Well that was quick...so when does the tournament start again?
Talk about a crash and burn! Out of position, no boxing out, foul trouble and just zero effort, that's what I saw tonight. I will analyze the game tomorrow but right now I want to talk about the state of the program.
Forgive me if I jump around a lot.
Was OJ Mayo worth it? Yes he was if for no other reason the exposure he created for the program. Was he as good as advertised? Depends on whom you read. He certainly didn't cause the problems off the court that some, including me, thought that he would and he had some absolutely incredible moments on the court. I will have more on Mayo in a later post that I have been working on.
I had a bad feeling about this game as soon as I saw the bracket. If SC expects to EVER be a contender Tim Floyd needs to gets these guys to develop quicker and he needs to get a big man. Most important, at least to me, is that SC needs to recruit players that will stay and build a foundation that will help the program grow. Think for a minute, how would have this team performed if they had Young and Pruitt? Senior leadership matters and if players continue to come to SC that only stay for a short time we will always be a 2nd tier program as no continuity will ever be forged. By the way, Pruitt is now languishing in d-league ball so I guess leaving early really paid off for him.
I'm pissed not because we lost, but how we lost. I am more than willing to be patient if players are willing to put the time in to stick around and develop to build this program. I am not asking this program to become Duke or UNC but I think we need to have a plan to set this program in the right direction. I was talking to DC Trojan on the phone and I told him that I would have still been pissed if we had lost by 3 but at least it would have shown some effort I saw some very sporadic effort tonight.
Some of the comments in the game thread really hit home and while I don't agree with all of it some of it is dead on.
Like this one from Zoulou:
I say we are right where we were after Floyd's first year: a second tier program with aspirations to become an elite program. OJ's goal, quoted in the LAT, was to build a program, wasn't it, to take us deep into the tourney, to help establish USC as an elite program. None of that has happened. We lost to an 11th seed, and we looked bad doing so. OJ's gone, Taj might follow, odds are Devon will be forced to follow because he might not make it through another academic year. While UCLA pulls in another top rated class, we have to waste a scholie on a washed up rapper so we can attract another five-star one-year wonder.
Yeah, we probably won't have gone to the tourney without OJ, but after all the hype, I feel like a client with Eliot Spitzer's escort agency. That's it, that's all there is.
I completely agree with what I emphasized above. SC fans have never been all that into hoops, we are a football school pure and simple and this sort of effort with these type of one and done players won't help the program build and it won't increase interest in the program. Sure, there is always a possibility that OJ could stay another year and help build the program like he said he would but does ANYONE really believe that? I don't...
And there is this one from DC Trojan:
DC is also dead on and Garrett knows it.
Garrett also said that future recruiting of players who might leave after one season, as Mayo has the opportunity to do, won't be hasty decisions. Garrett said that Mayo promised to finish his classwork for the school year so that the Trojans do not have to forfeit his scholarship slot if he decides to leave.
"That's the agreement," said Garrett, who said Mayo has fulfilled every expectation during his freshman year. "In the next years, we'll go case by case. We're looking for character."
Character is nice and all but if it doesn't stick it's hard to reap the benefits from the effort put forth by the institution to try and build a program.
I think there is a lot to be said of setting standards. You can't deny the talent of an OJ Mayo but he is only one guy and without consistent play around him it's hard to build a team. I am not sure I can get excited about another year like this if SC can't get some players that will help build the program. If this team stays together with DeRozan coming in then maybe we could have a serious conversation about the stability of this program, but until then its not happening. It's going to be built on a house of cards. This is all on Coach Floyd and he has my full support but he needs to start competing for the type of players that other programs get. I am not asking for a bunch of 5-star players but players that will develop to build this program.
Again I wasn't expecting a championship but I expected to at least get out of the 1st round. I just don't see the disciplined play like you see elsewhere. We have no identity outside of Mayo and that is not enough. So that's where its at, I have no interest in watching the rest of the tourney said for a couple of potential match-ups.
I'll have more in the coming days...