Trojan Nuggets: Athletics Looking To Power Through That Ugly SoCal June Gloom

Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

The Trojans are putting the gears in motion for a solid month.

We know the saying, June Gloom takes the life out of summer. But for an athletic program just wrapping up anotehr successful season in collegiate athletics, highlighted by Team National Championship No. 100, the skies are getting crystal clear for USC. First and foremost, we're less than 100 days until the start of College Football AND we already have four games on the televised schedule.

Trying to follow in the victorious footsteps of his USC Tennis stars, four-time national champion Steve Johnson overcame a two-set deficit to claim a first round win at the French Open before dropping his second match over the weekend.

That finish could be just the start to what should be an even more exciting Wimbledon run for the No. 69 player in the world, but plenty of other Trojan-related stars are emerging across the athletic spectrum as we fly into the first full week of June.

DIRECTORS CUP STANDINGS

While UCLA may have the slight edge in overall NCAA Team Championships, USC dominates the overall titles, and more importantly, the Trojans have surpassed the Bruins in this season's NCAA Director Cup Standings. USC, who currently sits 8th overall, leads UCLA (9th) and Cal (15th) in the standings but trail perenial top dog Stanford.

The 11th-ranked Women of Troy Rowing Team concluded racing in the 2014 NCAA Division I Women's Rowing Championships at Eagle Creek Park on Sunday, June 1. USC's varsity four claimed sixth place in the grand final while each of the varsity eight boats took sixth in petite finals for 12th place overall. The Trojans finished with 72 points for a 10th-place team finish in the final standings.

Over on the much-improved Track and Field side of things, Aleec Harris set the Pac-12 record and U.S.-leading time in the 110m HH, Aaron Brown ran the fifth-leading 200m time in the world to set a Canadian national record and Tynia Gaither set a PR in the 200m to join all three Trojan relay teams in qualifying for the 2014 NCAA Track & Field Championships for coach Caryl Smith Gilbert.

After finishing second in the National Championship Tournament, USC Women's Golf came up just short of repeating as champions but Doris Chen was able to claim the Individual Crown for USC (Annie Park, 2013) in back to back years. While it may not have been the perfect Spring, winning at least two national championships for the third-straight year sure never hurt, and USC will be right back next season.

BACK AT THE COLI

Over the weekend, the NFLPA Rookie Premiere event gathered a collection of top rookies at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Check out the best action from the jammed-packed weekend for advertisements and rookie cards, you know all that stuff the NCAA just can't seem to wrap their head around. FYI: Keep those calendars ready because on June 9th, the monumental Ed O'Bannon verdict will be announced.

#USCtotheNFL UPDATE

Offseason OTA's are rolling right along, and USC draft prospects are putting in the hard work here in the offseason to fight for playing time in NFL Training Camp. The Trojans top two selections, Marqise Lee and Marcus Martin -preserving USC's NCAA record streak of having a player drafted in the NFL every year since 1939- are signed, sealed and ready to play some professional football. Along with some other signed Trojans.

THE DREW LEAGUE, MEET USC BASKETBALL

The most exciting summer basketball league in the world, just wrapped up the third week of action, and former Trojans J.T. Terrell and Pe'Shon Howard put forth strong performances down the road in the Drew League. Terrell kicked off the action in grand fashion on Sunday, scoring a huge and-one basket with 34 seconds to play, propelling Robin Hood Project to a tight three-point victory in front of a sold-out crowd.

Howard meanwhile, who was spotted in Cardinal and Gold shoes, played his best game just two full weeks after officially graduating from the University of Southern California. Nick "Swaggy P" Young, who wants to not only test free agency but maybe even dab in coaching the Los Angeles Lakers, celebrated his birthday on Sunday and has previously made frequent visits to The Drew League.

He will certainly be back, and who knows, maybe he will battle against current Wildcat (he probably should've been a Trojan, but Sean Miller sealed the deal) Stanley Johnson, who put on an absolute monster performance (34/8/4) over the weekend and even battle against frequent visitors Gilbert Arenas, James Harden and Russell Westbrook.

FOOTBALL PROJECTIONS

ESPN.com Brian Fremeau's calculated the win probability for schedules surrounding top 25 teams in the nation, and the ever-talented USC Trojans came up on the list with plenty of promise heading into Steve Sarkisian's Fall Camp.

Projected finish: 8-4 (6-3). Chance to make playoff: 2 percent.
Chance to win Pac-12: 10 percent. Toughest games: Sept. 6 at Stanford (23 percent win odds); Nov. 22 at UCLA (38 percent); Oct. 11 at Arizona (61 percent).

"USC has as much talent as any team in the Pac-12, but how much its limited scholarship numbers are further depleted by injuries may ultimately determine whether the Trojans challenge for a conference title or simply settle for a rebuilding season under a new coach. The trip to Stanford on Sept. 6 will probably determine whether USC is a legitimate playoff contender, as a win there will give the Trojans a realistic chance to start 10-0." -According to Fremeau, who profiled the entire Top 25

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