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Hoops Notes

Street Ball

After USC's loss to WSU on Thursday coach Floyd decided to try something different so he took the team across the street to the blacktop courts for the teams Friday workout.

The players crossed Figueroa Street before conducting practice on the outdoor concrete courts on campus across from their $130-million arena. It was an unusual sight, a college team in full workout gear on one court alongside a two-on-two pickup game featuring shirts and skins.

"Everybody kept looking at us like we must be in trouble or something," freshman forward Davon Jefferson said. "They're not even in the gym playing."

After the way the team looked on Thursday I would have taken any of the street ballers from /White Men can't Jump / to play in today's game against Washington. This team looked promising but not lights out against KU and Memphis but the way they have looked in conference play so far leaves me scratching my head. The expectations this year were probably too high given all the youth on the team after most of our scoring left for the NBA. The seasons not over yet as SC still has a chance to make the tournament but there is a lot of work to do.

Davon Jefferson is going to play today according to coach Floyd. Jefferson was held out of Thursday's game for undisclosed reasons. While Jefferson may not understand his role it is clear that coach Floyd wants to see Jefferson develop his game with an attitude on the court and not everywhere else.

Coach Tim Floyd hadn't talked to him about what it was exactly that earned the Trojans' second-leading scorer (11.9) and rebounder (5.7) his benching in USC's 73-58 loss to the Cougars on Thursday night.

"I was thinking maybe he'd tell the media," Jefferson said. "I don't even know myself."

But Floyd said his postgame generalities about Jefferson's "youth," and "room for growth" would have to do.

"We talked about it last night," Floyd said of his news conference answers, repeating that Jefferson "will play (today). I'll only talk about the guys that played."

Floyd did make an exception, knocking down a report that Jefferson's problems involved grades, saying: "He did well. ...That would be incorrect."

Jefferson is too valuable to us at this point to be on the bench so he needs to make the necessary adjustments where Coach Floyd feels he needs to change. I am happy that his grades were not the issue. I can only speculate as to what's going on so I will leave it at that.

Diarra to red shirt

No real surprise here as he just hasn't progressed since having surgery early in the season. Diarra requested the red shirt and coach Floyd agreed but it looks like he will keep his options open.

As coach Floyd explains:

"We are going to medical redshirt him," Floyd said. "He's had continued problems with being able go one day, can't go the next day. We're so deep into it right now that I don't see him ever getting back to 100 percent where he needs to be. So it just seems like the right thing to do for his future. If we get in some kind of jam, maybe we'll look at him in late February or March and review it."

I would rather get Diarra healed for next year than have him constantly behind in his development so this is the right move.

Strong words from Hackett.

The WSU game must have really pissed a lot of people off on the team as Daniel Hackett had some strong words about the team's performance.

"We kind of gave up last night," said Hackett, who was 2for7 from the floor and scored only four points. "I'm one of the first to admit I kind of let go of that game late in the second half.

"It's just those 3s that just cut your legs after you play defense for so long. That's the way they make you play ... but no way we should have quit like that, no way I should have quit like that.

"We quit on the coaches, quit on the rest of the team and the people who came to watch the game."

Hackett's remedy is to play with the harder edge that characterizes his game.

"Just get nasty," Hackett said. "Find the nastiness, and it's about winning now. Nothing matters - no flashy things, no nothing. Just winning.

That attitude would have been nice to see on Thursday let's hope they get it done tonight.

Its been tough to watch so far in conference play but there is no reason that SC can't get a nice run going and put themselves in position to get into the tournament.