Posted on: July 29, 2009 10:25 am
Edited on: July 29, 2009 10:31 am
Former USC coach Tim Floyd spoke publicly for the first time since his resignation last month, granting an interview to his home-state newspaper on Tuesday. Floyd declined to discuss the O.J. Mayo case that led to his demise. But among the interesting things he did share with the Clarion-Ledger's Kyle Veazey is how he refused to tell Renardo Sidney he could not enroll at USC. Instead, Floyd said he made athletic director Mike Garrett deliver the news because "that was his decision."
"I was very disappointed that we made the choice to not recruit him given that I felt like he was a good kid, a good person," Floyd said. "He deserved the opportunity to live his dream, which was to attend USC."
Floyd said he doesn't believe USC's decision to reject Sidney's enrollment was the result of an independent investigation as much as a reaction to a forthcoming story in the Los Angeles Times . Basically, Floyd said he believes USC was concerned with how enrolling Sidney might affect the school's ongoing case with the NCAA, and little more.
"Our school was reacting to an article that was going to be written in the L.A. Times ," Floyd said. "Given the fact that the institution was involved in an institutional control investigation, they viewed it as preventive management."
But, Floyd added: "They could not put their finger on anything."
The story in the L.A. Times was published shortly after USC informed Sidney he was no longer welcome on campus. It detailed how the Sidney family had been renting a home for between $4000 and $5,000 per month, the implication being that there's no way such was done with a legitimate source of income.
Sidney has since signed with Mississippi State.
Whether he will ever be cleared to play for the Bulldogs remains undetermined.
Posted on: June 23, 2009 7:28 am
Edited on: June 23, 2009 7:39 am
You might've read how I was baffled by USC's hiring of Kevin O'Neill. But I explained in my second post about the subject that it was nothing personal against O'Neill, because though he is by all accounts tough to work with and play for, I've always found him to be more entertaining than boring, and that's the type of stuff that's important to me.
Take Monday's introductory press conference, for example.
I've seen lots of introductory press conferences, and most of them are lame. But O'Neill managed to say a few interesting things while responding to criticisms of his way of operating, specifically his way of treating people.
"Contrary to popular demand, I'm not Darth Vader," he said. "You would think I was slaying people every time you turn around. ... Over the years, I've been in situations where not all the players always like the coach. Well, guess what? The coaches don't like all the players sometimes either, especially when you're in rebuilding situations."
(Translation: I hate my players just as much as they hate me.)
My favorite moment was the jab at Arizona, i.e., the school that hired O'Neill as an assistant, named him Lute Olson's successor, let him coach a season and then kicked him out the door so that Olson could return (even though Olson never coached another game). O'Neill started by complimenting Olson, but he ended with a little shot.
"Lute deserved the opportunity to come back and be the coach; he had earned that over a Hall of Fame career," O'Neill said. "A lot of people said a lot of things after I left; I didn't say anything. I don't have any ill will or any bad feelings whatsoever, plus I ended up in a better job."
Now I'm not sure USC is a better job than Arizona, and there is nothing factual to base that on.
But what I am sure of is that I like that O'Neill took the time to say it.
And what I can't wait for now is his first trip back to Tucson.
Posted on: June 22, 2009 4:57 pm
Edited on: June 22, 2009 4:57 pm
I've got a column today offering some projections on the NBA Draft, and among the things I address is not how the players will be picked, but how their careers will go. In other words, I provided the names (in order) of the college guys I believe will be viewed as the best NBA players from this draft five years from now.
My list ...
1. Blake Griffin
2. DeMar DeRozan
3. Stephen Curry
4. Hasheem Thabeet
5. James Harden
The lone surprise there is probably DeRozan, who people keep describing as wildly inconsistent even though that's not exactly an accurate portrayal of his freshman season. Sure, he started slow, then picked it up in December and early January before dipping for a short stretch. (OK, maybe he was a little inconsistent.) But to focus on that is to miss the fact that down the stretch DeRozan was awesome, proof being how he reached double-figures in each of his final nine games.
DeRozan averaged 17.6 points in those contests.
He got 17 and 11 against Cal in the Pac-10 tournament.
He got 21 and 13 against UCLA in the Pac-10 tournament.
He got 25 (on 10-of-16 shooting) against Arizona State in the Pac-10 tournament.
He averaged 18 points and seven rebounds in Southern California's NCAA tournament games.
So folks can focus on DeRozan's inconsistency if they like. But what I see when I look at DeRozan is an extremely athletic wing with tons of upside who was consistently awesome down the stretch -- awesome enough, in fact, to lead USC to an NCAA tournament appearance that seemed unlikely in February.
That's why I like him.
In five years, some franchises at the top of the lottery are going to regret passing on him.
Posted on: June 20, 2009 6:50 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2009 6:52 pm
Searching around the web, it seems every national writer -- save those who tend to find the positive in each development, even when the positive doesn't exist -- believes USC's hiring of Kevin O'Neill is baffling because, you know, it just is. On a lot of different levels. But one thing I wanted to clarify is that basketball people don't frown upon O'Neill simply because he's a "disciplinarian," which is what some are suggesting. That's not quite it. There are lots of disciplinarians in this sport, but O'Neill is on an entirely different level. And if you want some background, I'd encourage you to click this link and read a profile written by the Commercial Appeal's Scott Cacciola last year right after O'Neill was hired as an assistant with the Memphis Grizzlies.
There are some great stories in there.
Again, click this link and give it a read.
But before you do that, let me tell you one more reason why this isn't an ideal hire.
I know USC athletic director Mike Garrett loves defense (you saw the quote, right?). But hiring a "defensive" coach to work in Los Angeles and across town from Ben Howland is incredibly shortsighted. Understand, the only knock on Howland is that he's a "defensive" coach who doesn't offer his players enough offensive freedom; that's what those who recruit against him try to sell to recruits. Does it work? Not terribly well, it seems. But still, that's the perception and the knock. And rather than try to take advantage of it, USC hired a "defensive" coach who has a history of butting heads with pretty much everybody he coaches or works with.
Honestly, does that make any sense?
And just so you know, Kevin O'Neill has always been OK with me.
I find him quite funny, actually.
So this isn't personal.
But it would be disingenuous to suggest this hire makes much sense.
The only way it works is if O'Neill has changed everything about himself in the past year.
Posted on: June 20, 2009 1:37 pm
USC athletic director Mike Garrett clearly never consulted Jerryd Bayless on this hire.
Or anybody at Arizona, for that matter.
And if USC was hoping to get some attention with the announcement of its new basketball coach, well, the school sure accomplished that goal. But I'm not certain this is the type of attention it needed, the type of attention that bringing Kevin O'Neill to campus is sure to bring. The reason the hiring came out of nowhere Saturday is because nobody really thought any college would be anxious to lure O'Neill back to the NCAA, particularly the Pac-10. Nothing against his coaching skills, but O'Neill's way of doing things almost never leaves admirers in his trail.
Rather, he goes somewhere.
People start to hate him.
Then he moves on.
Fair or not, that's the track record.
That's why Bayless publicly criticized him after the one year O'Neill spent at Arizona filling in for Lute Olson, one of the reasons Arizona opted not to make him Olson's permanent replacement. And that's also why this hire makes little sense on the surface, although it falls in line with the column I wrote Friday about how USC would be unable to hire Pittsburgh's Jamie Dixon or any other established name.
The school missed on Dixon twice.
The school also missed on UNLV's Lon Kruger.
And now the school has settled on ... Kevin O'Neill?
Somewhere, Jerryd Bayless is laughing.
Because history suggests this probably won't end well.
Posted on: June 19, 2009 6:37 pm
Edited on: June 19, 2009 6:40 pm
Former USC signee Noel Johnson has committed to Clemson, a source told CBSSports.com on Friday.
Johnson is a 6-foot-6 wing who decommitted from USC last month because of the uncertainty surrounding the future of the program. Once released, Clemson assistant Josh Postorino got to work, and the result had Clemson beating LSU and a host of other schools for a heralded recruit who will help ease the unexpected loss of Terrence Oglesby (left school to play professionally in Europe).
Scout.com rates Johnson as the 56th-best prospect in the Class of 2009. He joins Milton Jennings (rated 23rd overall) and Devin Booker (rated 65th overall) to give the Tigers three incoming Top 100 prospects.
Clemson is ranked 14th in the preseason CBSSports.com Top 25 (and one) .
Posted on: June 19, 2009 6:28 pm
Edited on: June 19, 2009 6:36 pm
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Posted on: June 9, 2009 9:08 pm
Edited on: June 9, 2009 9:09 pm
The following is the full text of Tim Floyd's Tuesday letter of resignation to USC:
“As of 1 p.m. today, I am resigning as head basketball coach at the University of Souithern California. I deeply appreciate the opportunity afforded me by the university, as well as the chance to know and work with some of the finest young men in college athletics. Unfortunately, I no longer feel I can offer the level of enthusiasm to my duties that is deserved by the university, my coaching staff, my players, their families, and the supporters of Southern Cal. I always promised my self and my family that if I ever felt I could no longer give my full enthusiasm to a job, that I should leave it to others who could. I intend to contact my coaching staff and my players in coming days and weeks to tell them how much each of them means to me. I wish the best to USC and to my successor.”