USC Set For Road Challenges At ASU, No. 1 Arizona
Feb. 11, 2003
The USC men's basketball team, which has posted back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances and 20-win seasons during the last two years for only the second time in its history, continues its desert trek as it transitions from Vegas to Arizona. Troy plays at Arizona State (15-7, 7-4) on Thursday (Feb. 13) at 6:30 p.m. (MST) and at Arizona (18-2, 10-1) on Saturday (Feb. 15) at 11 a.m. (MST). Under seventh-year Coach Henry Bibby, the Trojans return two seniors, four upperclassmen and nine lettermen from last season's squad that finished 22-10 overall, tied for second in the Pac-10 at 12-6, reached the final of the Pac-10 Tournament and received a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
USC (10-9, 5-5) at Arizona State (15-7, 7-4) on Thursday (Feb. 13) at 6:30 p.m. MST. The game will be televised by FOX Sports Net and will also be broadcast live on KMPC-AM 1540, KPLS-AM 830 in Orange and XEMM-AM 800 in San Diego. Arizona State, under fifth-year coach Rob Evans, is led by freshman center Ike Diogu, who leads the team in scoring (18.1) and rebounds (7.2). Senior guard Curtis Millage is averaging 13.8 points while senior forward Tommy Smith is averaging 2.4 blocks per game.
USC leads, 39-26, and has won 12 of the last 15 games, including nine of 10 and five in a row. The Trojans have won five of the past seven meetings in Tempe, including last year's 81-73 win at Wells Fargo Arena. Henry Bibby is 10-2 against the Sun Devils. USC last lost to Arizona State in the 2000 season in Tempe, 93-81.
Errick Craven scored 22 points and Desmon Farmer had 16, but it was Gregg Guenther's two free throws with 3.9 seconds remaining that proved to be the difference in USC's 76-74 win earlier this year at the Sports Arena. Guenther, playing in only his second game of the year, grabbed an offensive rebound and got fouled with 3.9 seconds remaining and sank both foul shots. USC led 72-66 with 3:03 left. But Curtis Millage sank back-to-back three-pointers on consecutive possessions to tie the game at 72-72 with 1:49 to go. With less than a minute to go, Guenther grabbed a rebound off of a Sun Devil miss and found Farmer down the court. But Farmer missed his shot, setting up Guenther for his rebound and foul shots.
Arizona State head coach Rob Evans is in his fifth season with the Sun Devils and 11th overall as a head coach. He was 60-60 after four years, the Sun Devils, 28-44 in the Pac-10 and 1-7 against USC. In 2000, he led Arizona State to a 19-13 mark and a second-round appearance in the NIT. Before joining Arizona State, Evans spent six seasons as the head coach at Mississippi, where he was the 1997 SEC Coach of the Year. He compiled an 86-51 (.515) record at Ole Miss and went 42-16 in his final two seasons, winning two SEC West titles.
Probable Starters Ht. Yr. pts. reb. F 4 Tommy Smith 6-10 Sr. 9.9 6.3F 21 Donnell Knight 6-7 Sr. 6.5 5.0C 5 Ike Diogu 6-8 Fr. 18.1 7.2G 1 Jason Braxton 6-2 So. 4.7 2.8G 14 Curtis Millage 6-2 Sr. 13.8 3.1
USC at No. 1 Arizona (18-2, 10-1) on Saturday (Feb. 15) at 11 a.m. MST. The game will be televised by CBS and will also be broadcast live on KMPC-AM 1540, KPLS-AM 830 in Orange and XEMM-AM 800 in San Diego. Arizona, under 29th-year coach Lute Olson, features five players scoring in double figures, led by senior guard Jason Gardner (14.9) and sophomore guard Salim Stoudamire (13.1). Sophomore center Channing Frye is third on the team in scoring (10.6) and is averaging a team-high 7.3 rebounds. The Wildcats have won three in a row since suffering their lone Pac-10 loss against Stanford on Jan. 30.
USC trails, 47-32. The Trojans haven't defeated Arizona in Tucson since 1985, when USC won, 64-63, and have lost 17 straight games there. In that stretch, the average score has been 90.1 to 69.6, with USC scoring more than 80 points only three times and Arizona scoring less than 87 points only three times. The Trojans, however, have defeated Arizona four times at home in the last seven years, though they lost earlier this year, 81-72.
USC gave No. 2 Arizona all it could handle, but ran out of gas in the game's final minutes and fell, 81-72, earlier this year. Desmon Farmer scored 23 points and Errick Craven had 21. USC led by as many as 11 points in the first half and were up 66-59 with 11:27 to play when the well went dry. The Wildcats, behind Hassan Adams' 21 points, ran off a 13-0 run to lead 72-66 with 7:38 to play. A Farmer three-pointer cut the lead in half shortly after, but the Trojans made only one more shot the rest of the game. That bucket came from Craven, whose layup brought Troy to within 74-72 with 2:45 to go. After Arizona made a free throw, USC had the ball with a chance to tie, but couldn't convert.
Arizona's Lute Olson is in his 29th year in Tucson. He has coached more than 850 collegiate games in his 30-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), nine 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 six times. Arizona has gone to 18 consecutive NCAA Tournament's under Olson.
Probable Starters Ht. Yr. pts. reb. F 4 Luke Walton 6-8 Sr. 9.1 4.8F 33 Rick Anderson 6-9 Sr. 10.1 5.8C 45 Channing Frye 6-10 So. 10.6 7.3G 20 Salim Stoudamire 6-1 So. 13.0 1.6G 22 Jason Gardner 5-10 Sr. 14.9 *5.2*assists
Five Trojans scored in double figures, but it was USC's tenacious defense that was the game's star in Troy's 98-73 win at UNLV on Sunday (Feb. 9). USC forced 34 turnovers, creating numerous easy scoring opportunities, and was credited with 15 steals, its most since last season. Desmon Farmer had a game-high 22 points while Derrick Craven poured in a career-high 17 points, including 3-of-4 from three-point range. Jerry Dupree tied his career-high of 13 points and Errick Craven scored 15 points and had six steals. The Rebels made an impressive 62.8% of its field goal attempts, but took only 43 shots, by far a USC opponent season low. For the first four minutes of the game, the Rebels were rolling, ahead 15-6. But the Trojans turned up the pressure and tied the game at 22-22 with 9:45 left in the half. The Rebels briefly regained the lead at 26-25 less than a minute later but the Trojans outscored UNLV 19-7 to close the half and led 45-33 at the break. USC forced six turnovers in the first five minutes of the second half as it built a 61-40 lead. UNLV got to within 15 points at 75-60 with 7:35 left to play, but USC scored on five consecutive layups or dunks to go ahead 85-60 with 5:38 left, sending the home crowd to the exits.
VS. UNLV NOTES
UNLV's 34 turnovers was three off of USC's opponent record of 37 set by Washington State in 1975. It's the most since Washington had 34 turnovers in a 94-84 Husky win on March 8, 1997 ... With six steals, Errick Craven has had at least five steals four times this year. He moved into eighth on USC's career steals chart with 112 ... Farmer's 22 points was his seventh 20-point effort this year ... Derrick Craven outscored his brother for the second time this year. His three three-pointers tripled his career total ... Farmer's 21 field goal attempts were a career high ... UNLV's 43 field goal attempts were the fewest against USC since Washington attempted 40 in a win at USC on Feb. 12, 1994 ... USC had five players score in double figures for the third consecutive game.
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 on Wednesday (Feb. 5). With the win, Troy completed its first season sweep of UCLA since 1992. The Trojans overcame a three-point deficit in the last minute to secure the sweep. Trailing 85-82 with 58 seconds to play, Derrick Craven sank an off-balance layup to bring the Trojans to within a point with 46 ticks to go. UCLA worked the clock down on its next possession, but T.J. Cummings' jumper was off and Rory O'Neil took down the rebound and passed to Errick Craven. Errick Craven drove straight to the basket and was fouled by Ryan Walcott, setting up Craven's game-tying and game-winning foul shots. On the Bruins' final possession, Jon Crispin got off a long three, but it was errant, setting off a USC celebration at midcourt. Earlier in the second half, USC looked like it might pull away from the Bruins, building a 10-point lead (66-56) on Roydell Smiley's jumper with 8:23 to play. USC still led 71-64 with 5:50 to go when Walcott and Jason Kapono hit back-to-back treys, making it a one-point game with 5:06 left. In a less-than-stellar first half, neither team led by more than five points with UCLA holding a 36-34 edge at the half.
INJURY INFO CENTER
Sophomore point guard Brandon Brooks suffered a dislocated left ankle and a fractured fibula in practice on Tuesday (Jan. 14). He had surgery on 16 and will be out for about nine months. Brooks suffered the injury in a collision during a scrimmage while going for a rebound. Others who have bumps an' bruises but are playing through the pain despite not being 100% include: senior guard Robert Hutchinson (sprained ankle), junior guard Roydell Smiley (sprained knee), junior forward Jerry Dupree (sore foot) and sophomore forward Nick Curtis (sore feet).
USC has forced at least 10 turnovers in 45 consecutive games. USC has forced at least 34 turnovers one game in a row.
He's USC's most emotional and demonstrative player and intentionally wears his headband with the Nike swoosh upsidedown. Junior guard Desmon Farmer, along with sophomore guard Errick Craven, accepted the role as go-to players before the year, taking over the role held by the likes of Sam Clancy, David Bluthenthal, Brandon Granville and Brian Scalabrine during the past two years. And as the 2003 season passes its midpoint, Farmer (as well as Craven) has settled into the role nicely. He's been USC's leading scorer all year, and as the competition heated up in Pac-10 play, so has Farmer's game. He's averaging a team-best 17.6 points overall, but has upped it to 20.6 in Pac-10 games. In fact, if Farmer maintains his Pac-10 scoring numbers, he'd be only USC's second player to average at least 20 points a game in the Pac-10 since 1992. His numbers are better in conference games across the board and five of his seven 20-point games have come in league play. His 41.4% from three-point range leads the team in conference games and he's been USC's top free throw shooter all year. He's shooting 84.4% overall and 86.7% in the Pac-10. Looking ahead, Farmer still has a chance this season to become the 27th Trojan ever to score 1,000 points. He's 166 points short with eight games left on the schedule, not including the Pac-10 Tournament and possible postseason play.
A year ago, USC's lightning quick sophomore guard Errick Craven earned 2002 All-Pac-10 Freshman honors while playing in the shadows of seniors Sam Clancy, David Bluthenthal and Brandon Granville. A year later, he's a much bigger focus of the opposition's defense. After a slow start adjusting to the new attention and his role as more of a leader on the team (along with junior guard Desmon Farmer), Craven is starting to put up similar numbers to last year. He's second on the team in scoring (14.7) and rebounding (5.7). In Pac-10 games, he leads the league in steals (3.00) while his scoring average (17.3) is sixth in the conference and his rebounds (7.3) are eighth. At 6-foot-2, he's by far the shortest among the Top 10 in rebounding.
SOMETHING TO KEEP YOUR EYE ON
Henry Bibby needs two more wins to tie George Raveling for fifth place on USC's all-time coaching victory list with 115.
Sophomore center Rory O'Neil and sophomore forward Nick Curtis have 27 and 19 blocks, respectively, this year. It's good enough to include them in USC's all-time Top 10 chart for blocks in a season by a sophomore. Those numbers are also good enough to put both O'Neil (1.50, third) and Curtis (1.1, eighth) in the Top 10 in the Pac-10.
In USC's five Pac-10 losses, the Trojans have held second-half leads in four of them and were tied late in the fifth. A young team without a senior figuring prominently on the scoreboard, Henry Bibby's bunch is gaining a lot of experience in close games, but has struggled at times to close the deal. At Washington, USC built a 21-point lead only to lose all of it and fall in the game's final seconds. Against then-No. 2 Arizona, USC held an eight-point lead with 12 minutes left and trailed by only two with 2:45 left, but still lost. At Cal, USC led 64-63 with less than five minutes left and trailed by one possession for most of the time thereafter, but couldn't close the gap. At Stanford, the Trojans came back from a 10-point second-half deficit to tie the game with less than five minutes left, but saw their offense go dry from there. Against Oregon State, USC led by nine in the first half and by five early in the second, but couldn't sustain its offense. On the flipside, USC withstood late rallies against Arizona State and in both UCLA games for three solid wins, showing growth Bibby hope continues.
Coach Henry Bibby had started the same lineup of Errick and Derrick Craven, Desmon Farmer, Nick Curtis and Rory O'Neil in the first seven Pac-10 game before changing things up against Oregon State and Oregon. He replaced Derrick Craven with Robert Hutchinson and subbed Jerry Dupree for Curtis against Oregon State. Derrick Craven returned to the point against Oregon, but Gregg Guenther got his first start of the season against the Ducks. It was a winning combination that Bibby also used against UCLA and UNLV.
TIME IN A BOTTLE
No Trojan is averaging more than 31.6 minutes a game, but six are averaging at least 19.9.
BEEN CAUGHT STEALING
USC set a school record last year for steals with 287, averaging 9.0 a game. The quick-draw Trojans are continuing the trend this year, averaging 8.9 a game, compared to their opponents' average of 6.5.
For the first time since the 1940-41 academic year, USC has swept UCLA in football and men's basketball.
NICK'S FIRST NOTE
Playing behind Sam Clancy, the Pac-10 Player of the Year last year, power forward Nick Curtis played in only 22 games as a freshman and saw only 113 minutes of court time. Now that Clancy has moved on to the NBA, Curtis is getting a shot and is making the most of it. Averaging 8.5 points and a team-best 7.0 rebounds per game, he's already surpassed his freshman season totals in points, rebounds and minutes. Unfortunately, nagging foot injuries have limited Curtis' play in recent weeks to the point he only played three minutes against UCLA on Feb. 5 and did not play at all at UNLV.
Identical twins Errick and Derrick Craven, as athletic a duo as any in the nation, have started together 12 times this year, Errick as the two-guard and Derrick at he point. While Errick is clearly more of a scorer, Derrick has improved his play at the one-guard. He's making better decisions and has improved his scoring touch (he posted career highs of 17 points and three treys at UNLV). As a pair, their top three combined high-point games have come against UCLA twice and at UNLV. They had a combined 34 points (24 for Errick) against the Bruins in the first game, 32 (17 for Derrick) at UNLV and they had 30 (19 for Errick) against UCLA in the rematch. They've also combined for double digits in rebounds seven times.
A reserve point guard in his first two years at USC, senior Robert Hutchinson was off to a fast start this year before being hindered by a sprained ankle. The injury, suffered at UC Santa Barbara, forced him to miss the Missouri game. He came back against Cal State Fullerton and tied his career-high with 17 points. Hutchinson re-injured the ankle against La Salle and played only one minute. Through his six games, Hutchinson was averaging 8.2 points per game and shooting a team-best 55.0% from three-point range (11-of-20). The 16 three-pointers are two more than his combined totals as a sophomore (six) and a junior (six).
Desmon Farmer (16) leads USC in double-digit scoring efforts. Errick Craven has done it 13 times, Rory O'Neil and Roydell Smiley have done it 11 times and Nick Curtis has done it seven times. Four different Trojans have scored at least 20 points in a game this season: Farmer (35, 23, 25, 23, 23, 28 and 22), Errick Craven (22, 24, 21, 22 and 20), Rory O'Neil (22) and Curtis (21).
If USC's finishes above .500 this year, it will give the Trojans their first streak of five consecutive winning seasons since they did it nine times in a row between 1967 and 1974.
The Trojans have donned gold 'throwback' uniforms three times this year and are 2-1 in them. USC lost when it first wore them against Arizona, but came back with wins in them against UCLA and at UNLV. The 'third jersey' features the word 'Southern' above the numeral and 'California' below it in capital block lettering reminiscent of USC's late 1960s and early 1970s uniforms. It's the first time USC has worn gold since the mid 1990s.
NON-CONFERENCE HOME WIN STREAK
USC's streak of 24 consecutive non-conference wins at home was snapped with the loss to Penn at the Forum. However, USC has still won 23 consecutive non-conference home games at the Sports Arena. The Trojans' last home non-conference loss at the Sports Arena was to Tennessee in the 1998 season.
FOOTBALL OVER, GREGG GUENTHER JR. RETURNS TO HOOPS
Gregg Guenther Jr., a tight end for the USC football team, has joined the Trojans' basketball team for the second straight year. Guenther, a 6-foot-8, 245-pound sophomore, played in nine games last year, starting three times in his first year with the basketball team. This year with the football team, Guenther had seven catches and one touchdown in 11 games.
CAN'T DELETE JUST YET NOTES
USC's overtime loss at Rhode Island was only USC's sixth-ever non-conference defeat in overtime (19-6). USC is now 49-43 overall in overtime, 41-39 in single OTs and 25-20 on the road in overtime ... USC's 25 turnovers were eight more than it had in any game last season ... USC, against Missouri, didn't have a player play at least 30 minutes for the first time since USC fell at No. 13 Arizona, 88-73, in Tucson, on March 4, 1999.
Oregon has moved its home game against USC on Feb. 27 from 7 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. to accommodate an Oregon Sports Network broadcast.
Sophomore shooting guard Errick Craven, a 2002 All-Pac-10 Freshman selection, is USC's leading returning scorer (11.8) and rebounder (4.4) and joins senior center Kostas Charissis as USC's returning starters. Charissis, who saw limited action last year but was a regular starter when he was healthy, has 32 career starts. Senior point guard Robert Hutchinson, the Trojans' captain as a junior, is back for his third year at Troy. Junior shooting guard Desmon Farmer was USC's top player off the bench as a sophomore and blossomed in the final five games of the season, averaging 17.6 points per outing. Athletic junior small forward Jerry Dupree is trying to build on his strong finish last year, which featured a 10.3 scoring average in the Pac-10 Tournament, though he will sit out USC's first six games to focus on priorities off the court. Sophomore center Rory O'Neil, who showed a soft touch from the field as a freshman and ability in the paint, has returned with about 25 pounds of added bulk and muscle. Sophomore point guard Derrick Craven saw his role increase toward season's end last year and it has continued to increase this year. The story is the same for sophomore power forward Nick Curtis, who showed promise as a rebounder in his limited action in 2002 and has begun to blossom this year. Add sophomore forward Gregg Guenther Jr., a tight end on the football team who joined the squad after football season to add some strength in the key.
THE NEW FACES
USC welcomed four first-year players into the program in 2003, three junior college transfers and one Division I transfer who will sit out the year. Sophomore Brandon Brooks challenged for the starting job at point guard after transferring from Compton College, where he concentrated on academics last year. A year earlier, he was among the top JUCO point guards in the country at Indian Hills College. Brooks, however, suffered a season-ending leg injury on Jan. 14. Junior center Jonathan Oliver rewrote the record books at Ventura College last year where he set season and career blocked shot records with 173 in 2002, also tops in the state. Junior guard Roydell Smiley rounds out the trio. A sharpshooter who can also play the point and even some small forward, Smiley has become a valuable contributor after two years at Southeastern Iowa College, where he earned a pair of NJCAA Region XI first team honors. Jeff McMillan, who was among the top rebounders in the Atlantic 10 Conference during the past two seasons, transferred to USC from Fordham and will be eligible to play in 2003-2004.
THE TROJANS VS. RANKED TEAMS
USC is 1-3 against ranked teams this year, falling to No. 15 Missouri at the Wooden Classic, to No. 2 Arizona at home and at No. 25 California but beating No. 19 Oergon at home. The Trojans were 9-10 against ranked teams in the past two years (including NCAA Tournament play) and 11-15 in the last three years. USC was 6-4 against ranked teams in 2002, defeating No. 11 UCLA on Jan. 10, losing at No. 15 Arizona on Jan. 17, defeating No. 14 Stanford on Jan. 26, losing at No. 15 UCLA, defeating No. 9 Arizona on Feb. 16, beating No. 10 Stanford on Feb. 21, losing to No. 13 Oregon on Feb. 28, beating No. 16 Stanford on March 7, downing No. 9 Oregon on March 8 and falling to No. 14 Arizona on March 9. The Trojans were 3-6 against ranked teams in 2001. They beat No. 18 Utah in the Wooden Classic and lost to No 24 Mississippi in the second round of the Yahoo! Sports Invitational, at then-No. 17 Arizona, at No. 1 Stanford, vs. No. 8 Arizona and vs. No. 1 Stanford. In the NCAA Tournament, USC beat No. 7 Boston College and No. 9 Kentucky before losing to No. 1 Duke. USC's victory over Utah was its first win over a ranked non-conference team since beating No. 18 Missouri on Dec. 28, 1995. USC was 2-5 against ranked teams in 2000 with wins over No. 2 Arizona and No. 25 UCLA and losses to No. 5 North Carolina, No. 15 Duke, No. 2 Stanford, No. 4 Arizona and No. 1 Stanford. USC's wins over Arizona and UCLA gave the Trojans back-to-back wins over ranked teams for the first time since the 1993-94 season. That year, USC downed No. 18 California, 86-78, and No. 15 UCLA, 85-79. The last time USC defeated ranked teams more than twice in a row was in 1991-92, when the Trojans did it four straight times. They beat No. 24 Stanford, 82-72, No. 2 UCLA, 86-82, No. 4 UCLA, 83-79, and No. 2 Arizona, 70-69. Counting wins over No. 5 Arizona and No. 12 UCLA at the end of the 1990-91 season, the Trojans defeated six straight ranked teams.
BRIEF HISTORY OF 2002-2003
On the heels of one of their greatest seasons in school history, the 2002 edition of Henry Bibby's Trojans put together another memorable year, albeit one that ended much more abruptly than hoped for. USC finished 22-10 after a 24-10 mark in 2001, posting back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time in more than 60 years. The Trojans also reached the finals of the Pac-10 Tournament for the first time ever. Troy earned a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament's South Regional, but fell victim to an upstart UNC-Wilmington team, which upset the Trojans in overtime in the first round. The squad featured three of the school's all-time top 12 scorers in Sam Clancy (third), Brandon Granville (eighth) and David Bluthenthal (12th). Granville finished as USC's career leader in games, minutes, three-pointers, assists and steals while All-American Clancy, the 2002 Pac-10 Player of the Year, left with the mark in blocks. Despite returning the above three starters and other experience off the bench, Bibby's team was a work in progress early as it slugged out wins during the non-conference schedule, incorporating a host of newcomers into the veteran mix. USC finished the non-league slate 8-2, falling only at Fresno State in the Preseason NIT and against Pepperdine. The loss to the Waves set up an unfortunate theme for the Trojans last year. USC led by two with seconds left when Pepperdine guard Craig Lewis banked in a three-pointer at the buzzer. It was the first of four losses for USC that ended with opponent game-winning shots either at the buzzer or with a second or two remaining. After the Pepperdine loss, however, USC ran off nine straight wins. That streak included a memorable game at Loyola Marymount where USC turned a 15-point second-half deficit into a 14-point win. The streak ended at Arizona where the Trojans suffered one of only two big losses on the year, the other coming at Cal. In fact, the Bears were the only Pac-10 team USC didn't beat on the year. USC's last-second losses (against Pepperdine, California, at UCLA and Oregon) were offset by some fantastic performances, including a regular-season sweep of Stanford for the first time in 10 years and home wins over UCLA and Arizona. The Trojans' 12-6 Pac-10 mark and the tie for second place were both bests since 1997 and good enough to earn a No. 4 seed in the Pac-10 Tournament at Staples Center in Los Angeles. USC beat Stanford for the third time on the season in the quarterfinals and got revenge for two regular-season losses to Oregon with a gutsy win over the Ducks before falling to Arizona in the title game.
NO, THEY CAN'T GET A FIFTH YEAR; WE ALREADY CHECKED
While they won't be missed in Westwood, Eugene, Tucson, Palo Alto or any other Pac-10 town, USC's graduating senior trio of Sam Clancy, David Bluthenthal and Brandon Granville leave the current crop of Trojans with some major voids to fill. In their careers, the threesome combined for 310 starts, 4,400 points, 1,889 rebounds, 1,037 assists, 479 steals and 10,835 minutes. Last year, Clancy, Bluthenthal and Granville combined for 56.4% of USC's offense, 49.7% of its rebounds and took 54.1% of its field goal attempts. Clancy, taken in the second round of the 2002 NBA Draft by Philadelphia, is now playing for 76ers. Bluthenthal was not drafted and signed to play in the pro league in Israel for Maccabi Tel-Aviv. Granville is not currently playing basketball.
USC PICKED TO FINISH SIXTH IN PAC-10 IN MEDIA POLL
As it says above, USC was picked to finish sixth in the 2002-2003 Pac-10 title race according to a poll of 27 media members who cover Pac-10 men's basketball. Arizona was a unanimous choice to win the title, securing all 27 first-place votes for 270 points. Oregon was second (237), followed by UCLA (195) in third, Arizona State in fourth (160), California in fifth (154), USC in sixth (152), Stanford in seventh (136), Washington in eighth (81), Oregon State in ninth (71) and Washington State in 10th (29).
USC is coming off of one of its best defensive seasons in its history. The Trojans led the Pac-10 in steals (8.97), setting a school season record for total steals (287) as well. The Trojans allowed the third lowest points per game in the conference (69.8), and its three-point field goal percentage defense and overall field goal percentage defense was second and third in the Pac-10, respectively ... Errick Craven returns as the Pac-10's 11th leading scorer in Pac-10 games and will look to defend his Pac-10 categorical title for steals, overall and in Pac-10 games. His 51 steals during conference play last year were 18 more than the next closest player in the league, both of whom were Trojans (Sam Clancy and Brandon Granville) ... With Clancy, Granville and David Bluthenthal gone, the record-keeping gets easier. But there's still a little bookkeeping to do. Desmon Farmer entered his junior year 16th on USC's career three-point chart. With increased minutes and a hot hand, he could have an outside shot at the Top 10. It won't take long too long for Craven to break into the Top 10 in steals. In fact, if he were to match his 68 from last season, he'd break into the Top 5.
For the first time in three years, USC did not open the season either the ESPN/USA Today Coaches or Associated Press Preseason Top 25 polls. The Trojans, however, did receive nine votes in the coaches poll and 20 in AP.
GAMES AGAINST RANKED OPPONENTS
USC will face four teams ranked in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Preseason Top 25 poll and five others that received votes. Pac-10 rival Arizona was No. 1 while Oregon was No. 9 and UCLA No. 12. The Trojans will also play No. 18 Missouri in the Wooden Classic. Schools that received that USC will face include UNLV (13), California (11), Pennsylvania (3), UC Santa Barbara (3) and Stanford (2). In addition, Pac-10 foe Arizona State also received votes in the AP poll.
BIBBY CLIMBING USC COACHING VICTORY LIST
USC seventh-year coach Henry Bibby won his 100th game as Troy's head coach last year at Stanford. Bibby is currently 113-86, fifth at USC in career coaching victories. If USC wins at least 13 games this year, Bibby will pass George Raveling, who is currently fourth with 115 wins. Sam Barry (1930-41, 1946-50) is USC's all-time winningest basketball coach (260), followed by Forrest Twogood (1951-66, 252) and Bob Boyd (1967-79, 216). (Bibby's Trojans went 0-9 after becoming interim head coach at the end of the 1996 for a fired Charlie Parker. One of those losses was later turned into a win after Cal was forced to forfeit its win. Those nine games, however, are not included in his head coaching record at USC).
USC AT THE SPORTS ARENA
Dating back to 1996-97, the Trojans are 63-23 (.733) in their last 85 games at the Sports Arena and USC is 121-47 (.720) 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.
HALL OF HONOR
Each Pac-10 school has selected an inductee to the Pac-10 Tournament's Hall of Honor. These individuals will be honored at a dinner in Los Angeles on March 12, 2003. USC's inductee is Tex Winter, innovator of the 'triangle offense,' was also one of the top pole vaulters while at USC. Other Pac-10 representatives are Arizona's Steve Kerr, Arizona State's Ned Wulk, California's Kevin Johnson, Oregon's Howard Hobson, Oregon State's Amory Gill, Stanford's Todd Lichti, UCLA's Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Washington's Marv Harshman, Washington State's Jack Friel.
USC SIGNS STANDOUT TWINS FOR 2004
Standout prep seniors Rodrick and Lodrick Stewart, identical twin guards from Seattle, Wash., signed letters of intent with USC in November. Rodrick, 6-foot-5, 200 pounds, and Lodrick, 6-foot-5, 210 pounds, led Rainier Beach High to a 28-1 record and the 3-A state title as juniors in 2002, each earning All-State 3-A Tournament first team and All-State second team honors. Rodrick, a 2003 McDonald's Preseason All-American and ranked as the top senior in Washington by CollegeBasketballNews.com, averaged 19.4 points and 6.0 assists as a junior last year. PrepWestHoops.com ranks him as the No. 4 prep player in the country. He is ranked as the No. 10 prep guard in the country by ESPN.com, No. 21 overall by HoopScoop and No. 39 by both ESPN.com and Lindy's College Basketball. As a sophomore, he earned All-State 3-A Tournament first team honors. Lodrick, a 2003 McDonald's Preseason All-American alternate, averaged 17.8 points and 9.0 rebounds as a junior last year. He is ranked No. 10 by PrepWestHoops.com, the No. 15 shooting guard by Athlon's College Basketball, No. 44 overall by Lindy's, No. 61 by HoopScoop and No. 84 by ESPN.com. As a sophomore, he earned Student Sports Underclass All-American honors. The Stewarts will be the second pair of identical twin guards to play at USC next season. The Trojans currently feature sophomores Errick and Derrick Craven, 6-foot-2 guards from Carson, Calif.
Henry Bibby, a coach with 20 years of college and professional experience and the only person to ever play for an NCAA, NBA and CBA championship team, is in his seventh full season in 2002-2003 as the head coach of the USC men's basketball program. In the last two years, he has guided the Trojans to only their second back-to-back 20-win seasons ever and only their third back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances. In 2001, he piloted the Trojans to their first-ever NCAA Tournament Elite Eight appearance under the tournament's current format, finishing 24-10. In 2002, he led USC to a 22-10 record that included a 12-6 finish in the Pac-10 (tied for second), a finals appearance in the Pac-10 Tournament and a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The back-to-back 20-win seasons were USC's first since 1939-40. USC enjoyed its fifth winning season and fourth postseason berth (three NCAA, one NIT) under his watch. Bibby was named 2002 NABC District 15 Co-Coach of the Year. With the Trojans on the rise, Bibby was rewarded with a three-year contract extension on Aug. 4, 2000, which will take him through the 2004-2005 season. In 2001, Bibby led USC to perhaps its greatest season ever. In their second NCAA Tournament appearance under Bibby, the No. 6-seeded Trojans reached the East Regional Final before losing to Duke. USC's three NCAA Tournament wins (against No. 11 seed Oklahoma State, No. 2 seed Boston College and No. 3 seed Kentucky) were its most ever in one tourney and the Trojans' final record of 24-10 matched the most wins ever in one season at USC. The Trojans finished 11-7 in the Pac-10 (tied for fourth place). The Trojans' landmark team that Bibby guided featured a trio of NBA draft picks in forward/center Brian Scalabrine, guard Jeff Trepagnier and forward Sam Clancy. Rodrick Rhodes, who played under Bibby in 1997, was also an NBA draft choice. In his six years as head coach, Bibby has been instrumental in player development and has guided seven players to a combined 12 All-Pac-10 honors and five players to All-Pac-10 Freshman honors. Under Bibby, Sam Clancy became a Pac-10 Player of the Year, two Trojans (Rhodes and Scalabrine) have earned the Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year award and another (Elias Ayuso) earned Pac-10 All-Newcomer first team notice. Seven of USC's top 20 scorers of all time have played under Bibby.
Sophomore * Guard * 6-Foot-1 * 170 Pounds
* Brandon Brooks is in his first year with the Trojans in 2003 after a year off from basketball spent at Compton (Calif.) College, concentrating on academics. A talented playmaker and a tenacious defender, he will challenge for the starting job at point guard.
* Suffered a dislocated left ankle and a fractured fibula in practice on Jan. 14. He had surgery to repair the damage and is likely out for about nine months. He suffered the injury in a collision during a scrimmage while going for a rebound.
* Was averaging 4.5 points and 3.5 assists in 15.0 minutes per game off the bench at the time of his injury.
* Scored a season-high nine points at Washington State to go with five assists off the bench in 24 minutes ... Had a game-high six assists in USC's season-opener in 12 minutes.
* Had seven points and six assists in 23 minutes against La Salle ... Scored seven points off the bench against Missouri, making 5-of-6 foul shots.
* Brooks was named the top-rated JUCO sophomore point guard by Lindy's Basketball and a Street & Smith's Preseason All-America fourth team selection entering the 2002 season. But he did not play last year after transferring to Compton (Calif.) College in January of 2002. He completed the academic year there while redshirting.
Senior * Center * 6-Foot-11 * 260 Pounds
* Kostas Charissis, a 6-foot-11, 260-pound center and a native of Greece, is a 2003 senior. An imposing figure in the paint, he will compete for playing time at center in his final year with the Trojans. His full first name is Konstantinos.
* Averaging 4.1 rebounds per game in 12.3 minutes and has had at least seven rebounds four times.
* Recorded his first career double-double with a career-high 10 points and 10 rebounds vs. Morris Brown
* Had seven rebounds off the bench against No. 2 Arizona.
* had nine rebounds and two blocks in 12 minutes at Rhode Island and had eight rebounds in 16 minutes against Missouri.
* A tiny fracture in his ankle prevented him from playing in either exhibition game (and forced him to miss a couple weeks of practice), but he returned for the opener and had four rebounds and four points in 17 minutes off the bench.
* Charissis started 18 of 20 games at center as a 2002 junior, but missed the final eight games of the season with a fracture in his left ankle. He was averaging 2.3 points and 2.9 rebounds in 10.4 minutes per game when he was injured.
* Had his best game in two years against Cal with a career-high 10 rebounds, eight points and a career-high four field goals.
Sophomore * Guard * 6-Foot-2 * 200 Pounds
* Derrick Craven, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound sophomore guard in 2003 and identical twin brother of fellow Trojan sophomore Errick Craven, is an athletic and aggressive player who has a tenacious work ethic on defense. He will challenge for the starting job at point guard for the Trojans.
* Has started 14 times, and is averaging 4.2 points in 18.1 minutes per game overall and 5.0 points in 20.9 minutes in Pac-10 play.
* Posted career highs of 17 points and three three-pointers at UNLV to go with three steals ... Came one game after scoring a then-career-high 11 points against UCLA at the Sports Arena.
* Had a career-high eight assists at Cal ... Had 10 points in back-to-back games at Washington and against UCLA. He also had a career-best four steals at Washington.
* Made first career start against Missouri and scored eight points.
* Scored three points and had five assists in 18 minutes off the bench against Morris Brown and had two points in 16 minutes at UC Santa Barbara ... Went scoreless in 15 minutes off the bench in the season-opener vs UC Riverside and played only three minutes at Rhode Island.
* As a 2002 freshman, Craven fought off a stress fracture in his right leg that cost him the non-conference schedule and eventually found a niche in the rotation by season's end as a backup point guard.
* Averaged 6.5 minutes in 13 games, but played in each of USC's final eight games and averaged 10.0 minutes per game in the last five games
* Played a career-high 20 minutes in the regular-season finale against Oregon State with a career-best four assists and two blocks.
Sophomore * Guard * 6-Foot-2 * 190 Pounds
* Errick Craven, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound sophomore guard in 2003 and identical twin brother of fellow Trojan sophomore Derrick Craven, returns to the Trojans as one of the top all-around guards in the Pac-10. A 2003 Basketball Times Preseason All-America honorable mention pick, he is USC's leading returning scorer.
* Second on the team in scoring (14.7) and rebounding (5.7) and first in steals (44).
* Averaging 17.3 points and 7.3 rebounds in Pac-10 play with 30 steals ... Has scored in double figures in eight consecutive games and has had at least eight rebounds in four of the past six games.
* His 112 career steals are the eighth most ever at USC.
* Had 15 points and six steals at UNLV.
* Had 19 points, eight rebounds and two steals against UCLA at the Sports Arena and hit two game-winning free throws with 4.4 seconds left to play.
* Had first double-double of season with 18 points, 10 rebounds against Oregon to go with a career-high eight steals.
* Posted his third straight 20-point (or more) effort at Cal with 20 points and eight rebounds.
* Scored 21 points vs. No. 2 Arizona to go with six steals and five rebounds and came back with 22 points against ASU.
* Scored 24 points at UCLA to go with seven rebounds.
* Scored a team-high 22 points in 24 minutes off the bench against UC Riverside and had a career-high five assists ... Posted 16 points against both La Salle and at Washington State ... Scored 11 points and made three three-pointers against CS Fullerton ... Suspended by Bibby from the Rhode Island game for violating team rules ... Had eight points and three steals at UC Santa Barbara ... Tied a career high with 10 rebounds at Washington.
* Craven, who started 28 of 32 games, earned 2002 All-Pac-10 Freshman first team honors as USC's fourth-leading scorer (11.8) and third-leading rebounder (4.4) last year.
* He became the first freshman to lead the Pac-10 in steals (2.1) since Cal's Jason Kidd in 1993 and his 68 steals were the second-most ever at USC.
* His 376 points were the most for a USC freshman since Harold Miner had 578 in 1990.
Sophomore * Forward * 6-Foot-8 * 220 Pounds
* Nick Curtis, a 6-foot-8, 220-pound sophomore forward in 2003, is a strong rebounder and athletic presence who will push for an increased role in the Trojans' frontcourt.
* Been bothered by nagging feet injuries that have slowed him down as of late and forced him to miss the UNLV game.
* Averaging team-best 7.0 rebounds per game in 14 starts ... He's fifth in scoring (8.5), second in blocks (19) and tied for fourth in steals (19).
* Had a career-high 15 rebounds to go with 17 points for his second career double-double at Washington ... Posted second straight double-double with 11 points, 11 rebounds at UCLA.
* Had career-high 21 points and eight rebounds against La Salle on 8-of-11 shooting. Also had four blocks.
* Had first career double-double with 13 points and career-best 11 rebounds against Morris Brown and had seven points and eight rebounds at UC Santa Barbara.
* Scored then-career-best 14 points at Rhode Island to go with seven boards, playing all 45 minutes of the overtime affair ... Scored 12 points and had eight rebounds against UC Riverside and team-high 15 against Penn.
* As a 2002 freshman, started four of 22 games, averaging 1.0 point and 0.8 rebounds in 5.2 minutes per game
* Had a season-high six points in 11 minutes in the season opener vs. Wyoming.
Junior * Forward * 6-Foot-7 * 200 Pounds* Jerry Dupree, a 6-foot-7, 200-pound 2003 junior forward, will look for an increased role in the Trojan frontcourt in his second year with the team. An extremely athletic player, Dupree has worked hard in the off-season to improve his all-around game.
* Made his first start this year vs. Oregon State, but went scoreless in six minutes ... Was given game off by Coach Henry Bibby against Oregon but played briefly against UCLA.
* Averaging 9.8 minutes in 11 games.
* Tied a career high with 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting at UNLV in season-high 19 minutes.
* Tied a career high with seven rebounds at Stanford ... Scored six points and had three blocks in 17 minutes against Arizona State.
* Played 17 minutes off the bench at Washington State in his first action of the season, scoring five points to go with six rebounds and a block.
* Missed USC's first seven games while concentrating on priorities as a student-athlete off the court. Was also rehabilitating from an injured foot (bruised heel), but is now available to play.
* Dupree started seven of 30 games as a 2002 sophomore forward, averaging 3.7 points and 1.8 rebounds in 11.7 minutes per game.
* Had a strong showing in the Pac-10 Tournament, averaging 10.3 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in the three games and making 14-of-19 field goals (.737).
Junior * Guard * 6-Foot-4 * 225 Pounds
* Desmon Farmer is a 6-foot-4, 225-pound junior guard in 2003 with a great scoring touch and a fiery defensive presence who will challenge for a starting spot. USC's second-leading returning scorer, Farmer looks to build on his strong finish to his sophomore season.
* USC's leading scorer (17.6) and is fourth in rebounding (4.9) ... Has scored in double figures 16 times this year.
* Averaging 20.6 points in the Pac-10.
* Has seven 20-point efforts this season, including most recently, a 22-point game at UNLV that followed a 28-point, nine-rebound effort against UCLA at the Sports Arena. He scored nine of USC's final 13 points in the win. Three games earlier he had 23 points at Stanford.
* Posted career highs in points (35), three-pointers (seven) and field goals (nine) at Washington State, including 31 points in the second half ... Followed it up with 16 points at Washington and 25 at UCLA.
* Scored 23 points, including 20 in the first half, against No. 2 Arizona and had 16 vs. ASU.
* Farmer had 23 points against Morris Brown and seven rebounds in 31 minutes in his first start of the year ... Tied a career-high with 10 rebounds against La Salle.
* Averaged 15.5 points and six rebounds in the Oregon homestand.
* Is 13th on USC's career three-point chart with 95.
* Farmer started five of 31 games as a 2002 sophomore guard, averaging 9.5 points and 3.3 rebounds in 22.5 minutes per game.
* He posted 14 double-digit scoring efforts, including five in a row to end the season, the longest such stretch of his career
* During the final five games, which included the regular-season finale against Oregon State, three Pac-10 Tournament games against Stanford, Oregon and Arizona, and the NCAA Tournament game against UNC-Wilmington, Farmer averaged 17.6 points and 4.0 rebounds, making 30-of-55 field goals (.545) and 13-of-29 three-pointers (.448). He came off the bench in all five games.
* Tied season highs of 20 points and four three-pointers in the NCAA Tournament, matching totals he had against Rhode Island.
GREGG GUENTHER JR.
Sophomore * Forward * 6-Foot-8 * 245 Pounds
* Gregg Guenther Jr., a 6-foot-8, 245-pound redshirt sophomore, is a two-sport player who plays tight end on USC's football team as well as power forward for the basketball team. A physical athlete, Guenther provides the Trojans with a good deal of muscle in the post with the ability to hit the mid-range jumpshot and rebound.
* Averaging 6.1 points and 4.0 rebounds in 15.8 minutes in eight games. He's started the last three games.
* Posted career highs in points (16), rebounds (six) and minutes (30) against Oregon in first start of the season ... He also played 30 minutes against UCLA, getting five rebounds.
* Scored six points vs. Arizona State, including game-winning pair of free throws with 3.9 seconds left ... Had five rebounds against Oregon State ... Had five points and three rebounds at Cal.
* In his second game as part of the team, he saw his first action against Penn, making 4-of-4 free throws in the final minutes of the game ... Joined the team vs. UCLA, but did not play.
* Guenther played in nine games last year, starting three times in his first year with the basketball team.
* Averaged 3.8 minutes an outing with a total of nine rebounds.
* As a tight end in 2002, Guenther has played in 11 games and has seven receptions. He caught his first touchdown pass at UCLA. He has six career points in football and one in basketball.
Senior * Guard * 6-Foot-1 * 185 Pounds
* Robert Hutchinson, 6-foot-1, 185 pounds and one of two seniors on USC's team in 2003, returns to the Trojans as a key contributor in the backcourt and a challenger for the starting job at point guard.
* Has been bothered much of the season by a nagging sprained ankle that has limited his movement.
* Averaging 5.0 points to go with 45 assists in 19.9 minutes per game.
* After missing the previous three games, played 11 minutes against Penn, scoring three points ... Averaged 20 minutes against the Arizona schools at home and had nine assists in the two games ... Had six points at Cal and at Stanford.
* Shooting team-best 39.0% from three-point range (16-of-41) ... Did not play against Missouri (sprained ankle), but came back against Cal State Fullerton to tie his career high of 17 points, making 7-of-8 field goals ... Reinjured ankle against La Salle after one minute of action and did not play on the Washington trip not at UCLA.
* Had an excellent game at Rhode Island, scoring 17 points and making five three-pointers in 43 minutes.
* Scored 10 points and had three assists and two steals against Morris Brown.
* Hutchinson, USC's team captain as a 2002 junior guard, played in 30 of 32 games, starting once. On the season, he had 48 assists and only 21 turnovers, averaging 2.0 points in 11.7 minutes per game.
* At LMU, he had a then-career-high 10 points in a career-high 26 minutes.
* Had a career-high seven assists at Arizona.
Junior * Forward * 6-Foot-8 * 250 Pounds
* Jeff McMillan, a 6-foot-8, 250-pound forward, is a junior transfer from Fordham who will sit out the 2003 season in compliance with NCAA transfer rules.
* McMillan started 14 of Fordham's 28 games as a sophomore power forward for the Rams in 2001-02.
* Led Fordham with 7.6 rebounds per game (seventh in the Atlantic 10) while averaging 10.2 points per game (second best on the team).
* As a freshman in 2000-01, McMillan started 26 times, averaging 10.0 points and a team-high 7.8 rebounds.
Junior * Center * 7-Foot-0 * 230 Pounds
* Jonathan Oliver, a 7-foot, 230-pound center, is a junior college transfer who is in his first year with the Trojans. Extremely agile for his size, he is a superb shot blocker and runs the floor with ease.
* Averaging 8.8 minutes in 13 games this year.
* Had 19 points and made 8-of-9 field goals against Morris Brown, adding seven rebounds and two blocks.
* Had 11 points and five rebounds off the bench against Missouri ... Suffered a sprained ankle against CS Fullerton and only played six minutes. Tested the ankle against La Salle in two late minutes and played seven minutes at Washington State.
* Has made 16-of-25 field goal attempts (64.0%).
* Scored five points (like he did in both exhibition games) and had two blocks in 12 minutes against UC Riverside, but did not play at Rhode Island.
* Oliver earned 2002 California Community College All-State first team honors and was the Western State Conference MVP after averaging 17.1 points, 11.3 rebounds and 5.2 blocks per game as a 2002 sophomore at Ventura (Calif.) College.
* Started all 33 of his team's games and shot 62.8% from the field (213-of-339).
* His 173 blocks (5.2) were first in the state and broke Ventura's single-season and career records.
Sophomore * Center * 6-Foot-11 * 240 Pounds
* Rory O'Neil, a 6-foot-11, 240-pound sophomore center, will look to have an increased role in 2003. Working hard in the gym to add muscle to his long frame, he also spent the off-season refining what is already an ever-improving inside-outside game. He has a solid scoring touch from the outside and has an instinctive feel for the game.
* Leads the team with 27 blocks and is third in scoring (10.6) and rebounds (5.1).
* Posted second-career double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds against Oregon to go with career-high five blocks.
* Scored 19 points at Cal and 14 at Stanford.
* Had scored in double figures 11 times this year and in six of the past seven games.
* Scored a career-high 22 points vs. CS Fullerton, making 9-of-10 field goals, including a pair of three-pointers, in 33 minutes.
* Averaged 15.0 points on the Washington trip.
* Posted his first career double-double with 13 points and a career-high 11 rebounds against UC Riverside ... Had 10 points vs. No. 2 Arizona.
* O'Neil started three of 32 games as a 2002 freshman center, averaging 4.3 points and 2.3 rebounds in 13.4 minutes per game. His 21 blocks were second best on the team
* Set a career high with 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting against Stanford to go with two blocks in 24 minutes last year.
* Played a career-high 28 minutes and scored 10 points for his fifth double-digit scoring output of the year against Oregon at home.
Junior * Guard * 6-Foot-4 * 195 Pounds
* Roydell Smiley, 6-foot-4 and 195 pounds, is in his first year with the Trojans as a junior guard after transferring from Southeastern Iowa College. A hard-nosed player, he brings an excellent perimeter game to the Trojans and has the ability to play the point as well.
* Fourth in scoring (9.1) and third in steals (22) ... Has scored in double figures 11 times, including four times in a row after not doing it for eight straight games.
* Scored season-high 18 points, making 4-of-5 three-pointers, against La Salle.
* Scored 16 points against Oregon State and 13 vs. Oregon last weekend, hitting a combined five three-pointers. Came back with 10 points against UCLA on his birthday (Feb. 5) and 12 at UNLV.
* Had 16 points at UC Santa Barbara, making four three-pointers in each game ... Had 12 points, making 3-of-6 three-pointers, to go with five assists against Morris Brown.
* Made his Trojan debut as a starter, scoring 10 points and making 2-of-3 three-pointers in the season-opener. He followed it up with 13 points, six boards and five steals at Rhode Island.
* Scored 17 points and hit three three-pointers in the first exhibition game and added 13 points in the second game.
* Smiley earned NJCAA Region XI first team honors as a 2002 sophomore and a 2001 freshman at Southeastern Iowa College in West Burlington, Ia.
* As a sophomore, Smiley averaged 14.7 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.8 steals.
* USC has five walk-ons this season: third-year Trojan guard Eze Burts, second-year Trojan guard Peter McCaslin, first-year guard Michael Mehanna and first-year forwards Edward Chang and Derek Roberts.
* Most recently Mehanna hit 4-of-4 free throws in the final two minutes at UNLV. He has seven points on the year.
* All five played the final two minutes of the Morris Brown game, but none scored. It was the first appearance for all of them except McCaslin, who played in one game in 2002. Mehanna, in fact, played one minute in the first half ... Mehanna made his first career basket in the final two minutes of the CS Fullerton game and Burts, Roberts and Chang also saw brief action ... All five played in the final two minutes of the La Salle game ... Mehanna and Burts also played against Penn.
* Mehanna was his school's valedictorian, earning a perfect 4.0 GPA for four years in school ... McCaslin is a member of Phi Kappa Phi, an honor society whose membership requires a GPA of 3.85 or better. He's also a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars ... Burts prepped at St. Bernard High in Los Angeles. He was a Del Rey League first teamer and also competed on the track team ... Roberts prepped at Palm Springs (Calif.) High where he earned All-Desert Valley League first team honors as a senior and honorable mention notice as a junior. He was also on Honor Roll ... Chang prepped at Dallas (Tex.) Jesuit. He served as a translator for the Chinese Jr. National team in the summer of 1999 and got to practice with the team as well.