Trojans Set To Battle Bruins In Westwood
Jan. 26, 2004
Two teams carrying three-game losing streaks will square off to try to snap the strings when crosstown rivals USC (8-9, 3-5) and UCLA (9-6, 5-3) meet on Wednesday (Jan. 28) at Pauley Pavilion at 7:30 p.m. The Trojans are coming off two stinging losses in the Bay Area, a one-point defeat at Cal and a 10-point setback at Stanford after they led by six at the half. The Bruins have dropped three in a row after opening conference play at 5-0. One year removed from back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances and 20-win seasons, eighth-year coach Henry Bibby's Trojans return eight lettermen, including five starters, and welcome a pair of talented freshmen and an eligible transfer.
USC (8-9, 3-5) at UCLA (9-6, 5-3) on Wednesday (Jan. 28) at 7:30 p.m. The game will be televised on FOX Sports Net 2 and will be broadcast live on the radio on KMPC-AM 1540 in Los Angeles, KSPA-AM 1510 in Ontario/Orange County and XEMM-AM 800 in San Diego. Coach Ben Howland, in his first year at UCLA, guided the Bruins to a 9-3 start before their recent three-game skid. Junior guard/forward Dijon Thompson leads UCLA in scoring (14.8) while senior forward T.J. Cummings and freshman forward Trevor Ariza are both tied for second in scoring (12.5) and first in rebounding (6.5). The Bruins are second in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage defense (41.8%), but eighth in scoring offense (67.0).
UCLA leads the series, 119-96, but USC has won two in a row, three of the past four and the teams have split the last eight games. The Trojans swept the Bruins last season for the first time since 1992 and posted their first win at Pauley Pavilion since 1993. A USC win on Wednesday would give the Trojans their first three-game win streak against UCLA since taking three in a row in the 1991 and 1992 seasons.
Desmon Farmer had a game-high 28 points and Errick Craven sank two game-deciding free throws with 4.4 seconds to play to give USC an 86-85 victory at the Sports Arena last year. With the win, Troy completed its first season sweep of UCLA since 1992. The Trojans trailed 85-82 with 58 seconds to play when Derrick Craven scored to bring the Trojans to within a point with 46 ticks to go. UCLA misfired on its next possession, setting up Errick Craven's two foul shots. Jon Crispin missed a long three on UCLA's final possession. At one point, USC looked like it might pull away from the Bruins, building a 10-point lead 66-56 with 8:23 to play. USC still led 71-64 with 5:50 to go when Ryan Walcott and Jason Kapono hit back-to-back treys, making it a one-point game with 5:06 left.
Head coach Ben Howland is in his first season at UCLA after four years at Pittsburgh. He guided the Panthers to back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances in the last two years, going a combined 57-11 and winning the Big East Tournament title both seasons. Before coaching at Pitt, Howland was the head coach at Northern Arizona for five years.
Probable Starters Ht. Yr. pts. reb. G 1 Dijon Thompson 6-7 Jr. 14.8 4.9G 21 Cedric Bozeman 6-6 Jr. 9.0 4.4F 4 Trevor Ariza 6-7 Fr. 12.5 6.5F 43 T.J. Cummings 6-9 Sr. 12.5 6.5C 45 Michael Fey 7-0 So. 7.3 3.2
BATTLE FOR THIRD-ANNUAL LEXUS GAUNTLET
The Trojans are looking to capture the first five of 10 men's basketball points for the 2003-04 Lexus Gauntlet. The Lexus Gauntlet is a season-long competition between USC and UCLA in all sports. Points are awarded to the winner of each Bruin-Trojan head-to-head contest throughout the year and the Lexus Gauntlet trophy is awarded to the school with the most points at year's end. USC captured the inaugural trophy in 2001-02, but the Bruins took the title last season. So far this year, USC leads 27.5-15.0.
AT NO. 2 STANFORD RECAP
USC led No. 2 Stanford by six points at the half and by one point with 10:51 to go, but was eventually overcome by the Cardinal, 77-67, on Saturday at Maples Pavilion. Desmon Farmer scored 19 points and Lodrick Stewart scored 13 in his third start of the year for USC, which opened a 34-28 lead at the half. Stanford quickly erased the deficit at the start of the second half, USC edging back in front at 47-46 on an Errick Craven layup with just under 11 minutes to play. But the Cardinal then ran off a 14-3 run to lead 60-50 with 7:12 to go. Craven sank a three-pointer to cut the deficit back to seven, but, with the shot clock winding down, Cardinal guard Chris Hernandez banked in a three-pointer that restored the 10-point margin and took the air out of USC's sails. USC wouldn't get closer than eight point the rest of the way. The Trojans led by six points with the ball four times in the first half, but couldn't capitalize on any of the possessions, keeping Stanford within striking distance.
LAST GAME NOTES
Desmon Farmer's four three-pointers move him into third on USC's career chart with 173, four away from passing Harold Miner for second place on the list ... Farmer played 40 minutes, the second time this year and the sixth time in his career he's played every minute of a non-overtime game ... USC posted a double-digit steal effort for the 10th time this year ... Nick Curtis had a season-high 10 points, all in the first half.
AT CALIFORNIA RECAP
USC, looking for only its second win at Cal since 1992, fell in frustrating fashion, 63-62, on Thursday. The Trojans, who trailed for most of the game, took its first lead of the second half at 62-61 on a Derrick Craven layup with 37 seconds left. USC trailed again after Ayinde Ubaka was fouled and made two free throws that put the Bears ahead 63-62 with 18 seconds left. With less than 10 seconds remaining, Craven drove to the basket again and appeared to be fouled as he lost the ball. But nothing was called, Cal got the rebound and USC quickly fouled Bear Dominic McGuire. He missed the front end of a one-and-one with five seconds left, but USC, without any timeouts, failed to get off a shot in the final seconds. Desmon Farmer led USC with 17 points while Jeff McMillan had 12 points and 11 rebounds. Farmer's final three-pointer with 45 seconds left brought USC to within 61-60 and Troy forced a turnover on the next possession, setting up Craven's score. Cal, led by Richard Midgley's 22 points, led for most of the first half, but never more than by six points, going into the break up 31-28.
FARMER NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Desmon Farmer earned his first career Pac-10 Player of the Week honor this week after he averaged 33.0 points and 5.0 rebounds in a split with the Arizona schools. In the upset win over No. 7 Arizona, Farmer posted a career-best 40 points on 11-of-18 (.611) shooting from the field, which included 7-of-11 (.636) from three-point range, and was 11-of-12 (.917) from the free throw line. It was the sixth 40-point effort in USC history, and the first since Harold Miner posted 43 points at Nebraska on Nov. 25, 1991. In the loss to Arizona State, Farmer responded with 26 points. For the weekend, he shot 18-of-36 (.500) from the field, 11-of-22 (.500) from three-point range and 19-of-20 (.950) from the charity stripe. The honor is the 24th all time for the Trojans. It is USC's first since David Bluthenthal won it late in the 2002 season ... The week's effort also earned Dick Vitale's national player of the week honor.
Desmon Farmer became the 11th NCAA Division I player to score at least 40 points (as of Jan. 15) this season when he dropped that amount on No. 7 Arizona on Thursday. Farmer's career-high effort is the most in the Pac-10 this year and marked only the sixth time a Trojan has reached the 40-point plateau, tying John Rudometkin (Dec. 23, 1961) for fifth place on the single-game scoring list. John Block holds the record with 45, set on Feb. 11, 1966. Farmer's 40 was the most any Trojan has scored since Harold Miner had 43 at Nebraska on Nov. 25, 1991.
MORE ON FARMER
Desmon Farmer scored a combined 88 points in three consecutive games at Washington State (22), against Arizona (40) and against Arizona State (26), the biggest three-game outburst since Harold Miner scored a combined 97 points against California, Stanford and UCLA late in the 1992 season ... Farmer's 40 points against the Wildcats eclipsed his previous high of 35 last year at Washington State, making him one of only seven Trojans to score at least 35 points twice in his USC career.
USC VS. NO. 2 OR HIGHER
No. 2 Stanford was USC's highest-ranked opponent since facing No. 1 Arizona last year in Tucson. The Trojans have now lost eight games in a row to teams ranked No. 2 or higher (five No. 1s and three No. 2s). The last time USC beat a team ranked as high as No. 2 was against second-ranked Arizona. The Trojans, led by Brian Scalabrine's 27 points, beat the No. 2 Wildcats, 80-72, at the Sports Arena on Jan. 22, 2000. That game, you might remember, came one game after Troy lost then-sophomore Sam Clancy and then-senior Jarvis Turner for much of year after they suffered leg injuries against Arizona State.
DEZ IN THE FIRST HALF NOTE
Farmer has scored in double figures eight times in the first halves of games this year, including in seven of the past 10 games. Twenty-three of his 40 points against No. 7 Arizona came in the first half and he also had a 21-point first-half outburst against Lafayette. His other double-digit first-half scoring efforts include 18 points against Cal State Northridge and Arizona State, 16 at Washington State, 13 against Oregon and at Stanford and 12 against Cal Poly.
STATS WE'RE KEEPING AN EYE ON
Jeff McMillan, currently shooting 63.2% from the field, is on pace to shatter USC's season field goal percentage of 57.44% (Steve Smith, 1979) ... Desmon Farmer's 19.5 scoring average would tie him 11th all-time on USC's career list ... Desmon Farmer has played in 110 games at USC, 14 short of record holder Brandon Granville (124) and nine short of surpassing second-place Duane Cooper (118). USC has 10 games remaining, not counting any postseason action. He is also on pace to crack USC's top eight in career minutes.
SENIOR CLASS AWARD
Desmon Farmer has been selected among 30 finalists for the Senior CLASS Award. The award, in its third year, honors student-athletes who have decided to stay in school through their senior seasons. In early February, 10 finalists will be selected by a national media committee. The names of three finalists will appear on a ballot in March.
Desmon Farmer could be confused with the superhero, because he's always got the green light (to shoot). The streaky senior shooting guard has had his ups and downs from the field, but has been hot lately, raising his field goal average to 41.1% and his three-point percentage to 36.6%. His ability to get hot fast (witness 40 points on seven three-pointers against Arizona, 21 first-half points against Lafayette and six threes at Fresno State) is enough for Coach Bibby to give him the go-ahead to keep taking shots from open looks. Farmer is averaging more than 14 field goal attempts per game, including almost than nine three-pointers per game. In fact, if Farmer maintains his three-point attempt pace, he'll challenge to break Dwayne Hackett's team season record of 243.
The Trojans have been shorthanded since October. Below is a breakdown of the players in question.
* Junior forward Nick Curtis missed six games in a row recently with tendinitis in his left knee (which caused him to miss both of USC's exhibition games as well) before returning to action at Washington State on Jan. 10, playing seven minutes. He's played in USC's last five games.
* Beefy junior forward Gregg Guenther Jr. wrapped up his season as a tight end on the No. 1-ranked football team, finishing off with a key fourth-quarter third-down catch in USC's win over Michigan. A day later, he suited up against Oregon and played 13 minutes, scoring seven points. He is nursing a sprained knee suffered against Oregon State (in football) and is not yet 100%.
* Freshman guard Quinton Day will not return to the basketball team, USC Coach Henry Bibby announced on Jan 2.
* Senior guard Roydell Smiley, who broke his leg in the Pac-10 Championship game in March, was expected to be back by this time, but is still experiencing pain in his left knee and underwent arthroscopic surgery on Dec. 30. He will be out an estimated four to six weeks.
* Senior center Jonathan Oliver missed USC's first six games and first three months of practice while concentrating on academics, but returned to the team on Dec. 18 and made his season debut at Fresno State on Dec. 19.
* Junior forward Jeff McMillan, hampered by a stress fracture in his left foot during the preseason, has been USC's workhorse, averaging more than 30 minutes per game.
* USC added a fifth walk-on, senior forward Joe Buck, who became eligible on Dec. 18. He's seen action three times. A sixth walk-on, 6-foot freshman guard Chris Penrose, joined the team after the Lafayette game.
The past three Trojan teams are among USC's Top 10 for scoring average and the 2003 version is on pace to join them. USC is currently averaging 78.0 points per game, again good enough for a spot in the Top 10 list.
SEVEN CLOSE SHAVES AND A BLOWOUT
USC has played mostly close games this season when it wins, seven of its eight wins coming by single-digit margins and none secured until the final minute(s) of each game. The Trojans won by a comfortable margin against Lafayette, posting its first double-digit win of the season and biggest win since a 25-point victory at UNLV last year. On the flip side, eight of the Trojans' nine losses are by at least nine points, though the defeat to UNLV was also an overtime affair, one which saw USC give up a seven-point lead with little more than a minute left in regulation.
THREE-POINT HIGHS AND LOWS
The Trojans have been a streaky three-point team, recently putting together a 41.2% effort at Cal and a 43.8% effort at Stanford, the sixth and seventh times this season USC has made at least 40.0% of its trey attempts. The problem is, USC has shot 31.8% or worse in the other 10 games. Overall, USC is shooting only 31.3 % from behind the arc while Trojan opponents have made 38.1% of their trey attempts and have made 30 more than USC. In fact, Troy has allowed six double-digit three-point performances in 17 games. USC allowed only two such efforts all of last season.
CLUTCH AT THE LINE
Desmon Farmer leads USC in free throw shooting with a mark of 84.6% (77-of-91), currently tied for second on Troy's all-time single season free throw percentage list. It is a noteworthy trend for Farmer, who shot only 55.7% from the free throw line as a freshman. He improved to 71.6% as a sophomore and made the jump to 82.8% as a junior last year, good enough for the ninth best season performance in school history. No other Trojan is shooting better than 70.0% with more than 20 attempts.
Though USC's field goal defense (47.4%) is much higher than the coaches would like, the Trojans are doing some damage when their opponents have the ball. USC leads the Pac-10 with an average of 10.2 steals per game and has forced its opponents into an average of 18.1 turnovers a game, close to the 18.2 mark that led the Pac-10 last year.
HIS PERFECT DAY
Junior guard Derrick Craven was perfect from the field at St. Mary's, going 7-of-7. It was the first time a Trojan made as many field goals without a miss since Brian Scalabrine went 7-of-7 against Memphis in the Maui Invitational on Nov. 23, 1999.
Junior forward Jeff McMillan joined an exclusive club earlier this year, becoming just the third Trojan ever to play more than 40 minutes in back-to-back games. He played 42 minutes in USC's win over Cal State Fullerton on Dec. 9, which followed 41 minutes in the Trojans' victory over St. Mary's on Dec. 6. The other two Trojans to do it, Wayne Carlander and Jacque Hill, were teammates in 1982. In overtime games at Washington (a Jan. 2 loss) and Washington State (a Jan. 4 win), Carlander played 45 minutes in both while Hill played 44 against the Huskies and 41 against the Cougars. Carlander played another 37 minutes in his next game, giving him a three-game USC record of 127 minutes. McMillan played 39 minutes in his next two games, giving him 161 in a four-game span (40.3).
TOEING THE (FOUL) LINE
The Trojans have been a hit-or-miss team from the free throw line this year. USC was solid from the free throw line through its first five games, hitting a combined 75.5% of their free throws, making at least 75.0% four times. But USC came back down to earth hard in the next three games, making only a combined 46.3% (25-of-54). USC was shooting 73.3% in its last seven games prior to going a combined 23-of-43 (53.5%) on the Bay Area trip.
USC played three consecutive overtime games earlier this year (UNLV, St. Mary's, Cal State Fullerton), a first in school history. One more OT game will equal the most the Trojans have played in one season.
BAD LUCK BACK EAST
USC has had little luck lately when it's travelled east to cross more than one time zone during the regular season. Since Henry Bibby has been coach at USC, he's gone 2-8 when playing in either the central or eastern times in regular-season play. Losses include games at North Carolina (1997), Tennessee (1997), Ohio State (1998), Kansas (1999), St. Bonaventure (2000), Northwestern (2001) and Western Michigan (2003). The only wins came at UNC-Charlotte (1997) and at Bradley (2002). USC also played three games in the eastern time zone during the 2001 NCAA Tournament, going 3-1.
USC senior Desmon Farmer is USC's leading returning scorer. His 18.7 scoring average was fourth best in the Pac-10 last year and good enough to earn 2003 All-Pac-10 honorable mention honors. He was also selected to the Pac-10 All-Tournament team after he averaged 22.0 points and 4.3 rebounds in the conference tourney. He scored in double figures 27 times and had at least 20 points 14 times and became USC's 28th player with at least 1,000 career points ... Junior guard Errick Craven is USC's second-leading returning scorer after posting a scoring clip of 13.0 points. He started 26 times and became the first Trojan ever to lead USC in rebounds (5.3), assists (2.6) and steals (2.5) in the same season. His 73 steals were the most in the Pac-10 and second-most ever at USC in a season (behind Jeff Trepagnier's 94) ... Junior center Rory O'Neil rounds out USC's trio of returning scorers in double figures (10.1). He led the team in blocked shots (1.3, fifth in the Pac-10) and was fourth in rebounding (4.9). He averaged 14.7 points and 7.3 rebounds in the Pac-10 Tournament, earning All-Tournament honors ... Senior guard Roydell Smiley is a sharpshooting swingman who averaged 8.6 points in 2003 despite battling nagging knee injuries for most of the season. He made the second-most three-pointers on the team (40) and shot a team-high 84.4% from the free throw line (38-of-45). He suffered a broken leg in USC's final game of the season and has yet to return to 100% ... Junior guard Derrick Craven, identical twin of Errick, returns after starting for most of last season at the point. He averaged 4.6 points and 2.2 rebounds last year and was one of only two Trojans to play in every game (along with Farmer). His 40 steals and 70 assists were both the second-highest totals on the team ... Junior forward Nick Curtis, who had a strong start in 2003 derailed by nagging foot injuries, still hopes to make an impact for the Trojans. His 2004, however, has again been plagued by injuries, limiting his time. He averaged 6.6 points and 5.3 rebounds (tied for team high) in 21.0 minutes, posting three double-doubles and starting 15 times last year ... Senior center Jonathan Oliver joins Farmer and Smiley as the three seniors on the team. Oliver saw limited action last year as a reserve and missed most of the preseason this year while concentrating on his academics. He is back now and Bibby hopes he can contribute to the Trojans' front line ... Junior forward Gregg Guenther Jr., a two-sport player at USC, became a boon to Bibby last year in his second season switching from football to basketball. A starter at tight end for football as a junior, he joined the basketball team after the Rose Bowl. Guenther averaged 6.2 points and 5.0 rebounds in 18.6 minutes, starting nine of 19 games and showed marked improvement in his second year with the team. His overall rebound average was third on the team and his 6.1 boards per game in Pac-10 play was eighth in the conference ... Jeff McMillan, who transferred from Fordham last year and spent the year as a redshirt, will bolster the Trojans frontcourt in 2004. A beefy forward whose build mirrors the 2002 Pac-10 Player of the Year Sam Clancy, his inside scoring and knack for rebounding has been a welcome addition.
THE NEW FACES
Lodrick and Rodrick Stewart, 6-foot-4 guards from Rainier Beach High in Seattle and 6-foot point guard Quinton Day from Paseo Academy in Kansas City, Mo., joined the Trojans as freshmen in 2004 (Day has since left the team). Rodrick Stewart earned Parade All-American third team, McDonald's Preseason All-American, All-State first team and Long Beach Press-Telegram Best in the West first team honors and was named 3-A State Player of the Year as a 2003 senior, averaging 18.8 points, 8.0 assists, 6.0 rebounds and 4.5 steals. His brother Lodrick earned McDonald's Preseason All-American alternate, Students Sports All-American special selection and Long Beach Press-Telegram Best in the West first team honors, averaging 19.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.0 steals and 3.0 assists.
USC AGAINST THE PRESEASON TOP 25
USC is scheduled to play two schools that opened in the ESPN/USA Today Preseason Top 25 and another five that received votes. The two ranked schools looming on the Trojan schedule is No. 4 Arizona and No. 17 Stanford. Oregon just missed the Top 25, finishing 26th among the coaches' votes. Other USC opponents also receiving votes are fellow Pac-10 schools California and Arizona State as well as non-conference foes BYU and UNLV.
SOMETHING IS IN THE WATER
Thank heavens for uniform numbers. This year, USC features two sets of identical twins. Trojan fans and the Pac-10 have grown familiar with Errick and Derrick Craven, twin 6-foot-2 guards from Carson, Calif., who enter 2004 as juniors. Now as freshmen come USC's second set of mirror image players, Lodrick and Rodrick Stewart, 6-foot-4 guards from Seattle. Surprisingly, this is not the first time two pairs of twins have been on the same Division I team at the same time. Valparaiso, in the 1994-95 season, featured two sets of twins - Bill and Bob Jenkins were freshmen and Jeff and Brian Smith were juniors. In other athletic twin news, Alabama-Birmingham currently has one set of twins on its basketball team, but its football and track teams both feature two sets of twins each.
PETE NEWELL CAMP
Rory O'Neil and Nick Curtis both attended Pete Newell's Big Man Camp over the summer. For O'Neil it was his second consecutive time at the camp while Curtis participated for the first time. Both received strong reviews from the mentor of the program.
OFF THE TOP OF OUR HEAD NOTES
The Trojan team Desmon Farmer joined in 2001 featured five players who would eventually settle into the top 19 of the school's all-time top scorers and four of the top 12. They included Sam Clancy (third), Brian Scalabrine (seventh), Brandon Granville (eighth), David Bluthenthal (12th) and Jeff Trepagnier (19th). Farmer is now 10th on the list with 1,394 points (passing Trepagnier on Dec. 6 and David Bluthenthal on Jan. 15) and has a good chance at cracking the top 5 this season ... Coach Henry Bibby and Farmer are the last connections remaining from USC's breakthrough 2001 Elite Eight team that reached the NCAA Regional final before falling to eventual national champion Duke. As a freshman , Farmer played 26 minutes in three games off the bench in USC's NCAA run ... Bibby has coached nine of USC's 28 players who have scored at least 1,000 points. Errick Craven is poised to become No. 10 of 29, beginning his junior campaign with 753 points (he now has 929). After Craven, Rory O'Neil seems the next best bet to crack the 1,000-point threshold, but he is still more than 400 points off and is likely another year away.
USC PICKED TO FINISH FIFTH IN MEDIA POLL
USC was picked to finish fifth in the Pac-10 media poll on Nov. 6, receiving one of the 35 first-place votes. Arizona was picked first with 26 first-place votes and 339 points. Stanford (seven first-place votes and 321 points) was second and California was third (the remaining first-place vote and 238 points). Oregon was fourth (215), followed by USC, UCLA (188), Arizona State (185), Washington (108), Washington State (69) and Oregon State (55).
USC AT THE SPORTS ARENA
Dating back to 1996-97, the Trojans are 70-29 (.707) in their last 99 games at the Sports Arena and USC is 126-54 (.700) 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.
USC fell to 68-30 all-time in its season openers and lost only its fourth in the last 16 such games. Under eighth-year Coach Henry Bibby, USC has is now 6-2 with wins over Long Beach State (1997), San Diego State (1999), Cal State Northrdige (2000), Bradley (2001), Wyoming (2002) and UC Riverside. The losses are to New Mexico (1998) and Western Michigan (2004). The Trojans have now won nine straight home openers.
THE TROJANS VS. RANKED TEAMS
USC won its first game against a ranked team this year, defeating No. 7 Arizona, 99-90, on Jan. 15, giving it three consecutive wins against ranked teams. The streak ended at No. 2 Stanford, 77-67 ... USC was 3-6 against ranked teams in 2002-03, falling to No. 15 Missouri at the Wooden Classic, to No. 2 Arizona at home, at No. 25 California, at No. 1 Arizona, vs. No. 21 Stanford and vs. No. 18 California, but beating No. 19 Oregon at home and No. 14 Stanford and No. 23 California in the Pac-10 Tournament. The Trojans were 12-16 against ranked teams in the past three years combined and 14-21 in the last four 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.
USC COACH Henry Bibby
Henry Bibby, a coach with 21 years of college and professional experience and the only person to ever play for an NCAA, NBA and CBA championship team, is in his eighth full season in 2003-2004 as the head coach of the USC men's basketball program. He is just one year removed from guiding the Trojans to only their second back-to-back 20-win seasons in 2001 and 2002 and only their third back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances.
* Bibby and the Trojans underwent a rebuilding season in 2003 as USC finished 13-17 overall, 6-12 in the Pac-10 (tied for sixth). Two big bright spots, however, created major optimism for 2004. First of all, USC, despite fielding a team made up predominantly of underclassmen, held second-half leads in almost every game (though it had trouble closing them out). Secondly, the Trojans made their second consecutive run to the Pac-10 Tournament championship game, showing a maturation Bibby hopes carries over to 2004.
* 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 20 wins gave USC back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time 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.
* In 2001, Bibby led USC to perhaps its greatest season ever, piloting the Trojans to their first NCAA Tournament Elite Eight appearance under the tournament's current format. 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. Scalabrine and Trepagnier were taken back-to-back in the second round of the 2001 draft; Scalabrine going to New Jersey with the 35th pick while Trepagnier went 36th to Cleveland. Clancy went in the second round of the 2002 draft to Philadelphia with the 45th pick. Clancy was the fourth Trojan taken in the NBA Draft since Bibby has been at USC (the first was Rodrick Rhodes in 1997). Elias Ayuso became the fifth Trojan under Bibby to sign with an NBA team when he inked a deal with the San Antonio Spurs in the summer of 2003.
* In his seven years as head coach, Bibby has been instrumental in player development and has guided eight players to a combined 13 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 (Ayuso) earned Pac-10 All-Newcomer first team notice.
Junior * Guard * 6-Foot-2 * 215 Pounds
* A 6-foot-2, 215-pound junior guard in 2004 and identical twin brother of fellow Trojan junior Errick Craven, he is an athletic and aggressive player who has a tenacious work ethic on defense. He matured as Troy's starting point guard for most of 2003, though he is coming off the bench in that role this season.
* Second on team with 45 assists and third with 25 steals. He's averaging 6.2 points.
* His 12 points against No. 7 Arizona marked his first double-digit effort since Dec. 9. He then had 11 at Cal.
* Scored in double figures in three consecutive games for the first time in his USC career, ending with an 11-point, seven-assist game against Cal State Fullerton.
* He had a season-high 16 points at St. Mary's, going 7-of-7 from the field in 20 minutes. It was the first 7-of-7 performance by a Trojan since Nov. 23, 1999 (Brian Scalabrine). The St. Mary's effort followed 11 points vs. UNLV and four assists.
* He averaged 4.6 points and 2.2 rebounds in 19.9 minutes per game last year, starting 25 of 30 games as a 2003 sophomore. He was one of only two Trojans to play in every game (along with Desmon Farmer).
* His 40 steals and 70 assists were both the second-highest totals on the team.
Junior * Guard * 6-Foot-2 * 205 Pounds
* A 6-foot-2, 205-pound junior guard in 2004 and identical twin brother of fellow Trojan Derrick Craven, Errick Craven returns to the Trojans as one of the top all-around guards in the Pac-10. One of the quickest players and top defenders in the conference, he is USC's second-leading returning scorer and is tied as the top returning rebounder.
* Scored a season-high 20 points at Washington ... Had 17 points against UNLV and had 16 points, six assists and five steals against Cal State Fullerton ... Scored 16 points and had five steals against No. 7 Arizona.
* Third on the team in scoring (10.4) and leads the team with 50 assists and 39 steals (2.29, first in the Pac-10).
* Sent the game at St. Mary's into overtime with a layup with eight seconds left.
* He is fourth on USC's career steals chart (180) and 15th on Troy's career three-point chart (69).
* His 2.3 career steals average is just off Pac-10 record-holder Jason Kidd's 2.5.
* Has had at least five steals 13 times in his career.
* Averaged 13.0 points (second on the team) and 5.3 rebounds (tied for first) as a 2003 sophomore guard, starting 26 of 29 games.
* Became the first Trojan ever to lead USC in rebounds (5.3), assists (2.6) and steals (2.5) in the same season.
* His 73 steals were the most in the Pac-10 and second-most ever at USC in a season (behind Jeff Trepagnier's 94).
Junior * Forward * 6-Foot-8 * 225 Pounds
* Nick Curtis, a 6-foot-8, 225-pound junior forward in 2004, is a strong rebounder and athletic presence who will look to build on a solid sophomore campaign that was curtailed by nagging injuries to both feet.
* Scored a season-high 10 points at No. 2 Stanford ... Had a season-high seven boards at St. Mary's and six against Cal State Fullerton.
* After missing the previous six games with a sore left knee (tendonitis) that's bothered him all season, he returned to action at Washington State and has averaged 10.2 minutes in the last five games.
* He attended the Pete Newell Big Man Camp in August for the first time with teammate Rory O'Neil.
* Averaged 6.6 points and 5.3 rebounds (tied for team high) in 21.0 minutes, starting 15 of 29 games.
* Had three double-doubles in 2003, including a 17-point, 15-rebound (career-high) effort at Washington.
Senior * Guard * 6-Foot-5 * 220 Pounds
* Desmon Farmer is a 6-foot-5, 220-pound senior guard in 2004 with a great scoring touch and a fiery defensive presence who will start for the second year in a row.
* Averaging team-best 19.5 points per game (third in the Pac-10) to go with a Pac-10-high 53 three-pointers, is second in rebounding (4.5) and has made 77-of-91 free throws (84.6%), including 18 of his last 19 in a row.
* He is 10th on USC's career scoring chart with 1,394 points and is third on the career three-point chart with 173.
* Farmer, who had 17 at Cal and 19 at No.2 Stanford, is shooting 52.3% from three-point range in has last five games (23-of-44).
* Poured in 40 points against No. 7 Arizona, making 11-of-19 shots, 7-of-11 threes and 11-of-12 free throws. Tied for the fifth-most ever at USC and the most since Harold Miner had 43 in 1991 ... Then scored 26 points against Arizona State en route to earning his first-ever Pac-10 Player of the Week honor.
* Farmer's previous career-high was 35 points, set last year at Washington State. He's one of only seven Trojans to score at least 35 points twice in his USC career.
* Posted his second career double-double at Washington with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
* Scored 29 points in a losing cause against Cal Poly, setting career highs for field goals (11) and field goal attempts (25).
* Had 23 points against Lafayette, including 21 in the first half and 22 at Washington State, making five threes.
* Scored 19 points at St. Mary's after pouring in 26 points, including six three-pointers, against Cal State Northridge to go with eight rebounds.
* Had six three-pointers at Fresno State en route to 19 points, taking a career-high 14 three-point attempts.
* Posted an 18-point game off the bench against Cal State Fullerton that included career highs in free throws (12) and free throw attempts (13).
* He averaged 18.7 points as a 2003 junior guard, tops on the Trojans and fourth-best in the Pac-10 ... He was named a 2003 All-Pac-10 honorable mention selection and earned Pac-10 All-Tournament honors after he averaged 22.0 points and 4.3 rebounds in the conference tourney.
Gregg Guenther Jr.
Junior * Forward * 6-Foot-8 * 245 Pounds
* Gregg Guenther Jr., a 6-foot-8, 245-pound redshirt junior in 2004, 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 and hit the open jumper. He joined the team on Jan. 2 one day after playing in the Rose Bowl.
* Has made a significant impact since joining the basketball team, averaging 5.9 points and 4.5 rebounds (tied for second on the team) in 17.5 minutes in eight games.
* Posted season highs of 11 points and 11 rebounds against No. 7 Arizona for his fifth career double-double ... Had 10 points at Washington.
* Made his 2004 basketball debut against Oregon, scoring seven points in 13 minutes off the bench ... Came back with seven points and three rebounds against Oregon State.
* Finished the 2003 football season tied for third on the team with 17 receptions for 167 yards and two touchdowns. He made one catch in the Rose Bowl, a key 19-yard reception that kept alive a key late drive ... He sprained his knee against Oregon State on Dec. 6 and is yet 100%.
* He averaged 6.2 points and 5.0 rebounds in 18.6 minutes last year, starting nine of 19 games and showed marked improvement in his second year with the team.
* His overall rebound average was third on the team and his 6.1 boards per game in Pac-10 play was eighth in the conference.
Junior * Forward * 6-Foot-8 * 260 Pounds
* Jeff McMillan, a 6-foot-8, 260-pound redshirt junior forward in 2004, is a strong rebounder with the ability to score around the basket. He sat out the 2003 season after transferring from Fordham in 2002 and is expected to make big contributions this season.
* Leading USC rebounder (8.5) and second in scoring (12.0) and also leads the team in field goal percentage (63.2%, tops in the Pac-10). Has been USC's leading rebounder in 12 of 17 games.
* Posted his fifth double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds at Cal, his first since getting 10 points and 11 boards against Oregon State.
* Had a USC career-high 14 rebounds at Fresno State, the most for a Trojan since Nick Curtis had 15 last season at Washington.
* Had 18 points and eight rebounds against Lafayette.
* Posted his third double-double of the season with 10 points and 12 rebounds against Cal Poly.
* Scored a season-high 22 points on 9-of-12 shooting to go with eight rebounds against Cal State Northridge.
* Became the third Trojan ever to play more than 40 minutes in back-to-back games (41 at St. Mary's and 42 against Cal State Fullerton). With 39 minutes at Fresno State, it gave him an average of 40.3 in the last four games.
* Posted back-to-back double-doubles with 16 points and 11 rebounds at St. Mary's and 20 points and 11 rebounds against UNLV.
* In his first career USC home game, scored 13 points and had nine boards against Northridge. He had eight points at Western Michigan.
* He started 14 of Fordham's 28 games as a sophomore power forward for the Rams in 2002 and led them with 7.6 rebounds per game (seventh in the Atlantic 10) while averaging 10.2 points per game (second best on the team).
Senior * Center * 7-Foot-0 * 230 Pounds
* Jonathan Oliver, a 7-foot, 230-pound center, is a 2004 senior in his second year with the Trojans. Extremely agile for his size, he is a quality shot blocker who runs the floor with ease. After seeing only limited time as a junior, Oliver hopes to expand his role this season.
* Averaging 7.9 minutes in nine games, starting three times. He made his first career start against No. 7 Arizona. He then started again against Arizona State, scoring a season-high 10 points and blocking a career-high five shots.
* Saw his first action of the year with four minutes at Fresno State ... Played seven good minutes against Cal Poly, grabbing three boards and blocking a shot. Then had four boards in 12 minutes against Lafayette.
* Missed USC's first six games while concentrating on his academics.
* Averaged 2.5 points, 1.6 rebounds and 7.8 minutes in 17 games as a reserve center last year.
Junior * Center * 6-Foot-11 * 240 Pounds
* Rory O'Neil, a 6-foot-11, 240-pound junior center, hopes to build on a solid sophomore campaign in 2004. For the second summer in a row, he has worked hard in the gym to add muscle to his long frame. One of the best shot-blockers in the conference, O'Neil seems poised to become one of the top big men in the Pac-10.
* USC's fifth-leading scorer (8.6) and leader in blocks (22). He is also second in field goal percentage (50.4) and has made 13-of-32 three-pointers (40.6%). Has scored in double digits seven times.
* Eighth on USC's career blocked shot chart with 80.
* Posted a career-high three three-pointers en route to 18 points against Oregon State.
* Scored a season-high 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting against Cal State Fullerton.
* Had season-high nine rebounds against Lafayette.
* Hit two free throws with 13 seconds left to give USC a three-point lead at Fresno State, one it maintained for a win.
* Posted team highs in points (15) and rebounds (eight) at Western Michigan in 39 minutes. Had 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting against UNLV.
* He attended the Pete Newell Big Man Camp in August for the second consecutive year.
* He started 25 of 29 games as a sophomore center in 2003 and averaged 10.1 points per game, third-best on the team. He led the team in blocked shots (1.3, fifth in the Pac-10) and was fourth in rebounding (4.9). He scored in double figures 17 times and had four double-doubles.
* He was named a Pac-10 All-Academic honorable mention selection with a 3.01 GPA in mathematics.
Senior * Guard * 6-Foot-4 * 195 Pounds
* Roydell Smiley, 6-foot-4 and 195 pounds, is in his second year with the Trojans as a senior guard in 2004. A hard-nosed player, he brings an excellent perimeter game to the Trojans as well as the ability to handle the ball, but he has yet to see any action this year due to injuries.
* Had arthroscopic knee surgery on Dec. 30 and will be out an estimated four to six weeks. He missed the first two months with pain in his knee and leg.
* He broke his lower left leg in the season finale loss against Oregon and was expected to return by the start of the season, but he has yet to fully recover.
* He finished as USC's fourth-leading scorer (8.6) despite battling nagging knee injuries for most of the season in 2003.
* He made the second-most three-pointers on the team (40) and shot a team-high 84.4% from the free throw line (38-of-45).
* Made a team-best 26 consecutive free throws during an 11-game span.
Freshman * Guard * 6-Foot-4 * 210 Pounds
* Lodrick Stewart, a 6-foot-4, 210-pound freshman and the identical twin of fellow Trojan freshman Rodrick Stewart, is a gifted and athletic player who can play the 1, 2 or 3 positions. Like his brother, he's an excellent finisher with a knack for scoring. Also a tenacious defender, he's carved a role as one of USC's top defenders.
* Second on the team with 34 steals (2.13, second in the Pac-10).
* Fourth on the team in scoring (9.3) and is second on the team with 19 three-pointers.
* Made his third start of the year at No. 2 Stanford, scoring 13 points in 30 minutes.
* Matched his season high of 19 points against Oregon. Also had that at Fresno State (on four threes).
* Had season high eight rebounds against Lafayette and six steals at Washington.
* Had 14 points and three steals against Cal Poly and had 13 points and had three steals in 27 minutes off the bench at St. Mary's.
* Scored 12 points and made 3-of-4 three-pointers in his first collegiate game at Western Michigan and followed it with a seven-point effort of the bench against Cal State Northridge.
* Stewart, a 2003 McDonald's Preseason All-American alternate, Students Sports All-American special selection and Long Beach Press-Telegram Best in the West first teamer, averaged 19.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.0 steals and 3.0 assists as a 2003 senior at Rainier Beach High (Seattle, Wash.) ... Earned 3-A State Tournament MVP honors en route to leading Rainier Beach to its second consecutive state title.
Freshman * Guard * 6-Foot-4 * 200 Pounds
* Rodrick Stewart, a 6-foot-4, 200-pound freshman and the identical twin of fellow Trojan freshman Lodrick Stewart, is a gifted and athletic player who can play point guard, shooting guard or small forward. A great open-court player and defender who can also finish with the best, he has been starting at point guard.
* Scored a season-high 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting in 25 minutes at BYU and matched that with 14 points and four assists at Washington. He had 11 points and four assists against Lafayette.
* He is averaging 6.0 points and 2.4 rebounds in 24.7 minutes per game, starting 15 times.
* Had 10 points, starting at point guard in his Trojan debut at Western Michigan. He had three assists against Cal State Northridge and six points and four assists at St. Mary's.
* Prepped at Rainier Beach (Seattle, Wash.) High, where he earned Parade All-American third team, McDonald's Preseason All-American, All-State first team and Long Beach Press-Telegram Best in the West first team honors and was named 3-A State Player of the Year as a 2003 senior ... Averaged 18.8 points, 8.0 assists, 6.0 rebounds and 4.5 steals in 2003, helping to lead Rainier Beach to a 26-3 record and its second straight 3-A state title.
* USC is currently fielding six walk-ons: second-year 6-foot-7 sophomore forward Edward Chang, first-year 6-foot-6 sophomore forward Greg Gaudino, 6-foot-1 freshman guard Andrew Moore, 6-foot-6 freshman forward Reed Doucette, 6-foot-7 senior forward Joe Buck and 6-foot freshman guard Chris Penrose.
* 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 ... Gaudino played on USC's volleyball team in 2003 as a freshman ... Buck played with the Trojans as a walk-on two seasons ago. He then played at Georgetown College in Georgetown, Ky., in the fall of 2002 before transferring back to USC the following spring. He became eligible to play this year after the BYU game.
* Buck played a couple minutes in the first-half of the win at Fresno State and also got in late against Cal Poly and Lafayette, making his only field goal attempt in the latter. Chang and Gaudino also played briefly against the Leopards.
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