Earlier today UCLA received a verbal commit from Kevin Love. Love, a 6' 10" Forward/Center from Lake Oswego, Oregon, is a two-time reigning Oregon Class 4A player of the year and is a first-team all-American member of Parade Magazine.
I wasn't sure if I wanted to make this a main page story but the more I thought about it the more I felt I needed to discuss it. This is a good get for the Bruins and further solidifies the future of Coach Ben Howland at UCLA.
This brings an interesting dichotomy to light. USC of late has enjoyed the front-page lime light as THE football powerhouse in Los Angeles. The same can be said of UCLA Basketball. I will admit I was more than a little jealous of this news, quite frankly it pissed me off, as it puts USC that much farther behind the Bruins in the field of college basketball. Anyone who has spent any time checking out BN knows that their standards are high and they demand a consistent level of performance when it comes to the Big 2 (football and basketball). They have been absolutely brutal in regards to Karl Dorrell.
Full disclaimer: I'm not a big hoops fan.
My question is why aren't SC fans demanding the same level of commitment from the university when it comes to hoops. I'm sure Tim Floyd is a good coach and he has a big hill to climb following the tragic death of Ryan Francis and the recent ineligibility of Gabe Pruitt. But he needs to get it in gear if wants to keep up with UCLA. Was he in the running for Kevin Love? Probably not, but his recent commits should start to build a strong foundation for the future, both in Character and Talent. I'm not saying that we need use the same tone towards Floyd as BN use's towards Dorrell but I hear very little in the questioning of where SC wants to be as a hoops program.
I realize that the possible verbal commit of OJ Mayo will produce a big shot in the arm for the SC program but he comes with some baggage as I discussed here. But is this the shot we need? Most hoops fans think that Mayo is "one and done" and off to the pros so I don't know how that helps SC in the short term, it certainly doesn't in the long term if he leaves school early. Sooner or later USC will be a force in Basketball and of course we would prefer it would happen sooner rather than later. But it has to be a combined effort and that has to come from fans and alumni alike.
I realize my words seem harsh but it is important that we continue to strive for a high level of success not just in football but also in basketball. We should not take it as a given that our recent success in CFB will continue unabated. Coach Carroll will move on at some point, so it would behoove us to continue to strive for excellence in basketball.
SC's proud tradition in both Football and Baseball should serve as an example and a catalyst for USC Basketball. Other schools have done it so there is no reason why we shouldn't be able to do the same thing as I discussed here.
Most fans are passionate about SC Athletics. We need to take that passion and use it to build a more successful basketball program, there is no reason why we can't do it.