Pac-10 Basketball Preview – USC Trojans

By Sam Saig, November 16, 2009 2:23 pm

State of the Program

On March 22nd 2009, Michigan State narrowly edged USC in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Spartans would go on to play for a National Championship, while the Trojans remarkable March run came to an end. Then things got bad…

First, at the Trojans season ending banquet (March 31st) head coach Tim Floyd implored the superstar trio of DeMar DeRozan, Daniel Hackett, and Taj Gibson to stay at ‘SC for a potential Final Four run the following season. Less than a day later, Floyd was in Tucson, Arizona rubbing elbows with ‘Cats AD Jim Livengood. Needless to say, after that debacle the three ‘SC superstars swiftly decided to turn pro.

But the worst was still to come. I won’t go through the painful summary, but here is a quick chronological recap using key terms: Louis Johnson, Rodney Guillory, alleged $1,000 envelope, NCAA investigation, “lack of institutional control”, ‘Zona raid of ‘SC recruits.

Pretty tumultuous off-season to say the least, but the show must go on and it will now be directed by journeyman Kevin O’Neill. O’Neill knows a thing or two about coaching a program through chaotic times (2007-08 UA), and now the seasoned 52-year old will try to do it again. As mentioned earlier, the Trojans were decimated by de-commits during the last recruiting cycle, but there is still enough talent left on the roster for O’Neill to keep this team competitive in 2009-10.

Impact Superstar: G Dwight Lewis

Lewis led the Trojans in scoring last season with 14.4 PPG, which is especially impressive considering the talent that was on that roster. This season, the senior from Metairie (LA) will not only have to carry much of the scoring load again, but also provide valuable leadership for a team that must find its identity.

At 6-5 215 pounds, Lewis is a slashing guard with excellent shooting range. Last season, he connected on 37% of his 3-point attempts, and he enters the season ranked 15th on ‘SC’s all-time three-point baskets made list. He has steadily improved over the last three years, especially on the defensive end.

I fully expect Lewis to have a big year scoring, and O’Neill’s pro-style offensive system should fit his game nicely.

Needs To Have A Big Year: G Marcus Simmons


An ankle injury kept Simmons out for most of last season, but when he did get on the court (during the Trojans March run) he was the Trojans best defender (just ask UCLA’s Darren Collison and Cal’s Jerome Randle). Simmons finished the season with 1.9 PPG, 1.2 RPG in 11.2 minutes per game, but those numbers should skyrocket this season.

The 6-6 guard from Alexandria (LA) is a prototypical wing player, possessing excellent length and athleticism that he uses to his advantage on both sides of the floor. Now the only question is, can he develop consistency with his jump shot and perimeter game? If O’Neill can mold Simmons into a more dynamic offensive threat, the Trojans could surprise in the Pac-10 this season.

I believe Simmons is one of the most talented defensive players in the Pac-10, and it would not surprise me to see him on an all-conference team for that reason. Hopefully, the junior can stay healthy this year because I really think he is due for a breakout season.

Potential Impact Newcomer: F Alex Stephenson

Anytime a player transfers from North Carolina there is reason to get excited, and Stephenson should have a huge impact in his debut season with ‘SC. The 6-9 forward from Los Angeles (CA) left UNC in 2008 to be closer to his family. At one point, it looked like he would suit up for the Trojans last season, but the NCAA denied his transfer waiver and he instead redshirted.

Stephenson is a very gifted post player, possessing excellent rebounding and shot blocking skills. During his last season in Chapel Hill (2007-08), he averaged 4.3 PPG, 4.5 RPG and shot 53.9 percent from the field (played 14.5 minutes per game).

In my opinion, Stephenson will be the x-factor for ‘SC this season. If he is as good as advertised, the Trojans will have a dominant frontcourt player that few Pac-10 big men will be able to handle.

My Take

Despite all the problems, Kevin O’Neill has done a fantastic job stabilizing the program so far. Recently, O’Neill put the finishing touches on a 2010 recruiting class that is currently ranked in the top 15 nationally by most recruiting services. Not bad for a program that is in the midst of an NCAA investigation.

I also like the talent on this year’s squad, as players like Simmons and Stephenson should take a lot of pressure off of Dwight Lewis. But there is one position on this Trojans squad where I am very skeptical: point guard. O’Neill has mentioned how critical it will be for ‘SC to establish a reliable presence at the point, and I’m not sure where that player will come from. Junior Donte Smith will likely be the starting PG, but his relative inexperience (three career starts) is cause for concern.

USC has the talent to compete in a rebuilding Pac-10 conference, but lack of overall depth and limitations at point guard will probably hold the team back.

Projected Pac-10 Finish: 9th Place

Share with other Pac-10 fans!
  • email
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • MySpace
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Mixx
  • Technorati
  • del.icio.us
  • Google Bookmarks
  • RSS

1,219 Responses to “Pac-10 Basketball Preview – USC Trojans”

  1. nikon d7000 nikon d7000 says:

    When did the Nikon D7000 turn out? Is it the greatest Nikon out there at this point? When did the D7000 emerge and just ensuring that he won’t be outside style any time in the near future. Thanks.

  2. I think other website proprietors should take this website as an example , very clean and superb user genial design .

  3. Good job here. I genuinely enjoyed what you had to say. Keep heading because you unquestionably bring a new voice to this subject. Not many people would say what youve said and still make it interesting. Well, at least Im interested. Cant wait to see extra of this from you.

  4. Thank you for the wise critique. Me & my neighbour were preparing to do some research about that. We obtained a good book on that matter from our local library and most books exactly where not as influensive as your information and facts. I am incredibly glad to see such information and facts which I was searching for a long time.

  5. Thank you for another fantastic article. Exactly where else could anybody get that type of information in this kind of a perfect way of writing? I’ve a presentation subsequent week, and I’m on the look for this kind of details.

  6. Dude, please tell me that youre going to write far more. I notice you havent written another blog for a while (Im just catching up myself). Your weblog is just also important to become missed. Youve got so significantly to say, such knowledge about this subject it would be a shame to see this weblog disappear. The internet needs you, man!

  7. hello there and thank you for your info – I’ve definitely picked up something new from right here. I did however expertise several technical points using this web site, as I experienced to reload the web site a lot of times previous to I could get it to load properly. I had been wondering if your hosting is OK? Not that I’m complaining, but sluggish loading instances times will sometimes affect your placement in google and can damage your quality score if ads and marketing with Adwords. Well I am adding this RSS to my email and can look out for much more of your respective fascinating content. Ensure that you update this again soon..

  8. Olympus XZ-1 Olympus XZ-1 says:

    NEED HELP TO FIND THE RIGHT CAMERA!!? ok, this can be my first digital camera that is mainly made just intended for photos, i have researched for with a year and a half but have learned ASIGN about dslr’s and position and shoots but have no clue which to buy… I was either going to get these 3 cameras that is certainly the olympus E-620 the olympus E-PL2 along with the olympus XZ-1.. please help i are not aware of which one to purchase (this is my first camera).

  9. I believe that the people at Brigham Young really dropped the ball with this whole thing.

  10. Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and like learning much more on this subject. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your weblog with far more information and facts? It is very useful for me.

  11. Ive been meaning to read this and just never got a chance. Its an issue that Im quite interested in, I just started reading and Im glad I did. Youre a wonderful blogger, one of the ideal that Ive seen. This weblog definitely has some information on topic that I just wasnt aware of. Thanks for bringing this stuff to light.

  12. agra hotels agra hotels says:

    Hey – great weblog, just looking about some blogs, seems a fairly nice platform you are utilizing. I’m currently utilizing Wordpress for several of my websites but looking to alter 1 of them above to a platform similar to yours as being a trial run. Anything in particular you would recommend about it?

  13. First of all, allow my family enjoy a person’s command during this matter. Even though this is certainly brand new , nevertheless soon after registering your site, this intellect has exploded extensively. Allow all of us to take hold of one’s rss to help keep in touch with at all probable messages Sincere understand but will pass it on to help admirers and my personal are living members

  14. agra hotels agra hotels says:

    Thank you for that sensible critique. Me & my neighbour were preparing to do some research about that. We obtained a excellent book on that matter from our local library and most books exactly where not as influensive as your details. I’m very glad to see this kind of data which I was searching for a lengthy time.

  15. Dieta Dieta says:

    I believe avoiding prepared foods will be the first step to help lose weight. They could taste excellent, but packaged foods contain very little vitamins and minerals, making you try to eat more to have enough energy to get over the day. In case you are constantly feeding on these foods, transferring to grain and other complex carbohydrates will aid you to have more vigor while consuming less. Good blog post.

  16. I dont commonly post on many another Blogs, nevertheless Many thanks keep up the astonishing work. Ok unfortunately its time to access school.

  17. RSS feed and comments for my static HTML site Script to process HTML into an RSS feed and a comments widget choice — Disqus.

  18. Loving the information on this web site , you have done outstanding job on the posts .

  19. amex casinos amex casinos says:

    Pretty insightful post. Never believed that it was this simple after all. I had spent a good deal of my time looking for someone to explain this topic clearly and you’re the only one that ever did that. Kudos to you! Keep it up

Leave a Reply

Panorama theme by Themocracy