginia High School Boy's Player of the Year as he led Huntington to a 25-2 record and its first state title Averaged 28.2 points, 7.2 assists and 6.1 rebounds as a senior; Had 41 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists in title game Attended North College Hill his freshman-junior seasons, leading the Trojans to their first two state titles; Mayo left the school as its all-time leading scorer; His high school teams were a combined 99-5 with three state titles (2 OH, 1 WV) Was Ohio's "Mr. Basketball" as a sophomore & junior, joining LeBron James as the only sophomores to receive the honor Scored 56 points vs. Lockland HS (OH) on Dec. 17, 2004; Averaged 20+ points playing varsity ball in KY in 7th & 8th grade
20 Marcus Simmons (Fr.) Ht. - 6-6 Wt. - 200 Alexandria, La. (Peabody HS) Averaged 18.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.0 steals as a senior at Peabody HS in Alexandria, La. Helped lead Peabody to a 37-4 record and the 2006-07 Louisiana state championship; Named to the All-State team Ranked as the No. 47 small forward in 2007 by Rivals.com Slowed in the preseason with a high left ankle sprain
2 Ryan Wetherell (So.) Ht. - 5-11 Wt. - 175 Calgary, Canada (Sir Winston Churchill HS) Had a rebound, a steal and an assist in seven minutes of action vs. Mercer on Nov. 10 Played in 15 games and logged a total of 49 minutes as a freshman; Had a season-best three points vs. B-CC on 12/14/06 Scored in five of the first eight games he appeared; Had two points and two assists at Oregon State on 1/6/07 Played three years of varsity at Sir Winston Churchill High; Was starting point guard and team MVP as a senior Averged 30 points and eight assists as a senior; Helped lead his Junior Trojans club team to the provincial championship three straight years, earning MVP honors each season (2004-06)
23 Keith Wilkinson (Jr.) Ht. - 6-10 Wt. - 225 Mission Viejo, Calif. (Capistrano Valley HS)
Had five rebounds, an assist and a steal vs. Mercer on Nov. 10...was 0-for-4 from the field
Played in 33 games (5 starts), averaging 1.5 points & 1.9 rebounds last year as a sophomore; Played in all 3 NCAA games
Scored a career-high nine points and dished out a career-best three assists on 3/1/07 at Washington
Appeared in 19 games as a freshman, averaging 1.1 points and 1.4 rebounds
Averaged 16 points and eight rebounds a game for Capistrano Valley HS (Calif.) during his senior season
Led his team in rebounding (230) and three-point baskets (55)...was second on the team in points (471) and blocks (37)
Scored 20 points per game in leading Capistrano Valley to the CIF Div. IIAA semi-finals, where they lost 57-54 to
eventual champion Dominguez
His father, Jerry, played four years in the NFL for the Rams and Browns