44Gregg Guenther, Jr.
2004: Guenther, USC's tallest player at 6-8 (he also plays a key role on the Trojan men's basketball team), returns as an often-used tight end as a senior in 2004 after starting there in 2003. However, it's possible he'll concentrate solely on basketball in his senior season. Because he was in competitive athletics for 8 consecutive months without a break, he was allowed to sit out 2004 spring practice.
2003: Guenther began his 2003 junior season as a backup tight end, but after injuries sidelined starters Alex Holmes and then Dominique Byrd, Guenther emerged as the starter for the last 7 games. Overall in 2003 while appearing in all 13 games, he had 17 catches for 167 yards (9.8 avg.) with 2 TDs, plus he blocked a field goal (at California). He had a 6-yard grab at Auburn, a 7-yarder against BYU, then had 2 receptions for 24 yards at California. He added a 3-yard catch at Arizona State, a 5-yarder against Stanford and 2 grabs for 13 yards (with a 7-yard TD) at Notre Dame. He had a 7-yard catch at Washington and 2 catches for 26 yards against Washington State. His only catch at Arizona was a spectacular one-handed 20-yard TD. He made 4 receptions for 37 yards against UCLA. He sprained his left knee against Oregon State. His only catch against Michigan in the Rose Bowl was a key 19-yard third down catch to keep a fourth quarter drive alive. Following 2003 spring practice, he had surgery to repair a herniated disk in his lower back.
2002: Guenther was a backup tight end as a sophomore in 2002. He even started at Kansas State. Overall in 2002 while appearing in 11 games (all but California and Notre Dame), he had 7 catches for 39 yards (5.6 avg.) with a TD. He caught 3 passes at Colorado and had a 3-yard TD reception at UCLA. He had arthroscopic surgery to remove cartilage in his left knee after the Notre Dame game (but returned to play against Iowa in the Orange Bowl).
2001: Guenther was sidelined for most of his 2001 redshirt freshman season while recovering from a 2000 back injury. He returned late in the 2001 season, but did not see any action as a reserve tight end.
2000: Guenther appeared as a reserve tight end in the Penn State opener (he did not catch a pass) but then suffered a herniated disk in his back and had surgery, which sidelined him for the rest of his 2000 freshman season. Because of the early injury, he was allowed to redshirt in 2000, his first year at USC.
BASKETBALL: Guenther was a junior backup center on USC's 2004 basketball team, joining the team just a day after Troy's 2003 national championship football season ended (amazingly, he scored 7 points in 13 minutes against Oregon in that game on Jan. 2). He proved to be one of the team's hardest workers, as well as a steadying influence and a team leader. Overall in 2004, he averaged 5.6 points and 4.7 rebounds (third on the team) in 17.9 minutes per game. He started 5 of the 19 games he played. He shot a personal-best 73.1% from the free throw line (second best on the team). He posted 3 double-doubles (double figures in points and rebounds), including 11 points and 11 rebounds in USC's upset over No. 7 Arizona. He also had 10 points and a career-high 13 rebounds in an overtime win at Arizona State and 10 points and 10 rebounds against Arizona in the Pac-10 Tournament. He scored a career-high 17 points at Arizona to go with 9 rebounds.
He joined the 2003 USC men's basketball team in January following the 2002 football season and emerged as an effective sophomore part-time starting center on a squad that advanced to the Pac-10 Tournament championship game for the second consecutive year. He averaged 6.2 points and 5.0 rebounds (third on the team) in 18.6 minutes per game. He started 9 of the 19 games he played. He was eighth in the Pac-10 in rebounding in conference games (6.4). He had 4 double-doubles, including consecutive games against No. 21 Stanford (10 points, 11 rebounds) and at No. 1 Arizona (10 points, 10 rebounds). His other double-doubles came at Oregon (12 points, 11 rebounds) and Oregon State (12 points, 10 rebounds). He scored a then-career-high 16 points against Oregon in his first start of the season. He also scored 6 points against Arizona State, including the game-winning pair of free throws with 3.9 second remaining.
After the 2001 football season, he joined the 2002 USC men's basketball team and served as a reserve freshman center on a Trojan squad that got into the NCAA tourney. He appeared in 9 games (starting 3 times, twice against Stanford and once against California). He scored 1 point, grabbed 9 rebounds and had a block and an assist in 34 minutes of action (3.8 minutes an outing).
HIGH SCHOOL: He was a 1999 Super Prep All-Farwest, Prep Star All-Western, Tom Lemming All-West, Orange County Register Fab 15 third team and Las Vegas Sun Super 11 honorable mention selection as a senior at Taft High in Woodland Hills (Calif.) while playing offensive line, tight end and defensive end. Despite missing 4 games in 1999 with a dislocated shoulder, he had 6 catches for 56 yards (9.3 avg) with a TD on offense and 40 tackles, 7 sacks and 1 interception (for a TD) on defense. Current Trojans Greig Carlson, Brandon Hance and Steve Smith also prepped at Taft.
PERSONAL: He is a history major at USC. His sports hero is NFL star tight end Tony Gonzalez.
GREGG GUENTHER ON: Football versus basketball: "In football, it's more of an all-out war. You've got to use every part of your body to do what you need to do. In basketball, it's more legs, running and jumping. In football, you're using every muscle. There are physical points to basketball, no question. But it's just not the same. A helmet hurts a lot more than someone's elbow...In basketball, you have 3 or 4 options after the first option on every play. You have to learn multiple plays within a play. It's more strenuous to learn basketball plays than football plays...I'm stronger than everyone I play against in basketball, because I'm used to going against 280-pound defensive tackles in football."
Playing 2 sports in college: "It's very challenging playing both sports in college. Both are year-round sports...I've been doing year-round sports since I was 5. It's just more intense now...A lot of people doubt my ability to play basketball. I can play both and at high levels...The changes in scenery keep both sports interesting for me. Just working with different coaches and teammates helps keep each sport fresh...I enjoy both sports so much and really couldn't pick a single sport to focus on."
WHAT OTHERS SAY:
USC quarterback Matt Leinart: "He's a big target with great hands. He has stepped up big for us. He'll go and get any throw."
USC quarterback Brandon Hance: "He has great athletic skills. You can tell he's really comfortable with his body. What stands out about him is his physique. He has a pretty big stature as opposed to most guys 6-8 who are frail and lanky."
USC head men's basketball coach Henry Bibby: "I've always been a Gregg Guenther fan. I like his winning attitude. I like his toughness. He's proud to be a Trojan."
USC basketball center Jonathan Oliver: "He has football strength. You feel it when you're guarding him."
#Includes 1 blocked field goal
GAME-BY-GAME WITH GREGG GUENTHER