November 17, 2009
The Hunt for the Most Interesting Team in the World is the Dagger's 2009-10 countdown preview series. Check out the overriding principles here.
Last year's record: 22-13, 12-9 Pac-10
2009-10's toughest games: at Texas, Tennessee, at Georgia Tech, at Cal
Primary attraction: Like a beautifully rendered post-apocalyptic landscape, you won't be able to help checking in on the Trojans.
Three items of undeniable interest:
1. Boom. These are not last year's USC Trojans. The reasons for this are obvious: Tim Floyd resigned his position amidst a Yahoo! Sports report that he had a very dirty hand in O.J. Mayo's recruitment, and Floyd chose not to fight the impending NCAA investigation into USC's entire athletics program. Instead, he fled, leaving his players to transfer and recruits to choose elsewhere. USC, with its brand-new stadium and shiny uniforms and big-program sheen will look an awful lot like D.C. in "Fallout 3." What was here before was beautiful, but the destruction has an attraction of its own.
2. Me Kevin O'Neill. Me grumpy! It's never a good sign when the first thing anyone writes about you, after you land a rebuilding job like USC, is how abrasive you are. That's exactly what happened to Kevin O'Neill, who was the recent subject of this Memphis Commercial-Appeal profile that made him seem like one of the worst people on the planet. The truth is probably not that simple, but O'Neill will have plenty of reason to be grumpy in 2009-10. And when grown men with short tempers get angry, we all win.
3. Dwight Lewis. O'Neill won't have much talent to work with this year, but he did retain senior shooting guard Dwight Lewis. Lewis is a 6-foot-5 guy who has never been the Trojans' most talented player -- that honor goes to O.J. Mayo and then DeMar DeRozan -- but he can score, leading the Trojans in points last season. He'll get plenty of looks this year. By default. But still, looks. For a guy suddenly contemplating the next level, there are worse fates in the world.
Bonus: What Tim Floyd is doing with his free time.
Floyd didn't just retire to Mississippi, his home state. No, he stayed in SoCal. Why? So he could be around when all hell breaks loose at the Morongo casino in the middle of the day. The man is nothing if not vigilant.