USC basketball: ‘Maturity, heart and courage’

I asked three members of the USC basketball program what it will take for them to win three games in three days at the Pac-10 Tournament — probably the only route to the NCAA Tournament for the barely-on-the-bubble Trojans.

Taj Gibson’s response was far and away the best: “Maturity, heart and courage.”

It was such a “Wizard of Oz” thing to say, I had to ask Gibson where he came up with it. Alas, Gibson didn’t credit the Wiz, but assistant coaches Rudy Hackett, Dwayne Polee and Phil Johnson.

(That shouldn’t discourage Tim Floyd from splicing the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion into the Cal scouting tape. Phil Jackson totally would do it!)

Here were Daniel Hackett and Floyd’s answers:

Hackett: “This conference is wide open. Once you’re at Staples (Center), it’s a neutral court. Anything can happen. Whichever team plays the best basketball in three days is going to have a shot. If we practice hard and come in focused, we’ve got a shot.”

Floyd: “You have to do all the little things. You have to get easy baskets off of inbounds plays, in transition, on the offensive board and at the foul line. You’ve got to make your free throws. You’ve got to do little things on the other end. You’ve got to help on screens, you’ve got to get back defensively, you’ve got to rebound it at a high level on the defensive board and stay out of foul trouble. I think all those things are critical.”

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Kyle Bunch

Partnerships for R/GA Ventures. Raised in California, adopted by Texas. Opinions expressed here are mine and they are fantastic.

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