USC has a lot to look forward to this year and it has become somewhat of a national dialogue as they return a whole new look from last year’s injury debacle.
- Demon Deacons – The Trojans welcome two former Wake Foresters in JT Terrell and Ari Stewart. Terrell has the bigger upside with regards to immediate impact as he’ll be asked to light it up from distance; something he certainly can do.
- The Keck School – In case you’re unfamiliar, that’s USC’s medical school. A place that’s now nursed Jio Fontan, Dewayne Dedmon, and Aaron Fuller back to health. That’s a lot of injured talent the Trojans were missing last year and now regain.
- Sweat – KO has repeatedly called this the hardest working group he’s ever coached which is saying something considering the demanding nature of KO-ball. And, as we’ve learned from an early age, hard work usually translates into success!
- Shoulders – I’m not talking about Aaron Fuller’s now healthy ones. I’m talking about the chip on the collective Trojan shoulder. KO has referenced it and one has to believe that any group cast off as many times as this patchwork lineup has been, would likely have an axe to grind. Or a chip on their shoulder, pick your cliché.
- Two – That’s the number of conference games they’ll need to win to improve on last season’s total. Hey! Baby steps.
- Quack – Another shot at the Ducks! Too soon?
- Lottery – KO once called Dewayne Dedmon a future pick by a team on a Ping-Pong ball. His 2011-12 campaign was shortened by knee injury as the seven-footer continues to learn the game. If in his time off he’s pieced together a little more basketball acumen, look out, the Trojans just might live up to their rebuilt hype.
Last week the Pac-12 announced the media’s preseason predictions. They’ve picked Arizona to win it although they awarded more first place votes to UCLA – indicative of the unstable state that program appears to be in. Alas, we can’t have this be our only predictive conversation.
Following last season, we awarded the Not So Coaches Pac-12 Awards. The Dorothy, The Steinbrenner, The Grecian, and others were all awarded to the most deserving of candidates. Now, on the cusp of a highly anticipated 2012-13 Pac-12 basketball season, I present, the Not So Pac-12 Media Preseason Awards:
The Casey Jacobsen: Awarded to the player most likely to frost his tips
- Pick: Ken Bone, WSU
- Look, sometimes its tough to look cool when all you do is stand on a sideline and shout. And, with so many players getting busted for possession, Ken Bone needs to find a way to better relate to his team. Maybe a stop by the stylist is his best option.
- Others considered: Rosco Allen (Stanford), Roster (ASU),
The Jorge Guitierrez: Awarded to the player most likely to piss off opposing players and fans
- Pick: Mark Lyons, Arizona
- Not only is he a seemingly unprecedented transfer with title implications, but by all accounts he’s got a mouth, is havoc on the defensive end, and became renowned for his participation in the Xavier-Cincinnati melee. He’s going to beat you – or at least try real hard to – and then let you know about it.
- Others considered: Aaron Bright (Stanford), Jio Fontan (USC), Nick Johnson (Arizona), EJ Singler (Oregon)
The Brock Motum: Awarded to the best player you’ve never heard of
- Pick: Devon Collier, Oregon State
- It was hard not to pick Brock himself as the dude barely gets any love already despite projecting to have another stellar season lost in Pullman. But Collier has only gotten better year-over-year and projects to flourish with the departure of Jared Cunningham and the pending emergence of Roberto Nelson and Ahmad Starks.
- Others considered: Dewayne Dedmon (USC), Scott Suggs (UW), Davonte Lacy (WSU)
The Josiah Turner/Jabari Brown: Awarded to the player most likely to miss expectations by a year and a mile
- Pick: Shabazz Muhammad
- At this point, this isn’t even a preseason pick, we’re just giving it to him. Odds are he won’t play a game in new, old, or otherwise Pauley; but if he does I’ll swallow the crow whole. His commitment to UCLA had Howland and crew a pre-pre-season top-10 team. Now they’re not.
- Others considered: Dominic Artis (Oregon), Kaleb Tarczewski (Arizona), JT Terrell (USC)
Player I Want to Party With: (no criteria provided)
- Pick: Brock Motum (WSU)
- If you’ve never traveled abroad and stayed at a hostel with an Australian, I suggest you do it.
- Others considered:
The RomCom: Awarded to the player that most resembles a cast member of Love Actually
- Others considered: Unanimous decision
The 2007 Patriots: Awarded to the team most likely to lose you money
- Pick: USC Trojans
- Here is the team that’s super interesting and I’ve called the hipster pick but they were 1-17 last year! Sure they’re grossly revamped but we know absolutely nothing about them but everyone keeps picking them. What if they’re wrong and the juice is flowing the wrong way?
- Others considered: Arizona Wildcats, UCLA Bruins
The 2001 Patriots: Awarded to the team most likely to make you money
- Pick: Washington Huskies
- Not many people are high on the Huskies but they have heavy experience at three critical positions at the point, wing, and center and a wild card in RS senior Scott Suggs. Maybe, just maybe, the Huskies can eek out a competitive season and spoil the preseason predictions.
- Others considered: Stanford Cardinal, USC Trojans
The Golden Mane: Awarded to the most luscious locks in the conference
- Pick: EJ Singler
- He cut them. They’re gone and he looks like an everyman but we’re awarding him this for potential. What if he grows it out over the season? I want it to happen. Make it so.
- Others considered: Angelo Chol (Arizona), John Gage (Stanford), Sabatino Chen (Colorado),
Best Iranian: Awarded to the best Iranian born player in the conference
- Pick: Arsalan Kazemi
- Uh…pretty sure he’s the only one to play D-1 ball. Ever.
- Others considered: Unanimous decision