Trojans Open Pac-10 Play On Friday
Dec. 29, 2003
USC, now a game over .500 for the fourth time this season, hopes to build on the momentum of its 81-59 win over Lafayette as it opens Pac-10 play later this week. First up for the 5-4 Trojans is Oregon (5-2) on Friday (Jan. 2) at 6 p.m. The Ducks will enter the game either rusty or refreshed, not having played a game since Dec. 22. Next is Oregon State (6-4) on Sunday (Jan. 4) at 12 p.m. The Beavers are making only their third road trip of the season and are still looking for their first road win. The pair of games will wrap up a four-game homestand for the Trojans, who make their first Pac-10 road trip the following week in Washington. 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 three talented freshmen and an eligible transfer.
USC (5-4) vs. Oregon (5-2) on Friday (Jan. 2) at 6 p.m. The game will be televised live on FOX Sports Net 2 and will be broadcast live on the radio on KMPC-AM 1540 in Los Angeles, KSPA-AM 1510 in Ontario/Orange County and XEMM-AM 800 in San Diego. Seventh-year coach Ernie Kent's Ducks have split their last four games, including an 88-70 win over Portland in their most recent game on Dec. 22. Senior forward Luke Jackson leads the Ducks in scoring (21.0) and rebounding (7.1) and is shooting 50.5% from the field and a blistering 47.4% from three-point range. Sophomore forward Ian Crosswhite is second in scoring (14.6) and rebounding (5.7) and has made 89.5% of his foul shots (34-of-38). The team is shooting a combined 48.7% from the field and 43.2% from three-point range and is averaging 10.0 three-pointer per game.
USC leads the series that dates back to 1956, 55-36. The teams have split the last eight meetings, though the Ducks have won two in a row, including the Pac-10 Tournament finale last year. The Trojans have won four of the past six meetings at the Sports Arena, including a 91-76 victory last year.
Desmon Farmer had 19 points and Rory O'Neil had 17, but the Trojans, in a bid to win their first Pac-10 Tournament championship and a spot in the NCAA Tournament, fell short to Oregon. USC fell behind early, 14-4, five minutes into the game, but stormed back with a 15-0 run to lead 19-14 with 12 minutes to go in the first half. USC led by as many as seven points in the first before heading into the half down two. The Ducks opened the second half with a quick 10-2 run and built their lead to 61-44 with 11:47 to play. But USC started to chip away, eventually closing to within 70-66 with 2:27 to go with the ball. Derrick Craven, however, missed on a runner in the lane and, after a Luke Ridnour basket, USC missed on a pair of three-point attempts. The Trojans failed to score on any of its remaining possessions.
Ernie Kent is in his seventh season at Oregon, entering this year with a mark of 117-68 with the Ducks. Oregon was 23-10 last year, which followed an NCAA Elite Eight appearance in 2002. Three years earlier, Kent directed the Ducks to a 22-8 finish and a first-round appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Kent came to Eugene from St. Mary's, where he was the head coach from 1992 to 1997.
Probable Starters Ht. Yr. pts. reb. G 00 Aaron Brooks 5-11 Fr. 6.1 2.1G 35 Andre Jospeh 6-3 Sr. 12.7 3.0F 33 Luke Jackson 6-7 Sr. 21.0 7.1F 11 Ian Crosswhite 6-11 So. 14.6 5.7C 55 Jay Anderson 6-9 Sr. 3.6 3.9
USC vs. Oregon State (6-4) on Sunday (Jan. 4) at 12 p.m. The game will be televised live on FOX Sports Net 2 and will be broadcast live on the radio on KMPC-AM 1540 in Los Angeles, KSPA-AM 1510 in Ontario/Orange County and XEMM-AM 800 in San Diego. Second-year coach Jay John's Beavers have won two in a row, most recently a 71-59 decision over Jackson State on Dec. 28. Oregon State enters the Pac-10 road swing with only two road games under its belt, losses at Colorado and Hawaii. Sophomore guard Chris Stepehns and junior forward David Lucas are averaging 15.4 points and 15.2 points, respectively, to lead the Beavers. Lucas' 6.4 rebounding average is also tops on the team. Oregon State has struggled from the field, connecting on only 41.6% of its field goals, but has forced its opponents into an average of 20.5 turnovers per game. Like the Trojans, the Beavers have already played three overtime games. And it wouldn't be a shock to see another USC-Oregon State OT game. The Trojans have played more overtime games against the Beavers (15) than against any other school.
USC leads Oregon State, 56-53, in a series dating back to 1925. The Beavers swept the Trojans last year for the first time since 1995. USC, however, has still won seven of the past eight meetings at the Sports Arena.
In a game that fit within the theme of the season, USC fell in another close game, 61-60, at Oregon State last year. Errick Craven scored a team-high 15 points. Troy led 42-35 with 13:27 left to play when point guard Derrick Craven picked up his fifth foul, leaving USC without a true point . The Beavers immediately went on an 8-0 to lead 43-42 with 10:47 to go. The game was tied seven times after that point, the last at 57-57 when Roydell Smiley, who filled in at the point, hit two free throws with 2:43 to play. USC trailed 59-57 with less than 30 seconds left, but turned the ball over. The Beavers' Brian Jackson was fouled with nine ticks left and made two foul shots to clinch the win. Neither team led by more than four points in a sluggish first half in which USC shot only 34.4%.
Jay John is in his second season at Oregon State after guiding the Beavers to a 13-15 finish last year. He spent the previous four years as an assistant under Lute Olson at Arizona where he helped the Wildcats go to four straight NCAA Tournaments and to the title game in 2001. Previously, he was an assistant coach at Oregon, Butler and San Francisco. He is the 19th coach in the program's history and only the seventh since 1929.
Probable Starters Ht. Yr. pts. reb. G 1 Lamar Hurd 6-4 So. 6.2 4.8*G 13 Chris Stephens 6-1 So. 15.4 2.5G 11 J.S. Nash 6-1 Jr. 10.7 4.8F 30 David Lucas 6-7 Jr. 15.2 6.4C 24 Derek Potter 6-11 Jr. 1.4 1.8*assists
VS. LAFAYETTE RECAP
USC scored the game's first 19 points and never looked back, defeating Lafayette, 81-59, on Dec. 28, ending the Leopards, eight-game winning streak. Desmon Farmer scored 21 of his 23 points in the first-half, including 13 in USC's 19-0 run over the game's first seven minutes. The Trojans held Lafayette to a season-low 33.3% shooting. The Leopards made a brief run in the middle of the first half, closing to within 23-15 with 7:36 to go, prompting a USC timeout. The Trojans responded, going on another big run, outscoring Lafayette 14-0 over the next three minutes for a 37-15 advantage. USC led by 18 points at the half and the lead never dipped in the second half. The Trojans, who also got 18 points and eight rebounds from Jeff McMillan, led by as many as 27 points in the second half, cruising to their fifth win.
LAST GAME NOTES
Desmon Farmer's 23 points moved him into 15th place on USC's career scoring chart with 1,228 ... Errick Craven finished with five steals, the 12th time in his career he's had at least that many in one game. Not to be outdone, freshman Lodrick Stewart also had five steals, the first time he's had that many ... Lafayette's 59 points and 33.% shooting were both USC opponent lows ... USC's 81.8% from the free throw line was a season-best.
USC freshman guard Quinton Day missed the game against Lafayette, remaining home in Kansas City, Mo., for personal reasons. He is out indefinitely.
Desmon Farmer could be confused with the superhero, because he's always got the green light (to shoot). The streaky senior shooting guard has struggled from the field, making only 38.5% of his field goals, 30.5% of his threes. But his ability to get hot fast (witness his 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 15.0 field goal attempts per game, including 9.1 three-pointers per game. In fact, if Farmer maintains his three-point attempt pace, he'll break Dwayne Hackett's team season record of 243.
The Trojans have been shorthanded since October. Below is a breakdown of the players in question.
* Freshman guard Quinton Day is not currently with the team, out indefinitely at his home in Kansas City, Mo. (personal reasons).
* Junior forward Nick Curtis has missed USC's last three games with tendinitis in his left knee (which caused him to miss both of USC's exhibition games as well). He is averaging 12.4 minutes in the six games he's played and is hopeful to be back for the Pac-10 opener this Friday.
* 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 is scheduled to undergo arthroscopic surgery on Dec. 30. Once he has his surgery, he will be out an estimated four to six weeks.
* Beefy junior forward Gregg Guenther Jr. is still playing football right now, starting, in fact, at tight end on USC's No. 1-ranked football team. He is set to join the team after the season, which could run into the first week of January, though he sprained his knee on Dec. 6.
* 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 34.4 minutes.
* USC added a fifth walk-on, senior forward Joe Buck, who became eligible on Dec. 18. He's seen action three times. A sixth walk-on, 6-foot freshman guard Chris Penrose, joined the team after the Lafayette game.
FOUR CLOSE SHAVES AND A BLOWOUT
USC has played mostly close games this season, its first four wins coming by an average of 4.0 points, two in overtime and none secured until the final moments of each game. The Trojans finally 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, all of the Trojans' losses are by at least nine points, though the defeat to UNLV was also an overtime affair, one which saw USC give up a seven-point lead with little more than a minute left in regulation.
THREE-POINT HIGHS AND LOWS
The Trojans broke out of a three-point slump at Fresno State, making a season-high 11-of-25 (44.0%). But USC has continued to struggle since then, going 3-of-22 against Cal Poly and 5-of-18 against Lafayette. USC is shooting only 27.0% from behind the arc, but Trojan opponents have made 37.4% of their trey attempts and have made 27 more than USC. In fact, Troy has allowed three double-digit three-point performances in nine games. USC allowed only two such efforts all of last season.
CLUTCH AT THE LINE
Desmon Farmer leads USC in free throw shooting with a mark of 84.1% (37-of-44). It is a noteworthy trend for Farmer, who shot only 55.7% from the free throw line as a freshman. He improved to 71.6% as a sophomore and made the jump to 82.8% as a junior last year, good enough for the ninth best season performance in school history.
FEED THE BIG MEN!
USC's four post players currently playing have combined to shoot 58.8% from the field (94-of-160). Power forward Jeff McMillan has shot 64.5% (49-of-76) while center Rory O'Neil is shooting 55.1% (38-of-69). Junior forward Nick Curtis, in limited time, is 5-of-11, while senior center Jonathan Oliver is 2-of-4. Guard Errick Craven is the next highest shooter from the field (41.5%).
Though USC's field goal defense (46.0%) is higher than the coaches would like, the Trojans are making some progress when their opponents have the ball. USC leads the Pac-10 with an average of 10.0 steals per game and has forced its opponents into an average of 18.0 turnovers a game, just off the 18.2 mark that led the Pac-10 last year. What it translates to is an edge in shots per game of 6.1.
HIS PERFECT DAY
Junior guard Derrick Craven was perfect from the field at St. Mary's, going 7-of-7. It was the first time a Trojan made as many field goals without a miss since Brian Scalabrine went 7-of-7 against Memphis in the Maui Invitational on Nov. 23, 1999.
Junior forward Jeff McMillan joined an exclusive club earlier this year, becoming just the third Trojan ever to play more than 40 minutes in back-to-back games. He played 42 minutes in USC's win over Cal State Fullerton on Dec. 9, which followed 41 minutes in the Trojans' victory over St. Mary's on Dec. 6. The other two Trojans to do it, Wayne Carlander and Jacque Hill, were teammates in 1982. In overtime games at Washington (a Jan. 2 loss) and Washington State (a Jan. 4 win), Carlander played 45 minutes in both while Hill played 44 against the Huskies and 41 against the Cougars. Carlander played another 37 minutes in his next game, giving him a three-game USC record of 127 minutes. McMillan played 39 minutes in his next two games, giving him 161 in a four-game span (40.3).
USC battled two of the toughest centers they'll face all year in mid-December. First up was Cal State Fullerton's 6-foot-10, 250-pound senior center Pape Sow, who entered the game against USC leading the Titans in scoring and rebounding. USC fared well against Sow, holding him to nine points and no rebounds in 21 foul-plagued minutes. Then came BYU's 6-foot-11, 280-pound senior center Rafael Araujo, who got the best of USC with 28 points on 10-of-15 shooting and 11 rebounds.
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 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 finally got its act together against Lafayette, making a season-best 81.8%.
WE DON'T MEAN TO SAY ANYTHING, BUT ...
A quick check of the stats unearthed the following. In five home games, USC enjoys a small advantage in free throws, attempting 26.2 free throws per game to its opponents' 21.8. But on the road, the Trojans four opponents have averaged 28.0 free throws attempts while USC has attempted only 12.8. Making matters worse for Troy, the Trojans are making only 56.9% of their limited road free throw attempts (71.8% at home).
USC played three consecutive overtime games earlier this year (UNLV, St. Mary's, Cal State Fullerton), a first in school history. One more OT game will equal the most the Trojans have played in one season.
BAD LUCK BACK EAST
USC has had little luck lately when it's travelled east to cross more than one time zone during the regular season. Since Henry Bibby has been coach at USC, he's gone 2-8 when playing in either the central or eastern times in regular-season play. Losses include games at North Carolina (1997), Tennessee (1997), Ohio State (1998), Kansas (1999), St. Bonaventure (2000), Northwestern (2001) and Western Michigan (2003). The only wins came at UNC-Charlotte (1997) and at Bradley (2002). USC also played three games in the eastern time zone during the 2001 NCAA Tournament, going 3-1.
USC senior Desmon Farmer is USC's leading returning scorer. His 18.7 scoring average was fourth best in the Pac-10 last year and good enough to earn 2003 All-Pac-10 honorable mention honors. He was also selected to the Pac-10 All-Tournament team after he averaged 22.0 points and 4.3 rebounds in the conference tourney. He scored in double figures 27 times and had at least 20 points 14 times and became USC's 28th player with at least 1,000 career points ... Junior guard Errick Craven is USC's second-leading returning scorer after posting a scoring clip of 13.0 points. He started 26 times and became the first Trojan ever to lead USC in rebounds (5.3), assists (2.6) and steals (2.5) in the same season. His 73 steals were the most in the Pac-10 and second-most ever at USC in a season (behind Jeff Trepagnier's 94) ... Junior center Rory O'Neil rounds out USC's trio of returning scorers in double figures (10.1). He led the team in blocked shots (1.3, fifth in the Pac-10) and was fourth in rebounding (4.9). He averaged 14.7 points and 7.3 rebounds in the Pac-10 Tournament, earning All-Tournament honors ... Senior guard Roydell Smiley is a sharpshooting swingman who averaged 8.6 points in 2003 despite battling nagging knee injuries for most of the season. He made the second-most three-pointers on the team (40) and shot a team-high 84.4% from the free throw line (38-of-45). He suffered a broken leg in USC's final game of the season and has yet to return to 100% ... Junior guard Derrick Craven, identical twin of Errick, returns after starting for most of last season at the point. He averaged 4.6 points and 2.2 rebounds last year and was one of only two Trojans to play in every game (along with Farmer). His 40 steals and 70 assists were both the second-highest totals on the team ... Junior forward Nick Curtis, who had a strong start in 2003 derailed by nagging foot injuries, is ready to make an impact for the Trojans. 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 ... 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. When he becomes available, 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 will join the basketball team at the completion of football season. Guenther averaged 6.2 points and 5.0 rebounds in 18.6 minutes, starting nine of 19 games and showed marked improvement in his second year with the team. His overall rebound average was third on the team and his 6.1 boards per game in Pac-10 play was eighth in the conference ... Jeff McMillan, who transferred from Fordham last year and spent the year as a redshirt, will bolster the Trojans frontcourt in 2004. A beefy forward whose build mirrors the 2002 Pac-10 Player of the Year Sam Clancy, his inside scoring and knack for rebounding will be 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., have joined the Trojans as freshmen in 2004. 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. Day earned All-State first team honors and was named the Kansas City Star's All-Metro boys' Player of the Year as a senior in 2003, averaging 20.2 points, 5.0 assists, 6.0 steals and 3.2 rebounds. Day, however, is away from the team indefinitely.
USC AGAINST THE PRESEASON TOP 25
USC is scheduled to play two schools that opened in the ESPN/USA Today Preseason Top 25 and another five that received votes. The two ranked schools looming on the Trojan schedule is No. 4 Arizona and No. 17 Stanford. Oregon just missed the Top 25, finishing 26th among the coaches' votes. Other USC opponents also receiving votes are fellow Pac-10 schools California and Arizona State as well as non-conference foes BYU and UNLV.
SOMETHING IS IN THE WATER
Thank heavens for uniform numbers. This year, USC features two sets of identical twins. Trojan fans and the Pac-10 have grown familiar with Errick and Derrick Craven, twin 6-foot-2 guards from Carson, Calif., who enter 2004 as juniors. Now as freshmen come USC's second set of mirror image players, Lodrick and Rodrick Stewart, 6-foot-4 guards from Seattle. Surprisingly, this is not the first time two pairs of twins have been on the same Division I team at the same time. Valparaiso, in the 1994-95 season, featured two sets of twins - Bill and Bob Jenkins were freshmen and Jeff and Brian Smith were juniors. In other athletic twin news, Alabama-Birmingham currently has one set of twins on its basketball team, but its football and track teams both feature two sets of twins each.
PETE NEWELL CAMP
Rory O'Neil and Nick Curtis both attended Pete Newell's Big Man Camp over the summer. For O'Neil it was his second consecutive time at the camp while Curtis participated for the first time. Both received strong reviews from the mentor of the program.
OFF THE TOP OF OUR HEAD NOTES
The Trojan team Desmon Farmer joined in 2001 featured five players who would eventually settle into the top 19 of the school's all-time top scorers and four of the top 12. They included Sam Clancy (third), Brian Scalabrine (seventh), Brandon Granville (eighth), David Bluthenthal (12th) and Jeff Trepagnier (19th). Farmer is now 15th on the list with 1,228 points (passing Trepagnier on Dec. 6) and has a good chance at cracking the top 5 this season ... Coach Henry Bibby and Farmer are the last connections remaining from USC's breakthrough 2001 Elite Eight team that reached the NCAA Regional final before falling to eventual national champion Duke. As a freshman , Farmer played 26 minutes in three games off the bench in USC's NCAA run ... Bibby has coached nine of USC's 28 players who have scored at least 1,000 points. Errick Craven is poised to become No. 10 of 29, beginning his junior campaign with 753 points (he now has 840). After Craven, Rory O'Neil seems the next best bet to crack the 1,000-point threshold, but he is still more than 500 points off and is likely another year away.
USC PICKED TO FINISH FIFTH IN MEDIA POLL
USC was picked to finish fifth in the Pac-10 media poll on Nov. 6, receiving one of the 35 first-place votes. Arizona was picked first with 26 first-place votes and 339 points. Stanford (seven first-place votes and 321 points) was second and California was third (the remaining first-place vote and 238 points). Oregon was fourth (215), followed by USC, UCLA (188), Arizona State (185), Washington (108), Washington State (69) and Oregon State (55).
USC AT THE SPORTS ARENA
Dating back to 1996-97, the Trojans are 68-27 (.716) in their last 95 games at the Sports Arena and USC is 124-52 (.705) at the Sports Arena since the beginning of the 1991 season, including a 16-game winning streak over a span of the 1992 and 1993 seasons, a 12-game streak between the 2000 and 2001 seasons and two nine-game winning streaks that spanned the 1997-98 and 1998-99 seasons and the 1998-99 and 1999-2000 seasons. USC's 12 home wins in 2001 were its most since winning 12 in 1993. USC's 10-game home win streak to open the 2001 season was its biggest home win streak to start a season since 1975.
USC fell to 68-30 all-time in its season openers and lost only its fourth in the last 16 such games. Under eighth-year Coach Henry Bibby, USC has is now 6-2 with wins over Long Beach State (1997), San Diego State (1999), Cal State Northrdige (2000), Bradley (2001), Wyoming (2002) and UC Riverside. The losses are to New Mexico (1998) and Western Michigan (2004). The Trojans have now won nine straight home openers.
THE TROJANS VS. RANKED TEAMS RECENTLY
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. Eight of USC's top 20 scorers of all time, and eight of its 28 1,000-point scorers have played under Bibby.
Junior * Guard * 6-Foot-2 * 215 Pounds
* A 6-foot-2, 215-pound junior guard in 2004 and identical twin brother of fellow Trojan junior Errick Craven, he is an athletic and aggressive player who has a tenacious work ethic on defense. He matured as Troy's starting point guard for most of 2003, though he is coming off the bench in that role this season.
* Second on team with 28 assists and third in steals (16). He's averaging 6.7 points.
* Scored in double figures in three consecutive games for the first time in his USC career, ending with an 11-point, seven-assist game against Cal State Fullerton.
* He had a season-high 16 points at St. Mary's, going 7-of-7 from the field in 20 minutes. It was the first 7-of-7 performance by a Trojan since Nov. 23, 1999 (Brian Scalabrine). The St. Mary's effort followed 11 points vs. UNLV and four assists.
* He averaged 4.6 points and 2.2 rebounds in 19.9 minutes per game last year, starting 25 of 30 games as a 2003 sophomore. He was one of only two Trojans to play in every game (along with Desmon Farmer).
* His 40 steals and 70 assists were both the second-highest totals on the team.
Junior * Guard * 6-Foot-2 * 205 Pounds
* A 6-foot-2, 205-pound junior guard in 2004 and identical twin brother of fellow Trojan Derrick Craven, Errick Craven returns to the Trojans as one of the top all-around guards in the Pac-10. One of the quickest players and top defenders in the conference, he is USC's second-leading returning scorer and is tied as the top returning rebounder.
* Scored a season-high 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting against UNLV and had 16 points, six assists and five steals against Cal State Fullerton. He had 13 points against Cal Poly.
* Tied for fourth on the team in scoring (9.9) and leads the team with 30 assists. He is also second in steals (2.0, third in the Pac-10).
* Sent the game at St. Mary's into overtime with a layup with eight seconds left.
* He is fifth on USC's career steals chart (159) and 17th on Troy's career three-point chart (60).
* His 2.3 career steals average is just off Pac-10 record-holder Jason Kidd's 2.5.
* Has had at least five steals 12 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.
* A sore left knee (tendonitis) that's bothered him all season forced him to miss the Fresno State, Cal Poly and Lafayette games (as well as both of USC's exhibitions). He hopes to be ready for the Pac-10 opening weekend.
* He is averaging 2.5 points and 3.0 rebounds in 12.3 minutes coming off of the bench ... Had a season-high seven rebounds at St. Mary's.
* 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.
Freshman * Guard * 6-Foot-0 * 175 Pounds
* An athletic and quick 6-foot, 175-pound point guard, 2004 freshman Quinton Day is a first-year Trojan whose perimeter skills and know-how for the game figured to give him an opportunity to earn playing time right away.
* Out indefinitely at his home in Kansas City, Mo. (personal reasons).
* Averaging 1.0 points in limited action in six games.
* Scored his first points against Cal State Fullerton, connecting on one three-pointer in eight minutes ... He had another three-pointer at BYU in 11 minutes.
* Playing in front of family that drove up from Kansas City, Mo., to watch him play, Day saw six minutes of action at Western Michigan and had one assist and one block. He did not suit against Cal State Northridge and played only two minutes against UNLV.
* He averaged 20.2 points, 5.0 assists, 6.0 steals and 3.2 rebounds as a 2003 senior guard, leading Paseo Academy (Kansas City, Mo.) to a 26-4 record and a second-place finish in Missouri Class 4. He earned All-State first team honors and was named the Kansas City Star's All-Metro boys' Player of the Year.
Senior * Guard * 6-Foot-5 * 220 Pounds
* Desmon Farmer is a 6-foot-5, 220-pound senior guard in 2004 with a great scoring touch and a fiery defensive presence who will start for the second year in a row.
* Averaging team-best 18.4 points per game (third in the Pac-10) to go with a team-high 25 three-pointers, is third in rebounding (3.9) and has made 37-of-44 free throws (84.1%).
* Averaging 23.7 points in the last three games.
* He is 15th on USC's career scoring chart with 1,228 points and is tied for sixth on the career three-point chart with 145.
* Had a streak of 21 consecutive games scoring in double figures snapped after scoring eight points at BYU.
* Scored a season-high 29 points in a losing cause against Cal Poly, setting career highs for field goals (12) and field goal attempts (25).
* Had 23 points against Lafayette, including 21 in the first half.
* 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.
* Tied a season-high with six three-pointers at Fresno State en route to 19 points, taking a career-high 14 three-point attempts.
* Posted an 18-point game off the bench against Cal State Fullerton that included career highs in free throws (12) and free throw attempts (13).
* He averaged 18.7 points as a 2003 junior guard, tops on the Trojans and fourth-best in the Pac-10 ... He was named a 2003 All-Pac-10 honorable mention selection and earned Pac-10 All-Tournament honors after he averaged 22.0 points and 4.3 rebounds in the conference tourney.
* He averaged 20.4 points in Pac-10 play, becoming only the second Trojan to average at least 20 points in conference games since 1992.
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 is set to join the team after the 2003 football season.
* He is currently starting at tight end on the football team and has 16 receptions and two touchdown receptions. He sprained his knee against Oregon State, however, but hopes to play in the Rose Bowl and with the basketball team after.
* He averaged 6.2 points and 5.0 rebounds in 18.6 minutes last year, starting nine of 19 games and showed marked improvement in his second year with the team.
* His overall rebound average was third on the team and his 6.1 boards per game in Pac-10 play was eighth in the conference.
Junior * Forward * 6-Foot-8 * 260 Pounds
* Jeff McMillan, a 6-foot-8, 260-pound redshirt junior forward in 2004, is a strong rebounder with the ability to score around the basket. He sat out the 2003 season after transferring from Fordham in 2002 and is expected to make big contributions this season.
* Leading USC rebounder (9.3, third in the Pac-10) and second in scoring (13.8) and also leads the team in field goal percentage (64.5, tops in the Pac-10).
* Had a USC career-high 14 rebounds at Fresno State, the most for a Trojan since Nick Curtis had 15 last season at Washington.
* Had 18 points and eight rebounds against Lafayette.
* Posted his third double-double of the season with 10 points and 12 rebounds against Cal Poly.
* He has four double-digit rebound efforts this year as well.
* 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.
* 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.
* He missed USC's first six games while concentrating on his academics.
* He 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 third-leading scorer (10.1), second-leading rebounder (4.4) and leader in blocks (1.4, fifth in Pac-10). He is also second in field goal percentage (55.1%) and has made 7-of-15 three-pointers (46.7%). Has scored in double digits five times.
* Scored a season-high 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting against Cal State Fullerton.
* Had season-high nine rebounds against Lafayette.
* Hit two free throws with 13 seconds left to give USC a three-point lead at Fresno State, one it maintained for a win.
* Posted team highs in points (15) and rebounds (eight) at Western Michigan in 39 minutes. Had 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting against UNLV.
* He attended the Pete Newell Big Man Camp in August for the second consecutive year.
* He started 25 of 29 games as a sophomore center in 2003 and averaged 10.1 points per game, third-best on the team. He led the team in blocked shots (1.3, fifth in the Pac-10) and was fourth in rebounding (4.9). He scored in double figures 17 times and had four double-doubles.
* He was named a Pac-10 All-Academic honorable mention selection with a 3.01 GPA in mathematics.
Senior * Guard * 6-Foot-4 * 195 Pounds
* Roydell Smiley, 6-foot-4 and 195 pounds, is in his second year with the Trojans as a senior guard in 2004. A hard-nosed player, he brings an excellent perimeter game to the Trojans as well as the ability to handle the ball.
* Expected to have arthroscopic knee surgery on Tuesday. Once he undergoes the surgery, he will be out an estimated four to six weeks.
* 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 is experience pain in his knee preventing him from playing.* 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.
* Has a team-high 22 steals (his average of 2.4 is second in the Pac-10).
* Tied for fourth on the team in scoring (9.7) and is second on the team with 11 three-pointers. His 3.8 rebounds and is fourth on the team.
* He is USC's second-leading scorer in the Trojans' last three games (14.3).
* Had season highs in rebounds (eight) and steals (five) against Lafayette ... Posted season highs of 19 points and four three-pointers at Fresno State.
* Had 14 points and three steals against Cal Poly and had 13 points and had three steals in 27 minutes off the bench at St. Mary's.
* Scored 12 points and made 3-of-4 three-pointers in his first collegiate game at Western Michigan and followed it with a seven-point effort of the bench against Cal State Northridge.
* Stewart, a 2003 McDonald's Preseason All-American alternate, Students Sports All-American special selection and Long Beach Press-Telegram Best in the West first teamer, averaged 19.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.0 steals and 3.0 assists as a 2003 senior at Rainier Beach High (Seattle, Wash.) ... Earned 3-A State Tournament MVP honors en route to leading Rainier Beach to its second consecutive state title.
Freshman * Guard * 6-Foot-4 * 200 Pounds
* Rodrick Stewart, a 6-foot-4, 200-pound freshman and the identical twin of fellow Trojan freshman Lodrick Stewart, is a gifted and athletic player who can play point guard, shooting guard or small forward. A great open-court player and defender who can also finish with the best, he has been starting at point guard.
* Scored a season-high 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting in 25 minutes at BYU and had 11 points and four assists against Lafayette.
* He is averaging 5.1 points in 23.0 minutes per game.
* Had 10 points, starting at point guard in his Trojan debut at Western Michigan. He had three assists against Cal State Northridge and six points and four assists at St. Mary's.* Prepped at Rainier Beach (Seattle, Wash.) High, where he earned Parade All-American third team, McDonald's Preseason All-American, All-State first team and Long Beach Press-Telegram Best in the West first team honors and was named 3-A State Player of the Year as a 2003 senior ... Averaged 18.8 points, 8.0 assists, 6.0 rebounds and 4.5 steals in 2003, helping to lead Rainier Beach to a 26-3 record and its second straight 3-A state title.
* USC is currently fielding six walk-ons: second-year 6-foot-7 sophomore forward Edward Chang, first-year 6-foot-6 sophomore forward Greg Gaudino, 6-foot-1 freshman guard Andrew Moore, 6-foot-6 freshman forward Reed Doucette, 6-foot-7 senior forward Joe Buck and 6-foot freshman guard Chris Penrose.
* Chang prepped at Dallas (Tex.) Jesuit. He served as a translator for the Chinese Jr. National team in the summer of 1999 and got to practice with the team as well ... Gaudino played on USC's volleyball team in 2003 as a freshman ... Buck played with the Trojans as a walk-on two seasons ago. He then played at Georgetown College in Georgetown, Ky., in the fall of 2002 before transferring back to USC the following spring. He became eligible to play this year after the BYU game.
* Buck played a couple minutes in the first-half of the win at Fresno State and also got in late against Cal Poly and Lafayette, making his only field goal attempt in the latter. Chang and Gaudino also played briefly against the Leopards.
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