Trojans Open Pac-10 Tournament With Wildcats
March 9, 2004
USC (13-14, 8-10), a finalist in the 2002 and 2003 Pac-10 Tournaments, tries again for its first ever Pac-10 Tournament title -- and the automatic NCAA berth that comes with it -- as it takes on Arizona (19-8, 11-7) in the first round of the 2004 Pac-10 Tournament on Thursday (March 11) at 8:45 p.m. A winner of four of their past six games, USC is playing about as well as it has this year as it takes on a Wildcat team that finished the regular season with two straight wins. 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.
No. 6 seed USC (13-14, 8-10) vs. No. 3 seed Arizona (19-8, 11-7) on Thursday (March 11) at 8:45 p.m. The game will be televised live on FOX Sports Net 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. 21st-year coach Lute Olson's Wildcats finished the regular season with a 106-81 drubbing of Arizona State Saturday. Arizona, ranked No. 16 by ESPN/USA Today and No. 21 by AP, features three of the top eight scorers in the Pac-10 in junior guard Salim Stoudamire (17.1, fifth), sophomore guard Hasaan Adams (16.7, sixth) and junior center Channing Frye (15.8, eighth). Sophomore forward Andre Iguodala is third in the Pac-10 in rebounding (8.8) while Frye is seventh (7.3) and Adams is eighth (7.1). Frye leads the Pac-10 in blocks per game (2.1) while Iguodala is second in assists (5.2). The Wildcats lead the Pac-10 in scoring (87.9), field goal percentage (48.8%) and free throw percentage (77.9%) and are second in three-point percentage (39.0%).
USC trails, 49-33. Arizona has defeated USC 19 tmes in a row in Tucson, but the Trojans have won five of the last eight meetings at the Sports Arena in Los Angeles, including a 99-90 win earlier this year. USC fell to Arizona in the Pac-10 Tournament title game in 2002, 81-71. The Trojans also lost a Pac-10 quarterfinal game in 1990 to the Wildcats.
Arizona forced USC into a season low from the field and six Wildcats scored in double figures as the Trojans fell for the 19th time in a row in Tucson, 97-70, earlier this year. USC led 9-0 early, by 40-39 at the half and still led 53-52 with 14:32 when the floor caved in. The Wildcats pressured the Trojans into a spat of turnovers and went on a 14-0 run to lead 66-53 with 11:20 to go and USC did not get within single digits again. Arizona, led by Salim Stoudamire's 22 points, shot only 40.0% in the first half but hit 67.9% in the second half. USC, meanwhile, hit only 26.5% in the second half and was outscored 58-30 in the second period. The Trojans were led by a career-high 17 points and nine rebounds by Gregg Guenther, who started his first game of the year. Jeff McMillan made 6-of-8 shots en route to 13 points and Desmon Farmer had 11.
Arizona's Lute Olson is in his 21st year in Tucson. He has coached more than 850 collegiate games in his 30-plus-year coaching career, which includes nine years at Iowa and one season at Long Beach State. At Arizona, Olson has captured one NCAA title (1997), 10 Pac-10 titles and led the Wildcats to four Final Fours (1988, 1994, 1997 and 2001). He has been named Pac-10 Coach of the Year seven times. Arizona has gone to 19 consecutive NCAA Tournament's under Olson and has the nation's best winning percentage over the last 16 years.
Probable Starters Ht. Yr. pts. reb. G 20 Salim Stoudamire 6-1 Jr. 17.1 2.7G 15 Mustafa Shakur 6-3 Fr. 9.1 3.6G 21 Hassan Adams 6-4 So. 16.7 7.1F 24 Andre Iguodala 6-6 So. 12.7 8.8C 45 Channing Frye 6-10 Jr. 15.8 7.3
FARMER, Lodrick Stewart EARN PAC-10 HONORS
Senior guard Desmon Farmer was named to the Pac-10 All-Conference first team while freshman guard Lodrick Stewart earned All-Freshman honors the Pac-10 announced on Monday (March 8). It is the first first-team Pac-10 honor for Farmer, who was an honorable mention selection last year. Farmer led USC in scoring in 17 of 27 games, scoring in double digits in all but two games. He scored 20 or more points 12 times and scored 25 or more nine times. His 40 points in USC's win against Arizona was 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. It was the most any Trojan has scored since Harold Miner had 43 at Nebraska on Nov. 25, 1991. Farmer 1,602 points is third on USC's career chart. Farmer is USC's 53rd All-Conference selection. USC is third among Pac-10 schools behind only UCLA (62) and Washington (55). Stewart has averaged 8.3 points and is tied for seventh in the Pac-10 in steals (1.5). He is USC's first All-Freshman selection since Errick Craven earned the honor in 2002. Stanford's Josh Childress was named Pac-10 Player of the Year, California's Leon Powe was named Freshman of the Year and Stanford Coach Mike Montgomery was named Coach of the Year.
McMILLAN NAMED PAC-10 NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR
Junior forward Jeff McMillan, averaging 11.3 points and 8.7 rebounds, was named the Pac-10's 2004 Newcomer of the Year, the Pac-10 announced on Friday (March 5). His 63.8% shooting percentage leads the conference and his rebound average is tied for second. He is the third Trojan to win the award, following Brian Scalabrine (1999) and Rodrick Rhodes (1997).
USC AT OREGON STATE RECAP
USC, led by Desmon Farmer's 24 points, jumped out to a big lead and, like has happened often this year, had to hold on at the end to defeat Oregon State, 63-60, on Saturday (March 6). USC led by as many as 16 points in the first half, led by 15 at the half and still led by nine at 50-41 with 8:46 to play. But the Beavers, paced by Chris Stephens' 22 points, caught USC at 50-50 and then led 56-54 with 3:37 to play. USC went ahead by one at 58-57 with 2:26 to go and went up by four at 61-57 on a Lodrick Stewart three-pointer with 1:04 to play. Stephens' fourth three-pointer cut the deficit back to one with 38 seconds remaining. Oregon State then fouled Farmer with 23 seconds and the senior made 1-of-2 to give USC a 62-60 lead with 23 ticks left. But Lucas missed on consecutive field goal attempts before Stewart was fouled with seven seconds on the clock. He made 1-of-2 shots to give USC its 63-60 lead. The Beavers never got off a shot on their final possession, Stewart forcing a steal as time expired.
USC AT OREGON STATE NOTES
USC limited Oregon State to opponent lows in field goal percentage (30.5%) and field goals (18). The Beavers' first-half efforts of 23.3% shooting and seven field goals were also opponent lows ... Desmon Farmer's 24 points gives him 1,602, becoming the 58th player in the Pac-10 to score at least 1,600 in his career ... His 540 points leave him 11th on USC's single-season scoring list ... He finished conference play averaging 20.8 points, becoming the first Trojan to average more than 20 points in Pac-10 play in back-to-back seasons since Harold Miner di it three straight years (1990-92) ... He now has 83 three-pointers, tying for third (with Anthony Pendleton) on USC's season three-point chart. His 237 three-point attempts are the second most ever in a season at USC, six behind record holder Dwayne Hackett (1993) ... With his three blocks Rory O'Neil moved into a tie for seventh on USC's season blocks chart with 42.
USC AT OREGON RECAP
Despite 25 points by Desmon Farmer and 15 points and 13 rebounds by Jeff McMillan, USC fell in a close game at Oregon, 75-70, on Thursday. USC had a chance to tie the game with less than 30 seconds to play, but Rory O'Neil's three-point attempt was short. Oregon's Andre Joseph was fouled and made two free throws to seal the win. USC, playing without third-leading scorer Errick Craven (suspended by the Pac-10 for the game), led by 12 points (37-25) late in the first half, but Oregon closed to within 39-33 at the break. The Ducks, led by 20 points by Luke Jackson, then hit back-to-back three-pointers to open the second half to tie the game. The momentum on its side, Oregon slowly built a lead, which reached its height at 61-51 with 7:27 to play. USC still trailed by eight at 70-62 with 2:59 to go when Lodrick Stewart hit a three-pointer. A Jeff McMillan layup with 1:30 to go brought USC to within 71-67 and then, after two Oregon free throws, Derrick Craven hit a three to bring USC to within 73-70. The Trojans stopped the Ducks on their next possession, setting up O'Neil's tying attempt.
DEZ IN THE FIRST HALF NOTE
Farmer has scored in double figures 15 times in the first halves of games this year, including in 14 of the past 20 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 and at Oregon, 14 at UCLA, 13 against Oregon and at Stanford, 12 against Cal Poly and Washington, 11 at Arizona State, against Stanford and at Oregon State and 10 against UCLA.
AN Errick Craven STEALS NOTE WITH GARY PAYTON
If Errick Craven remains in first in the Pac-10 in steals average, he will become the first player in the league to lead the conference in the category in three consecutive seasons since Gary Payton did it at Oregon State from 1988-90.
STATS WE'RE KEEPING AN EYE ON
Jeff McMillan, currently shooting 63.3% from the field, is on pace to shatter USC's season field goal percentage of 57.44% (Steve Smith, 1979). In fact, McMillan would have to go 0-of-19 from the field in his next game to drop below Smith's mark. McMillan is also leading the Pac-10 in the category and would be the first Trojan ever to do so if he remains in first ... Desmon Farmer has played in 120 games at USC. Only USC record holder Brandon Granville (124) has played in more. Farmer also has played 3,224 minutes, good for seventh on USC's all-time list.
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 his ability to score in bunches is undeniable, like his 11 points in OT against UCLA on Feb. 25, nine in the final 91 seconds. 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 15 field goal attempts per game, including more than eight three-pointers per game. In fact, Farmer is seven three-point attempts away from breaking Dwayne Hackett's team season record of 243.
BATTLE FOR THIRD-ANNUAL LEXUS GAUNTLET
The Trojans have captured all 10 men's basketball points for the 2003-04 Lexus Gauntlet, winning 76-69 earlier this year at Pauley Pavilion and 78-77 in overtime at USC. 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 42.5-25.
The Trojans have been shorthanded since October. Below is a breakdown of the players in question.
* Senior guard Desmon Farmer suffered a bruised left hand at UCLA on Jan. 28 and a sprained ankle in practice on Feb 10. The ankle is good, but the left hand is still bothering him and he is playing with his left wrist wrapped.
* Rodrick Stewart suffered a cut lip and blurred vision after a collision with Jason Braxton in the second half of the Arizona State game (taking a charge), but has not missed any time since.
* Junior forward Nick Curtis missed six games in a row earlier this year 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 every game since and has shown signs of his strong start from last season.
* 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.
* Freshman guard Quinton Day left the team in December. USC Coach Henry Bibby officially announced he would not return 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 has been out since and is likely to redshirt.
* 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 almost 30 minutes per game.
* USC added a fifth walk-on, senior forward Joe Buck, who became eligible on Dec. 18 (he since received a scholarship). He's seen action seven times. A sixth walk-on, 6-foot freshman guard Chris Penrose, joined the team after the Lafayette game.
ELEVEN CLOSE SHAVES AND A BLOWOUT
USC has played mostly close games this season when it wins. Eleven of its 13 wins have come by single-digit margins, none of them secured until the final minute(s) of each, four in overtime. 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, 12 of the Trojans' 14 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. USC also trailed Stanford by only three with a minute to play before the Cardinal pulled away.
THREE-POINT HIGHS AND LOWS
The Trojans have been a streaky three-point team, either hot or cold, making 40.0% or more nine times but 31.8% or less 16 other times. Overall, USC is shooting only 31.2% from behind the arc while Trojan opponents have made 36.8% of their trey attempts and have made 22 more than USC. In fact, Troy has allowed eight double-digit three-point performances compared to only two such efforts all of last season.
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. Jeff McMillan was close to that at Oregon on March 4, going 6-for-6.
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 then shot 73.3% in its next seven games but dipped again in the next six, going 54.3% (82-of-151). In its last 12 games, USC has shot 70.0% or better only three times.
USC played three consecutive overtime games earlier this year (UNLV, St. Mary's, Cal State Fullerton), a first in school history. It played its fourth OT game at Arizona State and a season-high fifth against UCLA.
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, has bolstered 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 (eighth), Brandon Granville (ninth), David Bluthenthal (12th) and Jeff Trepagnier (19th). Farmer is now fourth on the list with 1,602 points (passing Trepagnier on Dec. 6, Bluthenthal on Jan. 15 and Scalabrine and Granville on Feb. 5) ... 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 10 of USC's 29 players who have scored at least 1,000 points. Errick Craven is the latest, cracking the barrier on Feb. 19 against Stanford. He now is in 27th. After Craven, Rory O'Neil seems the next best bet to crack the 1,000-point threshold, but he is still more than 300 points off and 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).
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 then lost at No. 15 Arizona, 97-70, and against No. 1 Stanford, 76-67 ... 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 in assists (74) and is third with 32 steals. Averaging 6.1 points. Suspended for the Oregon State game on March 6 by the Pac-10 (unsportsmanlike act).
* Played a season-high 31 minutes in USC's win at UCLA and matched it at Oregon.
* 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.
* Third on the team in scoring (10.8), first in assists (79) and steals (61, first in the Pac-10). Averaging a league-best 2.5 steals in conference games.
* Suspended by the Pac-10 for the Oregon game on March 4 (unsportsmanlike act).
* Posted season highs of 26 points and eight field goals at Arizona State in 40 minutes.
* Scored 20 points at Washington and had 18 at UCLA, including three three-pointers, to go with five steals.
* 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.
* Sent the game at St. Mary's into overtime with a layup with eight seconds left.
* Fourth on USC's career steals chart (202) and 14th on Troy's career three-point chart (81). Has 1,034 career points, 27th on USC's all-time list. Joined USC's 1,000-point club on Feb. 19 with seven points against Stanford.* Has had at least five steals 15 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 and matched it with 10 points and seven rebounds in his first start of the year at UCLA ... Also had seven boards at St. Mary's and six against Cal State Fullerton.
* Started at Oregon for the first time since Feb. 5, scoring six points.
* Sent the game into overtime at Arizona State with a put-back layup with 22 seconds left.
* Averaging 3.2 points and 2.6 rebounds.
* Missed six games recently with a sore left knee (tendonitis) that's bothered him all season but returned at Washington State.
* 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.
* 2004 All-Pac-10 First Team selection.
* Averaging team-best 20.0 (third in the Pac-10) points per game to go with a Pac-10-high 83 three-pointers and is third in rebounding (4.6). Most recently, he had 25 points at Oregon and 24 at Oregon State.
* He is fourth on USC's career scoring chart with 1,602 points and second on the career three-point chart with 203. His 540 points are 11th on USC's season chart and he is tied for third on USC's season three-point chart with 83. His 20.0 scoring average is currently 11th on USC's all-time season list.
* With 540 points this season and 562 last year, Farmer is one of four Trojans ever to score more than 500 points in a season at least twice at USC. The others are Harold Miner, Sam Clancy and John Rudometkin.
* Scored at least 25 points nine times this year.
* For the second time this year, Farmer posted 28 points on UCLA on Feb. 25 at the Sports Arena, 11 in overtime and nine in the final 91 seconds to lift USC to a 78-77 win.
* Farmer followed 28 points at UCLA with 31 against Washington and had 25 at Arizona State. He is shooting 39.2% from three-point range in Pac-10 play.
* 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 and one of 11 to score at least 30 points three times.
* 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. He also had 19 points at No. 2 Stanford and 17 at Cal.
* 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 5.4 points and 4.4 rebounds (third on the team).
* Scored a career-high 17 points at No. 15 Arizona to go with nine rebounds. Followed it with his second double-double of the season (sixth overall) with a career-high 13 rebounds and 11 points at Arizona State.
* Posted 11 points and 11 rebounds against No. 7 Arizona in L.A. 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 has made big contributions this season.
* Leading USC rebounder (8.5) and second in scoring (11.0) and also leads the team in field goal percentage (63.3%, tops in the Pac-10). Has been USC's leading rebounder 15 times and is the only Trojan to start every game this season.
* Named 2004 Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year on Friday (March 5). It is USC's third such honor. Brian Scalabrine won it 1999 and Rodrick Rhodes won it in 1997.
* Posted fourth double-double in last five games and ninth overall at Oregon, scoring 13 points (on 6-of-6 shooting) and getting 15 rebounds.
* McMillan recently posted five consecutive double-digit rebound efforts, the most for a Trojan since Sam Clancy had 11 in row (all double-doubles) in 2002.
* Had a monster game in USC's 78-77 OT win over UCLA on Feb. 25 at the Sports Arena, grabbing a career-high 18 rebounds to go with 19 points for his eighth double-double, third in the last four games.
* Scored 21 points and had 13 rebounds for his seventh double-double against top-ranked Stanford on Feb. 19.
* Posted his sixth double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds at Arizona State. Had 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 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 6.5 minutes, 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.
* Played 13 minutes in USC's win at Oregon State, the third most of the season for him.
* 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 fourth-leading scorer (8.4) and leader in blocks (42). Has scored in double digits 12 times, including four of the last five.
* He's blocked 15 shots in the last five games.
* Had 20 points and career highs of six blocks, 12 rebounds (tied) and four three-pointers against Cal on Feb. 21.
* Had 14 points and three blocks against No. 1 Stanford, his most points since 18 against Oregon State on Jan. 4.
* Sixth on USC's career blocked shot chart with 101.
* Had 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.
* 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 likely redshirt. 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.
* 2004 Pac-10 All-Freshman selection.
* Fifth on the team in scoring (8.3) and is second on the team with 31 three-pointers and 39 steals (1.5, seventh in the Pac-10).
* Has scored in double figures 11 times, most recently with 12 points at Oregon State.
* Posted career highs of 20 points and five three-pointers in only 18 minutes against California on Feb. 21.
* Made a big three-pointer late in OT at ASU to give USC a five-point lead with less than two minutes to play.
* Came off the bench at Oregon to score eight late points in 11 minutes.
* 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.).
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 4.5 points and 2.3 rebounds, starting 17 times. Suffered a cut lip and blurred vision after a collision in the second half of the Arizona State game, but should play against Stanford.
* 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.
Senior * Forward * 6-Foot-7 * 210 Pounds
* Joe Buck, a 6-foot-7, 210-pound senior forward, was a walk-on who was awarded a scholarship in his final semester as a Trojan. 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.
* He has played in seven games off the bench ... 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. He made two foul shots at Arizona.
* USC is currently fielding five 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 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.
* Chang and Gaudino played briefly against the Leopards. Moore played the final minute against Washington and three minutes at Arizona.