1. Can you give us a quick run down of what happened to your previous coach?
Tim Floyd resigned because he was accused by a convicted felon of giving a runner $1000.00 secure the commitment of top Recruit OJ Mayo. Those charges have been corroborated anywhere. not by the NCAA, not by USC and not in a court of law.
I wrote extensively on the shoddy reporting of Yahoo Sports and how they could not substantiate the claims. It came out earlier this past week that Floyd was allegedly thrown under the bus by USC AD Mike Garrett. Not surprising as Mike Garrett has had a reputation of not treating his coaches well when they fall out his good graces.
I don't know if Floyd did what he is accused of but I have a hard time believing it based on there being no follow-up on the allegations and Floyd not having been accused of this type of infraction in his extensive coaching career...
2. How long of a leash has been given to Kevin O'Neill? Do Trojan fans feel like he's the coach of the future or merely a band-aid?
It is really hard to say...O'Neill brings the disciplinarian aspect that Mike Garrett was looking for. O'Neill has had a bit of a dubious record in the past. Many USC fans were not happy with O'Neill's hire. He came with some baggage after his stint in Arizona. He alienated players and his fellow coaches while in Tucson. His coaching style was seen as "in your face". Some of the fan base has warmed to O'Neill but many remain skeptical.
Was this the best hire USC could make? Well, in light of the OJ Mayo/Tim Floyd allegations USC basketball was deemed radioactive. There was not a high profile, successful coach that would touch us with a ten foot pole. So with that in mind this was probably the best we could do. How O'Neill's record at USC goes will determine if he is a stop-gap hire or a permanent fix.
I think the jury on Kevin O'Neill will be out for a while...
3. Just looked at the USC schedule and saw a game against #3 Texas and then Georgia Tech. Other out of conference games include Nebraska and Tennesse. Is this tough out of conference scheduling typical of USC basketball?
No, unfortunately USC basketball is not as ambitious as USC football when scheduling OOC opponents. This just happens to be a year where we are playing some very good teams. Much of that comes from USC simply not being a basketball school. Though they had had some flashes of late, USC has never been a consistent basketball program throughout the years.
4. Tech is incredibly strong and deep down low. Who should Tech fans look at in the low post when watching the Trojans?
Former UNC Forward Alex Stepheson is the player to watch out for. Alex brings a certain toughness that SC needs right now but he is a little rusty from sitting out a year due to NCAA transfer rules and a recent knee injury. SC has a bit of a one-two punch with both Stepheson and Nikola Vucevic and if/when we get Leonard Washington back (academic issues) USC will have the best front court in the Pac-10.
That doesn't really help us today though.
5. O.J. Mayo's story is kinda similar to Stephon Marbury's in that he only played one season and almost immediately following his early departure, the head coach left the school. Is O.J. Mayo's legacy a good one at USC?
On the court yes! His one season at USC was a great one no question. The early exit from the NCAA Tournament left a bitter taste in many fans mouth but the regular season was a fun one.
Off the court...the jury is out until the NCAA puts forth their investigation. I think USC basketball is going to get hammered.There are differences between Mayo and Marbury though...If I am not mistaken Bobby Cremins was the coach at GT when Marbury was there. His legacy was not hurt by Marbury's departure. Floyd's legacy will likely be defined because of Mayo. GT has always been a solid basket program...even after Cremins left. Yes, they had some down years but they were always to be respected. USC has been successful of late but they have never really been in the discussion from a basketball sense.
Thanks to the guys CQ. Sorry for the failure in the timing of my travel plans. Great win by Tech hoops!