Trojans Wrap Up December Play Against La Salle
Dec. 18, 2002
The USC men's basketball team, which has posted back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances and 20-win seasons during the last two years for only the second time in its history, continues the task to make it three in a row in both categories as it plays its final game before the Pac-10 season starts. USC hosts La Salle (3-3) on Saturday (Dec. 21) at the Sports Arena at 5 p.m., its last game in December. Under seventh-year Coach Henry Bibby, the Trojans return two seniors, four upperclassmen and nine lettermen from last season's squad that finished 22-10 overall, tied for second in the Pac-10 at 12-6, reached the final of the Pac-10 Tournament and received a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
USC (3-3) vs. La Salle (3-3) on Saturday (Dec. 21) at the Sports Arena at 5 p.m. The game will be televised by FOX Sports Net 2 and will also be broadcast live on KMPC-AM 1540, KPLS-AM 830 in Orange and XEMM-AM 800 in San Diego. La Salle, under second-year coach Billy Hahn, is led by a pair of freshman guards in Gary Neal and Jermaine Thomas. Neal is averaging a team-best 18.8 points per game and has made 23-of-55 three-pointers. Thomas is averaging 14.8 points and 4.7 assists. Most recently, the Explorers are coming off of a close loss at Cincinnati, falling 65-62, on Dec. 14.
USC is 1-2 against La Salle, but has never played the Explorers at home. The Trojans lost in 1955, 49-39, won in 1968, 66-65, and lost in 1973, 77-72.
It's been some 29 years since La Salle and USC squared off, the last game a 77-72 Explorer win in the 1972-73 season in the Quaker City Tournament.
Billy Hahn is in his second year as coach at La Salle after directing it to a 15-17 mark in his first year in Philadelphia. He was an assistant at Maryland the previous 12 years and was an associate head coach there the last five years there.
Probable Starters Ht. Yr. pts. reb. G 2 Jermaine Thomas 6-2 Fr. 14.8 *4.7G 10 Mike Cleaves 5-10 So. 11.2 3.8C 25 Joel-Jean Baptiste 6-8 Jr. 1.2 1.8F 3 Jeff Farmer 6-5 So. 2.5 1.7F 30 Steven Smith 6-8 Fr. 9.2 5.7*assists
CAL STATE FULLERTON RECAP
Rory O'Neil scored a career-high 22 points and Robert Hutchinson tied a career-high with 17 points to pace a USC team that shot a season-high 52.8% in its 78-63 win over Cal State Fullerton on Dec. 11. O'Neil made 9-of-10 field goals and Hutchinson was 7-of-8 (making his first seven attempts) and they combined to go 5-of-5 on three-pointers for a team that made a season-high 10-of-18. Fullerton opened strong and led 13-11 halfway through the first half, but the Trojans' got going and outscored the Titans, 30-16, the rest of the first period to lead 41-29 at the break. The lead dipped to nine a couple minutes into the second half, but O'Neil hit a pair of three-pointers, sandwiching a trey by Roydell Smiley, all in less than a minute, to give USC a 54-36 lead with 16:43 to play. USC's lead grew to as large as 25 points twice. The Trojans still led by 23 points with a minute to play before the Titans made a brief run before the final buzzer.
VS. CAL STATE FULLERTON NOTES
Rory O'Neil made 9-of-10 field goals, one field goal short of tying USC's single-game field goal percentage effort of 10-of-11 (90.9%). That was done four times, most recently by Lorenzo Orr in 1993. O'Neil posted career highs in points (22), field goals (nine), three-pointers (two) and minutes (33). He was the team's fifth different leading scorer in six games ... Robert Hutchinson made his first seven shots before missing his eighth ... USC made a season-high 10 three-pointers ... USC avoided its first three-game losing streak since near the end of the 2000 season ... Jonathan Oliver tweaked his ankle in the first half and only played six minutes.
Oregon has moved its home game against USC on Feb. 27 from 7 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. to accommodate an Oregon Sports Network broadcast.
NON-CONFERENCE HOME WIN STREAK
USC has won 23 consecutive non-conference games at home. The Trojans' last home non-conference loss was to Tennessee in the 1998 season.
HALF 'N HALF
The Trojans have outscored their opponents by an average of 39.2 to 27.5 in the first half and held first-half leads in four of five games. But their opponents have played better in the second halves of games, holding a 39.0 to 34.8 edge.
A year ago, USC didn't shoot at least 80.0% on its free throws in a game until the 17th game of the season and did it only six times on the year. Six games into this season, Troy has already done it three times, in games one, two and five.
IT WAS STOLEN
USC set a school record last year for steals with 287, averaging 9.0 a game. The quick-draw Trojans are continuing the trend this year, averaging 8.3 a game, compared to their opponents' average of 6.3.
PLAYING THE PERCENTAGES
Off to a slow start, junior college transfer center Jonathan Oliver has come on of late, making 14-of-20 field goals on the year (70.0%). Though it's quite early in the season, let's start speculating anyway. If Oliver were to continue anywhere near his current percentage pace and average at least five field goal attempts a game, he'd shatter the season record for field goal percentage. It's currently held by Steve Smith, who made 112-of-195 attempts in 1979, setting the benchmark at 57.44%.
NICK'S FIRST NOTE
Playing behind Sam Clancy, the Pac-10 Player of the Year last year, power forward Nick Curtis played in only 22 games as a freshman and saw only 113 minutes of court time. Now that Clancy has moved on to the NBA, Curtis is getting a shot and is making the most of it. Averaging 8.7 points and a team-best 7.2 rebounds per game, he's already surpassed his freshman season totals in points, rebounds and minutes.
A reserve point guard in his first two years at USC, senior Robert Hutchinson is off to a fast start this year as he tries to hang on to the job that belonged to Brandon Granville from 1999 to 2002. Hindered by a sprained ankle that forced him to miss the Missouri game, he came back against Cal State Fullerton and tied his career-high with 17 points. Through five games, Hutchinson is averaging 9.8 points per game and shooting a team-best 55.0% from three-point range (11-of-20). The 11 treys are almost as much as his combined totals as a sophomore (six) and a junior (six).
THE SCORERS (SO FAR)
Only one Trojan has scored in double figures in each game this year and that's Desmon Farmer (11, 14, 23, 12, 16 and 13). Roydell Smiley has done it five times. Only three Trojans have scored at least 20 points this season: Farmer (23), Errick Craven (22) and Rory O'Neil (22).
HELLO OPERATOR, LONG DISTANCE PLEASE
Robert Hutchinson, Roydell Smiley and Errick Craven have combined to form a formidable trio from beyond the three-point line. Combined, the three have made 29-of-61 three-point attempts (47.5%). Throw in Rory O'Neil's 4-of-6 mark and the foursome would almost be at 50.%.
CAN'T DELETE JUST YET NOTES
USC's overtime loss at Rhode Island was only USC's sixth-ever non-conference defeat in overtime (19-6). USC is now 49-43 overall in overtime, 41-39 in single OTs and 25-20 on the road in overtime ... USC's 25 turnovers were eight more than it had in any game last season ... USC, against Missouri, didn't have a player play at least 30 minutes for the first time since USC fell at No. 13 Arizona, 88-73, in Tucson, on March 4, 1999.
If USC's finishes above .500 this year, it will give the Trojans their first streak of five consecutive winning seasons since they did it nine times in a row between 1967 and 1974.
WHERE THEY RANK IN THE PAC-10 (as of Dec. 16)
USC features the second-best field goal percentage defense (38.8%) and the third-best scoring defense (67.5). The Trojans are also third in three-point percentage (38.5%) and steals (8.33). USC's leading scorer, Desmon Farmer, is 13th in the Pac-10 at 14.8. Nick Curtis' 7.2 rebounds per game is good for seventh best, as is Roydell Smiley's 1.83 steals per game average. Robert Hutchinson is fourth in three-point percentage (55.0%) and Errick Craven is ninth (46.2%). Hutchinson's assist-turnover ratio is also third-best in the Pac-10 (2.11).
Sophomore shooting guard Errick Craven, a 2002 All-Pac-10 Freshman selection, is USC's leading returning scorer (11.8) and rebounder (4.4) and joins senior center Kostas Charissis as USC's returning starters. Charissis, who saw limited action last year but was a regular starter when he was healthy, has 32 career starts. Senior point guard Robert Hutchinson, the Trojans' captain as a junior, is back for his third year at Troy. Junior shooting guard Desmon Farmer was USC's top player off the bench as a sophomore and blossomed in the final five games of the season, averaging 17.6 points per outing. Athletic junior small forward Jerry Dupree is back to try to build on his strong finish last year, which featured a 10.3 scoring average in the Pac-10 Tournament, though he will sit out USC's first six games to focus on priorities off the court. Sophomore center Rory O'Neil, who showed a soft touch from the field as a freshman and ability in the paint, has returned with about 25 pounds of added bulk and muscle. Sophomore point guard Derrick Craven saw his role increase toward season's end last year and hopes to continue the trend this year. The story is the same for sophomore power forward Nick Curtis, who showed promise as a rebounder in his limited action in 2002. And don't forget about sophomore forward Gregg Guenther Jr., a tight end on the football team who joined the squad after football season to add some strength in the key. He plans to do the same this year.
THE NEW FACES
USC welcomes four first-year players into the program in 2003, three junior college transfers and one Division I transfer who will sit out the year. Sophomore Brandon Brooks will immediately challenge for the starting job at point guard after transferring from Compton College, where he concentrated on academics last year. A year earlier, he was among the top JUCO point guards in the country at Indian Hills College. Junior center Jonathan Oliver will challenge for a starting role a year after re-writing the record books at Ventura College, where he set season and career blocked shot records with 173 in 2002, also tops in the state. Junior guard Roydell Smiley rounds out the trio. A sharpshooter who can also play the point and even some small forward, Smiley will challenge for time after two years at Southeastern Iowa College, where he earned a pair of NJCAA Region XI first team honors. Jeff McMillan, who was among the top rebounders in the Atlantic 10 Conference during the past two seasons, transferred to USC from Fordham and will be eligible to play in 2003-2004.
THE TROJANS VS. RANKED TEAMS
USC is 0-1 against ranked teams this year, falling to No. 15 Missouri at the Wooden Classic. The Trojans were 9-10 against ranked teams in the past two years (including NCAA Tournament play) and 11-15 in the last three years. USC was 6-4 against ranked teams in 2002, defeating No. 11 UCLA on Jan. 10, losing at No. 15 Arizona on Jan. 17, defeating No. 14 Stanford on Jan. 26, losing at No. 15 UCLA, defeating No. 9 Arizona on Feb. 16, beating No. 10 Stanford on Feb. 21, losing to No. 13 Oregon on Feb. 28, beating No. 16 Stanford on March 7, downing No. 9 Oregon on March 8 and falling to No. 14 Arizona on March 9. The Trojans were 3-6 against ranked teams in 2001. They beat No. 18 Utah in the Wooden Classic and lost to No 24 Mississippi in the second round of the Yahoo! Sports Invitational, at then-No. 17 Arizona, at No. 1 Stanford, vs. No. 8 Arizona and vs. No. 1 Stanford. In the NCAA Tournament, USC beat No. 7 Boston College and No. 9 Kentucky before losing to No. 1 Duke. USC's victory over Utah was its first win over a ranked non-conference team since beating No. 18 Missouri on Dec. 28, 1995. USC was 2-5 against ranked teams in 2000 with wins over No. 2 Arizona and No. 25 UCLA and losses to No. 5 North Carolina, No. 15 Duke, No. 2 Stanford, No. 4 Arizona and No. 1 Stanford. USC's wins over Arizona and UCLA gave the Trojans back-to-back wins over ranked teams for the first time since the 1993-94 season. That year, USC downed No. 18 California, 86-78, and No. 15 UCLA, 85-79. The last time USC defeated ranked teams more than twice in a row was in 1991-92, when the Trojans did it four straight times. They beat No. 24 Stanford, 82-72, No. 2 UCLA, 86-82, No. 4 UCLA, 83-79, and No. 2 Arizona, 70-69. Counting wins over No. 5 Arizona and No. 12 UCLA at the end of the 1990-91 season, the Trojans defeated six straight ranked teams.
BRIEF HISTORY OF 2002-2003
On the heels of one of their greatest seasons in school history, the 2002 edition of Henry Bibby's Trojans put together another memorable year, albeit one that ended much more abruptly than hoped for. USC finished 22-10 after a 24-10 mark in 2001, posting back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time in more than 60 years. The Trojans also reached the finals of the Pac-10 Tournament for the first time ever. Troy earned a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament's South Regional, but fell victim to an upstart UNC-Wilmington team, which upset the Trojans in overtime in the first round. The squad featured three of the school's all-time top 12 scorers in Sam Clancy (third), Brandon Granville (eighth) and David Bluthenthal (12th). Granville finished as USC's career leader in games, minutes, three-pointers, assists and steals while All-American Clancy, the 2002 Pac-10 Player of the Year, left with the mark in blocks. Despite returning the above three starters and other experience off the bench, Bibby's team was a work in progress early as it slugged out wins during the non-conference schedule, incorporating a host of newcomers into the veteran mix. USC finished the non-league slate 8-2, falling only at Fresno State in the Preseason NIT and against Pepperdine. The loss to the Waves set up an unfortunate theme for the Trojans last year. USC led by two with seconds left when Pepperdine guard Craig Lewis banked in a three-pointer at the buzzer. It was the first of four losses for USC that ended with opponent game-winning shots either at the buzzer or with a second or two remaining. After the Pepperdine loss, however, USC ran off nine straight wins. That streak included a memorable game at Loyola Marymount where USC turned a 15-point second-half deficit into a 14-point win. The streak ended at Arizona where the Trojans suffered one of only two big losses on the year, the other coming at Cal. In fact, the Bears were the only Pac-10 team USC didn't beat on the year. USC's last-second losses (against Pepperdine, California, at UCLA and Oregon) were offset by some fantastic performances, including a regular-season sweep of Stanford for the first time in 10 years and home wins over UCLA and Arizona. The Trojans' 12-6 Pac-10 mark and the tie for second place were both bests since 1997 and good enough to earn a No. 4 seed in the Pac-10 Tournament at Staples Center in Los Angeles. USC beat Stanford for the third time on the season in the quarterfinals and got revenge for two regular-season losses to Oregon with a gutsy win over the Ducks before falling to Arizona in the title game.
NO, THEY CAN'T GET A FIFTH YEAR; WE ALREADY CHECKED
While they won't be missed in Westwood, Eugene, Tucson, Palo Alto or any other Pac-10 town, USC's graduating senior trio of Sam Clancy, David Bluthenthal and Brandon Granville leave the current crop of Trojans with some major voids to fill. In their careers, the threesome combined for 310 starts, 4,400 points, 1,889 rebounds, 1,037 assists, 479 steals and 10,835 minutes. Last year, Clancy, Bluthenthal and Granville combined for 56.4% of USC's offense, 49.7% of its rebounds and took 54.1% of its field goal attempts. Clancy, taken in the second round of the 2002 NBA Draft by Philadelphia, is now playing for 76ers. Bluthenthal was not drafted and signed to play in the pro league in Israel for Maccabi Tel-Aviv. Granville is not currently playing basketball.
USC PICKED TO FINISH SIXTH IN PAC-10 IN MEDIA POLL As it says above, USC was picked to finish sixth in the 2002-2003 Pac-10 title race according to a poll of 27 media members who cover Pac-10 men's basketball. Arizona was a unanimous choice to win the title, securing all 27 first-place votes for 270 points. Oregon was second (237), followed by UCLA (195) in third, Arizona State in fourth (160), California in fifth (154), USC in sixth (152), Stanford in seventh (136), Washington in eighth (81), Oregon State in ninth (71) and Washington State in 10th (29).
USC is coming off of one of its best defensive seasons in its history. The Trojans led the Pac-10 in steals (8.97), setting a school season record for total steals (287) as well. The Trojans allowed the third lowest points per game in the conference (69.8), and its three-point field goal percentage defense and overall field goal percentage defense was second and third in the Pac-10, respectively ... Errick Craven returns as the Pac-10's 11th leading scorer in Pac-10 games and will look to defend his Pac-10 categorical title for steals, overall and in Pac-10 games. His 51 steals during conference play last year were 18 more than the next closest player in the league, both of whom were Trojans (Sam Clancy and Brandon Granville) ... With Clancy, Granville and David Bluthenthal gone, the record-keeping gets easier. But there's still a little bookkeeping to do. Desmon Farmer entered his junior year 16th on USC's career three-point chart. With increased minutes and a hot hand, he could have an outside shot at the Top 10. It won't take long too long for Craven to break into the Top 10 in steals. In fact, if he were to match his 68 from last season, he'd break into the Top 5.
For the first time in three years, USC did not open the season either the ESPN/USA Today Coaches or Associated Press Preseason Top 25 polls. The Trojans, however, did receive nine votes in the coaches poll and 20 in AP.
GAMES AGAINST RANKED OPPONENTS
USC will face four teams ranked in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Preseason Top 25 poll and five others that received votes. Pac-10 rival Arizona was No. 1 while Oregon was No. 9 and UCLA No. 12. The Trojans will also play No. 18 Missouri in the Wooden Classic. Schools that received that USC will face include UNLV (13), California (11), Pennsylvania (3), UC Santa Barbara (3) and Stanford (2). In addition, Pac-10 foe Arizona State also received votes in the AP poll.
BIBBY CLIMBING USC COACHING VICTORY LISTUSC seventh-year coach Henry Bibby won his 100th game as Troy's head coach last year at Stanford and is currently 106-80, fifth at USC in career coaching victories. If USC wins at least 13 games this year, Bibby will pass George Raveling, who is currently fourth with 115 wins. Sam Barry (1930-41, 1946-50) is USC's all-time winningest basketball coach (260), followed by Forrest Twogood (1951-66, 252) and Bob Boyd (1967-79, 216). (Bibby's Trojans went 0-9 after becoming interim head coach at the end of the 1996 for a fired Charlie Parker. One of those losses was later turned into a win after Cal was forced to forfeit its win. Those nine games, however, are not included in his head coaching record at USC).
USC AT THE SPORTS ARENA
Dating back to 1996-97, the Trojans are 59-21 (.738) in their last 80 games at the Sports Arena and USC is 117-45 (.722) at the Sports Arena since the beginning of the 1991 season, including a 16-game winning streak over a span of the 1992 and 1993 seasons, a 12-game streak between the 2000 and 2001 seasons and two nine-game winning streaks that spanned the 1997-98 and 1998-99 seasons and the 1998-99 and 1999-2000 seasons. USC's 12 home wins in 2001 were its most since winning 12 in 1993. USC's 10-game home win streak to open the 2001 season was its biggest home win streak to start a season since 1975. The Trojans have currently won four in a row at the Sports Arena.
HALL OF HONOR
Each Pac-10 school has selected an inductee to the Pac-10 Tournament's Hall of Honor. These individuals will be honored at a dinner in Los Angeles on March 12, 2003. USC's inductee is Tex Winter, innovator of the 'triangle offense,' was also one of the top pole vaulters while at USC. Other Pac-10 representatives are Arizona's Steve Kerr, Arizona State's Ned Wulk, California's Kevin Johnson, Oregon's Howard Hobson, Oregon State's Amory Gill, Stanford's Todd Lichti, UCLA's Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Washington's Marv Harshman, Washington State's Jack Friel.
USC SIGNS STANDOUT TWINS FOR 2004
Standout prep seniors Rodrick and Lodrick Stewart, identical twin guards from Seattle, Wash., signed letters of intent with USC in November. Rodrick, 6-foot-5, 200 pounds, and Lodrick, 6-foot-5, 210 pounds, led Rainier Beach High to a 28-1 record and the 3-A state title as juniors in 2002, each earning All-State 3-A Tournament first team and All-State second team honors. Rodrick, a 2003 McDonald's Preseason All-American and ranked as the top senior in Washington by CollegeBasketballNews.com, averaged 19.4 points and 6.0 assists as a junior last year. PrepWestHoops.com ranks him as the No. 4 prep player in the country. He is ranked as the No. 10 prep guard in the country by ESPN.com, No. 21 overall by HoopScoop and No. 39 by both ESPN.com and Lindy's College Basketball. As a sophomore, he earned All-State 3-A Tournament first team honors. Lodrick, a 2003 McDonald's Preseason All-American alternate, averaged 17.8 points and 9.0 rebounds as a junior last year. He is ranked No. 10 by PrepWestHoops.com, the No. 15 shooting guard by Athlon's College Basketball, No. 44 overall by Lindy's, No. 61 by HoopScoop and No. 84 by ESPN.com. As a sophomore, he earned Student Sports Underclass All-American honors. The Stewarts will be the second pair of identical twin guards to play at USC next season. The Trojans currently feature sophomores Errick and Derrick Craven, 6-foot-2 guards from Carson, Calif.
Henry Bibby, a coach with 20 years of college and professional experience and the only person to ever play for an NCAA, NBA and CBA championship team, is in his seventh full season in 2002-2003 as the head coach of the USC men's basketball program. In the last two years, he has guided the Trojans to only their second back-to-back 20-win seasons ever and only their third back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances. In 2001, he piloted the Trojans to their first-ever NCAA Tournament Elite Eight appearance under the tournament's current format, finishing 24-10. In 2002, he led USC to a 22-10 record that included a 12-6 finish in the Pac-10 (tied for second), a finals appearance in the Pac-10 Tournament and a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The back-to-back 20-win seasons were USC's first since 1939-40. USC enjoyed its fifth winning season and fourth postseason berth (three NCAA, one NIT) under his watch. Bibby was named 2002 NABC District 15 Co-Coach of the Year. With the Trojans on the rise, Bibby was rewarded with a three-year contract extension on Aug. 4, 2000, which will take him through the 2004-2005 season. In 2001, Bibby led USC to perhaps its greatest season ever. In their second NCAA Tournament appearance under Bibby, the No. 6-seeded Trojans reached the East Regional Final before losing to Duke. USC's three NCAA Tournament wins (against No. 11 seed Oklahoma State, No. 2 seed Boston College and No. 3 seed Kentucky) were its most ever in one tourney and the Trojans' final record of 24-10 matched the most wins ever in one season at USC. The Trojans finished 11-7 in the Pac-10 (tied for fourth place). The Trojans' landmark team that Bibby guided featured a trio of NBA draft picks in forward/center Brian Scalabrine, guard Jeff Trepagnier and forward Sam Clancy. Rodrick Rhodes, who played under Bibby in 1997, was also an NBA draft choice. In his six years as head coach, Bibby has been instrumental in player development and has guided seven players to a combined 12 All-Pac-10 honors and five players to All-Pac-10 Freshman honors. Under Bibby, Sam Clancy became a Pac-10 Player of the Year, two Trojans (Rhodes and Scalabrine) have earned the Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year award and another (Elias Ayuso) earned Pac-10 All-Newcomer first team notice. Seven of USC's top 20 scorers of all time have played under Bibby.
Sophomore * Guard * 6-Foot-1 * 170 Pounds
* Brandon Brooks is in his first year with the Trojans in 2003 after a year off from basketball spent at Compton (Calif.) College, concentrating on academics. A talented playmaker and a tenacious defender, he will challenge for the starting job at point guard.
* Scored a season-high seven points off the bench against Missouri, making 5-of-6 foul shots.
* Averaging 11.4 minutes per game off the bench and is second on the team with 14 assists ... Had a game-high six assists in USC's season-opener in 12 minutes ... He did not play at UC Santa Barbara.
* Brooks was named the top-rated JUCO sophomore point guard by Lindy's Basketball and a Street & Smith's Preseason All-America fourth team selection entering the 2002 season. But he did not play last year after transferring to Compton (Calif.) College in January of 2002. He completed the academic year there while redshirting.
Senior * Center * 6-Foot-11 * 260 Pounds
* Kostas Charissis, a 6-foot-11, 260-pound center and a native of Greece, is a 2003 senior. An imposing figure in the paint, he will compete for playing time at center in his final year with the Trojans. His full first name is Konstantinos.
* Second on the team in rebounding (5.7) and has had at least eight rebounds in three of six games ... He is averaging better than one rebound for three minutes played.
* Recorded his first career double-double with a career-high 10 points and 10 rebounds vs. Morris Brown ... Started for the second time at UC Santa Barbara, but had only three points ... He had nine rebounds and two blocks in 12 minutes at Rhode Island and had eight rebounds in 16 minutes against Missouri.
* A tiny fracture in his ankle prevented him from playing in either exhibition game (and forced him to miss a couple weeks of practice), but he returned for the opener and had four rebounds and four points in 17 minutes off the bench.
* Charissis started 18 of 20 games at center as a 2002 junior, but missed the final eight games of the season with a fracture in his left ankle. He was averaging 2.3 points and 2.9 rebounds in 10.4 minutes per game when he was injured.
* Had his best game in two years against Cal with a career-high 10 rebounds, eight points and a career-high four field goals.
Sophomore * Guard * 6-Foot-2 * 200 Pounds
* Derrick Craven, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound sophomore guard in 2003 and identical twin brother of fellow Trojan sophomore Errick Craven, is an athletic and aggressive player who has a tenacious work ethic on defense. He will challenge for the starting job at point guard for the Trojans.
* Made his first career start against Missouri and scored a career-high eight points in a career-most 22 minutes ... Also started against Cal State Fullerton and had two steals.
* Scored three points and had five assists in 18 minutes off the bench against Morris Brown and had two points in 16 minutes at UC Santa Barbara ... Went scoreless in 15 minutes off the bench in the season-opener vs UC Riverside and played only three minutes at Rhode Island.
* As a 2002 freshman, Craven fought off a stress fracture in his right leg that cost him the non-conference schedule and eventually found a niche in the rotation by season's end as a backup point guard.
* Averaged 6.5 minutes in 13 games, but played in each of USC's final eight games and averaged 10.0 minutes per game in the last five games
* Played a career-high 20 minutes in the regular-season finale against Oregon State with a career-best four assists and two blocks.
Sophomore * Guard * 6-Foot-2 * 190 Pounds
* Errick Craven, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound sophomore guard in 2003 and identical twin brother of fellow Trojan sophomore Derrick Craven, returns to the Trojans as one of the top all-around guards in the Pac-10. A 2003 Basketball Times Preseason All-America honorable mention pick, he is USC's leading returning scorer.
* Second on the team in scoring (11.4).
* Scored a team-high 22 points in 24 minutes off the bench against UC Riverside and had a career-high five assists ... Scored 11 points and made three three-pointers against CS Fullerton ... Had seven points and four rebounds at Rhode Island ... Suspended by Bibby from the Rhode Island game for violating team rules ... Had eight points and three steals at UC Santa Barbara.
* Craven, who started 28 of 32 games, earned 2002 All-Pac-10 Freshman first team honors as USC's fourth-leading scorer (11.8) and third-leading rebounder (4.4) last year.
* He became the first freshman to lead the Pac-10 in steals (2.1) since Cal's Jason Kidd in 1993 and his 68 steals were the second-most ever at USC.
* His 376 points were the most for a USC freshman since Harold Miner had 578 in 1990.
Sophomore * Forward * 6-Foot-8 * 220 Pounds
* Nick Curtis, a 6-foot-8, 220-pound sophomore forward in 2003, is a strong rebounder and athletic presence who will push for an increased role in the Trojans' frontcourt.
* Averaging team-best 7.2 rebounds per game and has started five of USC's first six games.
* Had first career double-double with 13 points and career-best 11 rebounds against Morris Brown and had seven points and eight rebounds at UC Santa Barbara.
* Scored career-best 14 points at Rhode Island to go with seven boards, playing all 45 minutes of the overtime affair ... Scored 12 points and had eight rebounds against UC Riverside
* Had 14 points and eight rebounds in the exhibition opener and 11 points and six boards in the exhibition finale.
* As a 2002 freshman, started four of 22 games, averaging 1.0 point and 0.8 rebounds in 5.2 minutes per game
* Had a season-high six points in 11 minutes in the season opener vs. Wyoming.
Junior * Forward * 6-Foot-7 * 200 Pounds
* Jerry Dupree, a 6-foot-7, 200-pound 2003 junior forward, will look for an increased role in the Trojan frontcourt in his second year with the team. An extremely athletic player, Dupree has worked hard in the off-season to improve his all-around game.
* Dupree started seven of 30 games as a 2002 sophomore forward, averaging 3.7 points and 1.8 rebounds in 11.7 minutes per game.
* Had a strong showing in the Pac-10 Tournament, averaging 10.3 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in the three games and making 14-of-19 field goals (.737).
* Missed USC's first six games while concentrating on priorities as a student-athlete off the court. Currently rehabilitating from an injured foot.
Junior * Guard * 6-Foot-4 * 225 Pounds
* Desmon Farmer is a 6-foot-4, 225-pound junior guard in 2003 with a great scoring touch and a fiery defensive presence who will challenge for a starting spot. USC's second-leading returning scorer, Farmer looks to build on his strong finish to his sophomore season.
* Leading the team with a 14.8 scoring average, he is the only Trojan to score in double figures in each game this year.
* Farmer had his second-biggest offensive output of his career against Morris Brown with 23 points and seven rebounds in 31 minutes in his first start of the year ... He had 12 points at UC Santa Barbara and 16 vs. Missouri ... He is also fourth in rebounding (4.8).
* Had 13 points against CS Fullerton, 11 points and four rebounds in the season-opener and followed it up with 14 points and six boards at Rhode Island, coming off the bench in both games.
* Is 14th on USC's career three-point chart with 64.
* Led USC in scoring in both exhibition games, scoring 24 points, including 4-of-8 on three-pointers, in the first, and netting 17 points in the second.
* Farmer started five of 31 games as a 2002 sophomore guard, averaging 9.5 points and 3.3 rebounds in 22.5 minutes per game.
* He posted 14 double-digit scoring efforts, including five in a row to end the season, the longest such stretch of his career
* During the final five games, which included the regular-season finale against Oregon State, three Pac-10 Tournament games against Stanford, Oregon and Arizona, and the NCAA Tournament game against UNC-Wilmington, Farmer averaged 17.6 points and 4.0 rebounds, making 30-of-55 field goals (.545) and 13-of-29 three-pointers (.448). He came off the bench in all five games.
* Tied season highs of 20 points and four three-pointers in the NCAA Tournament, matching totals he had against Rhode Island.
GREGG GUENTHER JR.
Sophomore * Forward * 6-Foot-8 * 245 Pounds* Gregg Guenther Jr., a 6-foot-8, 245-pound redshirt sophomore, is a two-sport player who plays tight end on USC's football team as well as power forward for the basketball team. A physical athlete, Guenther provides the Trojans with a good deal of muscle in the post with the ability to rebound. He is set to join the team after the 2002 football season.
* Guenther played in nine games, starting three times in his first year with the basketball team last year.
* Averaged 3.8 minutes an outing with a total of nine rebounds.
* As a tight end in 2002, Guenther has played in 11 games and has seven receptions. He caught his first touchdown pass at UCLA. He has six career points in football and one in basketball.
Senior * Guard * 6-Foot-1 * 185 Pounds
* Robert Hutchinson, 6-foot-1, 185 pounds and one of two seniors on USC's team in 2003, returns to the Trojans as a key contributor in the backcourt and a challenger for the starting job at point guard.
* Shooting team-best 55.0% from three-point range (11-of-20) ... Did not play against Missouri (sprained ankle), but came back against Cal State Fullerton to tie his career high of 17 points, making 7-of-8 field goals.
* Had an excellent game at Rhode Island, scoring 17 points and making five three-pointers in 43 minutes.
* Scored 10 points and had three assists and two steals against Morris Brown.
* Hutchinson, USC's team captain as a 2002 junior guard, played in 30 of 32 games, starting once. On the season, he had 48 assists and only 21 turnovers, averaging 2.0 points in 11.7 minutes per game.
* At LMU, he had a then-career-high 10 points in a career-high 26 minutes.
* Had a career-high seven assists at Arizona.
Junior * Forward * 6-Foot-8 * 250 Pounds
* Jeff McMillan, a 6-foot-8, 250-pound forward, is a junior transfer from Fordham who will sit out the 2003 season in compliance with NCAA transfer rules.
* McMillan started 14 of Fordham's 28 games as a sophomore power forward for the Rams in 2001-02.
* Led Fordham with 7.6 rebounds per game (seventh in the Atlantic 10) while averaging 10.2 points per game (second best on the team).
* As a freshman in 2000-01, McMillan started 26 times, averaging 10.0 points and a team-high 7.8 rebounds.
Junior * Center * 7-Foot-0 * 230 Pounds
* Jonathan Oliver, a 7-foot, 230-pound center, is a junior college transfer who is in his first year with the Trojans. Extremely agile for his size, he is a superb shot blocker and runs the floor with ease.
* Had 19 points and made 8-of-9 field goals against Morris Brown, adding seven rebounds and two blocks.
* Had 11 points and five rebounds off the bench against Missouri ... Suffered a sprained ankle against CS Fullerton and only played six minutes.
* Has made 14-of-20 field goal attempts (70.0%).
* Scored five points (like he did in both exhibition games) and had two blocks in 12 minutes against UC Riverside, but did not play at Rhode Island.
* Oliver earned 2002 California Community College All-State first team honors and was the Western State Conference MVP after averaging 17.1 points, 11.3 rebounds and 5.2 blocks per game as a 2002 sophomore at Ventura (Calif.) College.
* Started all 33 of his team's games and shot 62.8% from the field (213-of-339).
* His 173 blocks (5.2) were first in the state and broke Ventura's single-season and career records.
Sophomore * Center * 6-Foot-11 * 240 Pounds
* Rory O'Neil, a 6-foot-11, 240-pound sophomore center, will look to have an increased role in 2003. Working hard in the gym to add muscle to his long frame, he also spent the off-season refining what is already an ever-improving inside-outside game. He has a solid scoring touch from the outside and has an instinctive feel for the game.
* Scored a career-high 22 points vs. CS Fullerton, making 9-of-10 field goals, including a pair of three-pointers, in 33 minutes.
* Posted his first career double-double with 13 points and a career-high 11 rebounds against UC Riverside. Had four points at Rhode Island ... Suspended by Bibby from the Rhode Island game for violating team rules.
* O'Neil started three of 32 games as a 2002 freshman center, averaging 4.3 points and 2.3 rebounds in 13.4 minutes per game. His 21 blocks were second best on the team
* Set a career high with 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting against Stanford to go with two blocks in 24 minutes last year.
* Played a career-high 28 minutes and scored 10 points for his fifth double-digit scoring output of the year against Oregon at home.
Junior * Guard * 6-Foot-4 * 195 Pounds
* Roydell Smiley, 6-foot-4 and 195 pounds, is in his first year with the Trojans as a junior guard after transferring from Southeastern Iowa College. A hard-nosed player, he brings an excellent perimeter game to the Trojans and has the ability to play the point as well.
* Third on the team in three-point percentage (42.9%) at 12-28 and is third on the team in scoring (11.3).
* Leads the team with 11 steals.
* Scored a season-high 16 points, making 4-of-8 three-pointers, at UC Santa Barbara ... Had 12 points, making 3-of-6 three-pointers, to go with five assists against Morris Brown.
* Made his Trojan debut as a starter, scoring 10 points and making 2-of-3 three-pointers in the season-opener. He followed it up with 13 points, six boards and five steals at Rhode Island.
* Scored 17 points and hit three three-pointers in the first exhibition game and added 13 points in the second game.
* Smiley earned NJCAA Region XI first team honors as a 2002 sophomore and a 2001 freshman at Southeastern Iowa College in West Burlington, Ia.
* As a sophomore, Smiley averaged 14.7 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.8 steals.
* USC has five walk-ons this season: third-year Trojan guard Eze Burts, second-year Trojan guard Peter McCaslin, first-year guard Michael Mehanna and first-year forwards Edward Chang and Derek Roberts.
* All five played the final two minutes of the Morris Brown game, but none scored. It was the first appearance for all of them except McCaslin, who played in one game in 2002. Mehanna, in fact, played one minute in the first half ... Mehanna made his first career basket in the final two minutes of the CS Fullerton game and Burts, Roberts and Chang also saw brief action.
* Mehanna was his school's valedictorian, earning a perfect 4.0 GPA for four years in school ... McCaslin is a member of Phi Kappa Phi, an honor society whose membership requires a GPA of 3.85 or better. He's also a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars ... Burts prepped at St. Bernard High in Los Angeles. He was a Del Rey League first teamer and also competed on the track team ... Roberts prepped at Palm Springs (Calif.) High where he earned All-Desert Valley League first team honors as a senior and honorable mention notice as a junior. He was also on Honor Roll ... Chang prepped at Dallas (Tex.) Jesuit. He served as a translator for the Chinese Jr. National team in the summer of 1999 and got to practice with the team as well.