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.