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.”
More from the USC blog:
- NFL draft: How Rey Maualuga can rebound
- USC basketball: ‘Academic issues’ threaten key big man
- NFL draft: Did Taylor Mays do the right thing?
- NFL draft: David Buehler is No. 1
- USC football: 1978 champs take on ALS
- USC basketball: 5 reasons for postseason hope
- USC basketball: Gibson selected Pac-10’s defensive POY
- USC basketball: 10 reasons why DeRozan should say no to the NBA
- USC basketball: Is DeMar DeRozan ‘one-and-done’?
- NFL draft: Is Fili Moala overrated?
- USC basketball: Remembering Ryan Francis