ESPN's Pat Forde continues to bash USC Basketball

Remember when Pat Forde bashed USC over OJ Mayo?

Well, old grumpy is at it again.This time over the Hackett/Lewis dust-up and the commitment of Renardo Sidney...

The Trojans have lost four of their past five and are fading from NCAA tournament contention, but things are never dull in and around Tim Floyd's program.

After the team lost to Washington on Saturday, the Los Angeles Times reported that guard Daniel Hackett (32) and his father, assistant strength coach Rudy Hackett, were arguing in both Italian and English in the locker room. Media members were tossed so they could continue arguing in privacy.

In addition to the loss, neither of the Hacketts nor Floyd was especially pleased with an ESPN "Outside The Lines" report Sunday on package deals in college basketball -- the practice of bringing in a family member or other influential figure so the team can sign a player. Floyd strongly defended Rudy Hackett's credentials, though The Minutes has always wondered how an assistant strength coach had such a prominent seat on the bench for games. It also was amusing that Floyd said his decision to hire Hackett came partly on a recommendation by L.A. youth basketball maven Pat Barrett (33) -- a guy outed 20 years ago as a shady recruiting character in the seminal investigative book, "Raw Recruits."

Meanwhile, the L.A. Daily News reported that eyewitnesses saw Daniel Hackett and fellow guard Dwight Lewis (34) get into a shoving match on the court 20 minutes after the game, and the altercation was broken up by security.

The good news came Monday for USC, when hugely hyped big man and Sonny Vaccaro pet project Renardo Sidney (35) verbally committed to the Trojans. Sidney is almost a mortal lock to be a one-and-done collegian like predecessor O.J. Mayo, who helped USC to zero NCAA tournament victories and one NCAA investigation.

The only question is whether Sidney will actually make it to USC's campus. The Times reports that the 6-foot-11 center/forward has not yet taken the SAT.

I will be the first to admit that things haven't gone as well as we would have liked this season. I could see how the the altercation between Hackett and Lewis could be seen as a microcosm of the season to date...it has been frustrating, but the way that Forde portrays Floyd and the team, especially when it comes to the over hyped Outside the Lines piece last Sunday, its clear that Forde has an axe to grind.

A number of us here have some issues with how the team has looked this season and we all cautiously await what the NCAA will say about Mayo but until they do make their report on the situation known its all speculation...you know, just like a lot of ucla fans say Sam Gilbert was all speculation.

Basketball recruiting is a dirty business and sites like ESPN are complicit in some of that. They give these kids exposure that they aren't ready for and some of them turn into drama queens (see Randall Carroll). Funny how I don't see Forde lambasting any of the other programs mentioned in the piece they way he does USC.

While some of us are not completely happy with Tim Floyd there is no question that he has increasesd the exposure of USC hoops. And while there are some questionable things he has done some good in some areas of recruiting and SC getting to the tournament. Its still not enough and I can do with out the negative press but I at least give him a "A" for effort.

Forde is nothing more than a hater and we are his flavor of the year.

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