Andy Enfield to USC players: 'If you want to play slow, go to UCLA'
This is a quote that will live on into the season, and fans will eat it up probably much more than the coaches. But this is what LA-area basketball needs.
The architect behind Dunk City just threw one down in the face of UCLA.
The intra-city rivalry between USC and UCLA has existed for decades in many different segments. Football usually gets the most publicity for the animosity between the programs, but for many reasons -- USC the private school vs. UCLA the public; UCLA's academic superiority and pristine location vs. USC's rougher neighborhood -- these two schools have rhyme and reason to prod each other over the years.
So let's send a thank you to new Trojans coach Andy Enfield for lobbing this verbal grenade toward UCLA and its new coach, Steve Alford. Here's what Enfield said, according to the San Jose Mercury News:
He interrupted a recent scrimmage at the Galen Center's practice gym to reinforce that point.
"We play up-tempo basketball here," he told his players. "If you want to play slow, go to UCLA."
If you're wondering, Steve Alford's New Mexico teams averaged 65.6 possessions per game the past three seasons. Enfield's team last year was above 69 possessions per game. (The national average these days hovers around 66.)
Let's be clear, though. Enfield dropped the elbow on UCLA in a practice, not with a microphone in front of his face, and not intentionally to draw attention. He was needling his players. Coaches say a lot of things to motivate their guys, especially in the preseason, when kinks are plentiful and much has to be done to prep for the start of the season.
Still, I love that Enfield said it, and there's nothing wrong with him saying it. So many coaches are afraid to be on record and talk a little trash these days. That's understandable, but when we do get some good quips, something to give college sports a little more juice, it's always welcomed.
If you're wondering, UCLA and USC will play in the first of two Pac-12 games on Sunday, Jan. 5. It's at UCLA. This quote will come up.
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