USC Opens The 2007-08 Season Vs. Mercer Saturday At The Galen Center
Nov. 7, 2007
LOS ANGELES -- The USC men's basketball team (0-0) opens the season vs. Mercer (0-0) on Nov. 10 at 1 p.m. in the Galen Center. The game will be carried live on Trojan TV All-Access.
SCOUTING MERCER -- The Mercer Bears (Macon, Ga.) from the Atlantic Sun Conference will face USC in the 2007-08 season opener for both clubs on Nov. 10 at the Galen Center. Mercer was 13-17 in the 2006-07 season, but has four starters and eight lettermen returning, including Atlantic Sun Conference Freshman of the Year James Florence.
TROJANS IN HOME OPENERS -- USC has started at home the first two years that Tim Floyd has been the coach, but is looking for a different result. In the 2005-06 season, USC opened with CS Northridge and lost 81-76 in overtime, while they began the 2006-07 season (first game at the Galen Center) with an 80-74 loss in overtime to South Carolina. USC is 69-32 in season openers. USC had won 10 straight home openers before falling the last two seasons in overtime.
TRIP TO SOUTH CAROLINA ON DECK -- USC will make its first road trip of the season, when they travel to Charleston, S.C. to play at The Citadel on Nov. 15 and to Columbia, S.C. to play South Carolina on Nov. 17. The Citadel was 7-23 last season, including losing 74-58 at USC on Nov. 21, 2006. The Bulldogs return two starters, but have only three players on the roster from last year's squad. South Carolina went 14-16 last season, including defeating USC 80-74 in overtime in the Galen Center opener on Nov. 16, 2006. The Gamecocks return two starters, but have added key transfers Devan Downey from Cincinnati and Zam Fredrick from Georgia Tech. The Citadel and South Carolina will play each other on Nov. 12 in Columbia.
AT THE POLLS - USC opens the season in the preseason rankings (USA Today-No 18, AP - No. 18) for the first time since the beginning of the 2001-02 season when they were also ranked in both preseason polls. The last time the Trojans began a season with a higer ranking was prior to the 1978-79 season when USC was ranked No. 13 in the preseason AP poll. USC is also ranked in the preseason by CBS Sportsline.com (No. 20), Playboy (No. 18), Blue Ribbon (No. 16) and Rivals.com (No. 9).
THE 2007-08 TROJANS -- USC returns two starters from a team that set a school record with 25 wins (25-12) and advanced to the 2007 NCAA's 'Sweet 16.' The Trojans were 11-7 in conference, good for a third-place tie. USC lost its top three scorers and nearly 44 points per game in Nick Young (NBA - Washington), Gabe Pruitt (NBA - Boston) and Lodrick Stewart, but does return 2006-07 Pac-10 All-Freshman Team forward Taj Gibson and guards Dwight Lewis and Daniel Hackett, who combined to make 27 starts. In addition, USC has added a top-rated recruiting class featuring the much-heralded O.J. Mayo and five-star recruit Davon Jefferson, so they will be talented, but very young. The Trojan roster features seven freshmen, five sophomores and three juniors.
A RECORD START FOR FLOYD -- Tim Floyd posted a 42-25 record in his first two seasons as USC's head coach, the most wins by a Trojan coach in his first two seasons. Floyd has an impressive track record in the collegiate ranks along with his NBA experience. He brings 19 years of head coaching experience at the collegiate and NBA levels and owns a 285-155 record in his 14 seasons as a college head coach at Idaho (1987-88), New Orleans (1989-94), Iowa State (1995-98) and USC (2005-07). Nine of his first 14 seasons, Floyd has taken his team into the postseason (6 NCAA, 3 NIT). Floyd has helped the development of his student-athletes at each stop, as 12 players in his 14 years have made it to the NBA, including three players that did not even play high school ball.
KEEP AN EYE ON GIBSON -- USC sophomore forward Taj Gibson was one of 50 men's basketball players selected to the preseason Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy lists, the early front-runners for college basketball's coveted trophies. Gibson is USC's leading returning scorer and rebounder, averaging 12.2 points and 8.7 rebounds last season. He set two school freshman records last season with 321 rebounds and 69 blocked shots.
THE RETURNS ARE IN... -- Last season USC entered the season with the leading returning point production (83.7 percent) and rebounding (86.5 percent) among Pac-10 teams. This season, USC ranks last in the conference in returning scoring (40.2 percent) and eighth in rebounding (63.6 percent). The Trojans also return just 17.4 percent of their three-point scoring, 10th in the Pac-10. Despite being just a sophomore, Taj Gibson enters the season with the eighth-most career blocks (69) among Pac-10 players.
USC HOOPS 101 -- The Trojans have compiled a record of 1,416-1,017 in their first 101 years of intercollegiate basketball competition. The Trojans have had a .500 or better record in 72 of the first 101 seasons.
2006-07 SEASON IN REVIEW -- The Trojans were coming off a 17-13 season in 2005-06 and were anchored by veterans Nick Young (Jr.), Gabe Pruitt (Jr.) and Lodrick Stewart (Sr.) each reaching the 1,000 points scored plateau during the season. The Trojans went 10-2 in their first 12 games, with an overtime loss to South Carolina in the season and Galen Center opener and a 10-point loss at Kansas. USC defeated then No. 8 Wichita State in the Las Vegas Classic and followed that up with a double-overtime win against No. 14 Washington to begin conference play. USC made it three consecutive wins over a ranked opponent when the won in early January at Oregon, handing the Ducks their first loss of the season. USC did not lose consecutive games all season until the final two regular season games of the season at Washington and Washington State. USC advanced to the Pac-10 finals with wins over Washington State and Stanford, before falling to Oregon in the championship game. USC cruised to victories over Arkansas (77-60) and Texas (87-68) in the NCAA Tournament, before losing to North Carolina in the East Regional semi-finals, 74-64.
TROJAN TIDBITS -- USC does not have a senior on the roster...USC has a preseason Wooden Award and Naismith Award candidate (Taj Gibson) for the first time since 2001 when Sam Clancy and David Bluthenthal were Wooden Award candidates and Clancy was a Naismith candidate...Gibson is also ranked as the No. 10 center in the country by The Sporting News and the No. 7 center by Lindy's...Gibson has been named a preseason third-team All-American by Rivals. O.J. Mayo is on the Bob Cousy Award candidates watch list and is rated the No. 2 point guard by The Sporting News and the No. 7 point guard by Lindy's. He also was named a preseason first-team All-American and picked as the Player of the Year by ESPN's Andy Katz and ESPN's Doug Gottlieb listed Mayo as a first-team preseason All-American. Mayo has also been selected by Collegehoops.next as the preseason Freshman of the Year.
FACING THE BEST -- USC's 2007-08 schedule features four games against teams ranked in the top four in the country and 13 potential games against teams ranked in the ESPN/USA Today and AP preseason Top 25. USC has 10 wins over the last two seasons against Top 25 teams, tied for the fifth-most in the country with UCONN, Georgetown, Texas and Ohio State.
PAC-10 PRESEASON RANKINGS -- The Trojans were picked to finish in sixth place in the Pac-10 conference this season, according to a poll of media members who cover Pac-10 men's basketball. UCLA was picked to win the conference with 339 votes, followed by Washington State (273), Oregon (240), Arizona (238), Stanford (205), USC (184), California (140), Washington (132), Arizona State (81) and Oregon State (38). Last season, USC was a preseason No. 6 pick in the conference and finished tied for third.
INJURY UPDATES -- Sophomore guard Daniel Hackett is recovering from a fractured jaw and will see a doctor on Nov. 9 to determine if they can remove the wire from his jaw. Freshman forward Mamadou Diarra had surgery on his groin on Nov. 5 and is expected to miss approximately five weeks.
0 Kyle Austin (So.) Ht. - 6-7 Wt. - 205 Pasadena, Calif. (Pasadena HS) Averaged 1.4 points and 1.6 rebounds a game as a freshman; Had season highs of 5 points and 5 rebounds in a game Played a season-high 19 mintues vs. GWU at the 2006 Wooden Classic and was instrumental in USC's comeback win Averaged 21 points and seven rebounds in leading Pasadena High to a 25-4 record as a senior Was named Pacific League MVP as a senior and shared the honors as a junior; 2-time Star News Player of the Year Named to the Press-Enterprise Division1-A first team and was a LBPT 2006 Best in the West third-team selection
33 RouSean Cromwell (Jr.) Ht - 6-11 Wt. - 225 Memphis, Tenn. (IMG Academy, Fla) Appeard in 33 games (5 starts) and averaged 2.4 points and 2.2 rebounds; Had a season-high 13 points vs. LBSU on 11/24 Appeared in 15 games as a freshman, averaging 4.2 points and 4.5 rebounds Made quite a splash in Trojan debut with 17 points and 12 rebounds vs. CS Northridge on Nov. 20. It was the most rebounds by a USC freshman in a game since Sam Clancy had 14 on Feb. 6, 1999...since passed by teammate Taj Gibson Averaged 17 points and 11 rebounds a game in 2005 while earning all-district honors as a senior at IMG Academy Ranked the 14th-best center and 31st-best power forward in the country by RivalsHoops as a senior
43 Kasey Cunningham (R-Fr.) Ht. - 6-7 Wt. - 225 Albuquerque, N.M. (Cibola HS) Redshirted in 2006-07 while recovering from left knee surgery...spent the season working on his outside game and dribbling Averaged 22.0 points and 15.0 rebounds with six blocks per game as a senior at Cibola High Led team to a 13-1 record before suffering a season-ending left knee injury...had ACL surgery, missed the rest of the season Began season widely regarded as the top player in New Mexico; Named to the LBPT Best in the West second team
14 Mamadou Diarra (Fr.) Ht. - 7-0 Wt. - 230 Bamako, Mali. (Stoneridge Prep) Averaged 8.1 points and 6.4 rebounds his senior season at Stoneridge Prep in Simi Valley, Calif.; As a junior led them in scoring with an 11.1 average Hoopmasters.com listed him as the No. 4 rated power forward in the 2007 class; Ranked the No. 65 prospect by Rivals.com CNN/SI's rankings of 2007 recruits listed him No. 40; Also Hoopscooponline.com listed him No. 7 among 5th-year players
3 James Dunleavy (Fr.) Ht. - 6-6 Wt. - 190 Los Angeles, Calif. (Harvard-Westlake HS) Did not play last season in high school as he had exhausted his eligibility; averaged 2.5 points as a junior Made 21 of 55 three-point shots (38.2 percent) as a junior as Harvard-Westlake went 27-6 Son of L.A. Clippers' coach Mike Dunleavy and brother of Pacers' guard/forward Mike Dunleavey, Jr.
22 Taj Gibson (So.) Ht. - 6-9 Wt. - 225 Brooklyn, N.Y. (Calvary Christian HS, Calif.) USC's top returning scorer (12.2 ppg) and rebounder 8.7 (rpg); A 2006-07 Pac-10 All-Freshman Team selection Set USC freshman records in rebounds (321) and blocks (69); Had 11 double-doubles, one of five freshmen in the country with that many, joing among others Greg Oden and Kevin Durant, the top two selections in the 2007 NBA Draft Had at least eight rebounds in 27 of 37 games and scored at least eight points in 34 of 37 games Made the Pac-10 Conference All-Tournament team, as he scored 36 points and had 29 rebounds in the three games Scored 51 points and grabbed 34 rebounds in the three NCAA Tournament games, with two double-doubles
30 Terence Green (Jr.) Ht. - 5-11 Wt. - 180 Aliso Viejo, Calif. (Irvine Valley College) Played in three games last season, his first active season for USC, but did not score Transfered to USC for the spring semester of 2006 and practiced as a walk-on, but was ineligible for competition Played high school ball at Aliso Niguel High; Helped lead the team to a 28-4 record his senior year Was second-team all-CIF, All-Sea View League (3 years) and third-team All-Orange County
13 Daniel Hackett (So.) Ht. - 6-5 Wt. - 205 Pesaro, Italy (St. John Bosco HS) Started 16 games as a freshman and averaged 5.3 points and 2.9 rebounds...second on the team with 103 assists Scored a season-high 20 points vs. Texas in the NCAA Tournament win on 3/18 Originally a 2007 recruit, he graduated early by finishing high school in the summer of `06 and enrolled at USC for 2006-07 Averaged just over 20 points a game at St. John Bosco; Ranked the 6th-best 2007 prospect in California by Rivals.com Was on the Division 2A All-CIF team in 2004 and 2005; Named a first-team selection to the 2005-06 LBPT Dream Team
5 Davon Jefferson (Fr.) Ht. - 6-8 Wt. - 215 Lynwood, Calif. (Lynwood HS) Averaged 20.0 points & 12.0 rebounds at The Patterson School (N.C.) in 2006; Sat out 2nd half of season to focus on academics In 2005 at Lynwood HS, averaged 26.0 points, 12.9 rebounds and 5.0 assists Was rated by Rivals.com as a 5-star recruit, the 15th prospect in the entire 2006 class and the No. 2 player from California
1 Angelo Johnson (Fr.) Ht. - 5-11 Wt. - 180 Minneapolis, Minn. (Stoneridge Prep, Calif.) Led Stoneridge Prep (Calif.) in scoring as a senior with a 13.7 average...also dished out 4.1 assists per game As a junior, prepped at Marietta Convent Christian (Ga.) and averaged 19.2 points and 6.3 assists per game Ranked the No. 9 prospect among fifth-year players by Hoopscooponline.com and the No. 114 recruit for 2007 by Rivals Began his high school career at Patrick Henry HS in Minneapolis, Minn.
21 Dwight Lewis (So.) Ht. - 6-5 Wt. - 215 Metairie, La. (James Taylor HS, Tex.) Is USC's second-leading returning scorer, averaging 5.8 points and 2.1 rebounds as a freshman; Top-returning 3-point shooter with 20 made in 2006-07; Scored a season-high 14 points on Feb. 24 vs. California Played his senior season at James Taylor High in Katy, Tex. after being uprooted from Louisiana by hurricane Katrina Scored 21 points per game as a senior in helping lead his team to a 17-10 record; Named first team All-Region As a junior at Archbishop Rummel High in Metairie, La., he averaged 27.5 points, 9.7 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game Was a fourth-team selection to the 2004-05 Parade All-American team
32 O.J. Mayo (Fr.) Ht. - 6-5 Wt. - 200 Huntington, W.V.. (Huntington HS) Was the 2006-07 EA Sports National High School Boys Basketball Player of the Year; Was also selected a McDonald's All-American, Parade All-American and USA Today All-USA team selection Named the West Virginia High School Boy's Player of the Year as he led Huntington to a 25-2 record and its first state title Averaged 28.2 points, 7.2 assists and 6.1 rebounds as a senior; Had 41 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists in title game Attended North College Hill his freshman-junior seasons, leading the Trojans to their first two state titles; Mayo left the school as its all-time leading scorer; His high school teams were a combined 99-5 with three state titles (2 OH, 1 WV) Was Ohio's 'Mr. Basketball' as a sophomore & junior, joining LeBron James as the only sophomores to receive the honor Scored 56 points vs. Lockland HS (OH) on Dec. 17, 2004; Averaged 20+ points playing varsity ball in KY in 7th & 8th grade
20 Marcus Simmons (Fr.) Ht. - 6-6 Wt. - 200 Alexandria, La. (Peabody HS) Averaged 18.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.0 steals as a senior at Peabody HS in Alexandria, La. Helped lead Peabody to a 37-4 record and the 2006-07 Louisiana state championship; Named to the All-State team Ranked as the No. 47 small forward in 2007 by Rivals.com Slowed in the preseason with a high left ankle sprain
2 Ryan Wetherell (So.) Ht. - 5-11 Wt. - 175 Calgary, Canada (Sir Winston Churchill HS) Played in 15 games and logged a total of 49 minutes as a freshman; Had a season-best three points vs. B-CC on 12/14/06 Scored in five of the first eight games he appeared; Had two points and two assists at Oregon State on 1/6/07 Played three years of varsity at Sir Winston Churchill High; Was starting point guard and team MVP as a senior Averged 30 points and eight assists as a senior; Helped lead his Junior Trojans club team to the provincial championship three straight years, earning MVP honors each season (2004-06)
23 Keith Wilkinson (Jr.) Ht. - 6-10 Wt. - 225 Mission Viejo, Calif. (Capistrano Valley HS) Played in 33 games (5 starts), averaging 1.5 points & 1.9 rebounds last year as a sophomore; Played in all 3 NCAA games Scored a career-high nine points and dished out a career-best three assists on 3/1/07 at Washington Appeared in 19 games as a freshman, averaging 1.1 points and 1.4 rebounds Averaged 16 points and eight rebounds a game for Capistrano Valley HS (Calif.) during his senior season Led his team in rebounding (230) and three-point baskets (55)...was second on the team in points (471) and blocks (37) Scored 20 points per game in leading Capistrano Valley to the CIF Div. IIAA semi-finals, where they lost 57-54 to eventual champion Dominguez His father, Jerry, played four years in the NFL for the Rams and Browns