Trojans aim to improve in 2014 season

first_imgLeading the charge for the Trojans will be a pair of sophomores, captain Julian Jacobs and sharp-shooting big man Nikola Jovanovic. Both players saw a lot of time on the court as freshmen and will use those minutes to lead such a young team.Jovanovic gained some extra experience over the summer as well when he played on the Pac-12 All-Star Team. The forward played a key role on this team that competed in China; he helped lead the team to a 3-0 record by leading the team in scoring and finishing second in rebounds. Jovanovic will use his experience gained in overseas play to help lead  such a young team.“Out of all the players I’ve coached, he’s in an elite group of the right attitude and hardest working players,” Enfield said of Jovanovic.Jovanovic said his time in China helped him improve his game.“I was able to show my post moves,” Jovanovic said. “Going forward in the season, I knew I was going to be the tallest guy on my team. I was trying to be better in the post moves and also to be a more consistent shooter. I think I proved it well.”Jovanovic averaged 8 points and 4.4 rebounds as a freshman for USC; he started 24 games and played in all 32.The other prominent returner is Jacobs, a guard who figures to be the leader of this team. In the Trojans’ exhibition game against Cal State Los Angeles, Jacobs came off the bench and stopped the bleeding after a terrible start by the Trojans, who found themselves down by 13 early. Jacobs entered the game and scored seven unanswered points to energize his teammates and get the Trojans back in the game. Jacobs has been touted as the captain of this young team and whether he starts or continues to come off the bench, he will play key minutes and lead by example throughout the season.“Leadership is by example in my eyes. Julian Jacobs is our captain right now,” Enfield said. “He played a lot of minutes as a freshman. You don’t need to be a junior or senior to provide leadership.”Jacobs averaged 6.6 points and 4.4 rebounds as a freshman, when he started 19 games for the Trojans.A lot of the attention coming into the season has been on the Trojans’ freshman class, which is ranked 16th overall by ESPN.com. This freshman class is headlined by point guard Jordan McLaughlin, who is ranked 41st by ESPN.com. McLaughlin is joined by guards Elijah Stewart and Malik Marquetti and forward Malik Martin.“Jordan [McLaughlin] is a terrific student-athlete,” Enfield said. “We’re expecting big things from him. I think he came to USC for that opportunity, to be relied upon as a freshman. He’ll have that opportunity. We’re excited for him.”McLaughlin will get the opportunity to lead the offense and show off his abilities that made him such a sought-after recruit. One of his main attributes is his ability to get to the rim, but he is also aware of the changes he has to make to his game now that he is in college.“That’s a big adjustment that I have is just working on my floaters and different types of finishes at the rim,” McLaughlin said. “You can’t just lay it up at the rim when you’ve got a 6-foot-10 guy coming across to block your shot.”Along with the four freshmen, USC also welcomes two new transfers to their roster this season. Redshirt sophomore guard Katin Reinhardt and redshirt sophomore forward Darion Clark do not have experience with the Trojans but both put up solid numbers with UNLV and Charlotte respectively in their freshman seasons. Reinhardt should be a staple in the starting lineup as he provides consistent shooting and toughness in the backcourt.“[Reinhardt] shoots the ball at an extremely high level. He’s learning how to come off ball screens, put the ball on the floor,” Enfield said. “If he can keep that up, I think with Jordan [McLaughlin], Katin [Reinhardt], the other guys we have on our roster, we should have a pretty good backcourt.”Though Reinhardt and Clark have yet to suit up for USC, they do bring in some experience through their 52 combined collegiate starts; 18 from Clark and 34 from Reinhardt. Clark should be a force off the bench for the Trojans; he averaged 6.2 points and 4.6 rebounds in 17.6 minutes per game as a freshman at Charlotte. Reinhardt  averaged 10.1 points and was second on the team with 86 assists. He also led UNLV with 65 three-pointers which helped the team to a 25-10 record and a spot in the NCAA Tournament.“I was just learning, watching a lot of film, picking the coaches’ brains — just working on everything that I haven’t been able to work on,” Reinhardt said. “Finally having a year off to just work on my game and get better, just looking at all the little things I was doing wrong and trying to improve.”Other returning members to this year’s squad include the three juniors, guards Chass Bryan and Brendyn Taylor and forward Strahinja Gavrilovic. A trio of sophomores makes up the rest of the team, guards Kahlil Dukes and Devon Pflueger and forward Samer Dhillon.This team has a tall task ahead of it if it wants to improve upon its last place finish in the Pac-12 during the 2013-2014 campaign. Defense will play a key part in the Trojans’ quest for a competitive season, something that has already been preached to the players.“Our three principles are active feet, active hands, active mouth,” McLaughlin said. “We just try to take that to the game and cause chaos.”The team takes on quite the ambitious schedule with matchups against Utah State, New Mexico and Boston College. USC heads on the road early into the season when they compete in the Charleston Classic from Nov. 20-23. Throughout the season, the Trojans are scheduled to face a potential 11 games against teams that competed in the 2014 NCAA Tournament and an additional 10 games against teams that played in a postseason tournament.“The Pac-12 is an excellent conference. Reloaded this year with some very good recruits around the league and actually in coaching,” Enfield said. “That’s what we’re here for. We brought in some young, talented players, guys like Nikola [Jovanovic], Julian Jacobs, who played a lot last year as freshmen. That’s what it’s all about: competing at the highest level. We need to take that as a challenge and elevate our program to where some of the other teams in the league are.”The Trojans get to start off at home in the Galen Center on Saturday, Nov. 15 when they host Portland State. Portland State finished 17-15 last season and will return three starters to their lineup. USC won the only other meeting these two teams have ever had: 87-78 way back in 1978. Tip off for the season opener is at 7:30 p.m. The Trojan basketball team will start its season at home on Saturday as it hosts Portland State in the season opener. USC will be led by second-year head coach Andy Enfield, who welcomes a brand new group to start the year. USC only has eight returning players from last year’s squad, which finished last in the Pac-12 at 11-21 and 2-16 in conference play. The team lost its leading scorer and rebounder, Byron Wesley, who transferred to Gonzaga, and now welcomes six new players — four freshmen and two transfers. Of the team’s 14 players, there are no seniors, and the roster doesn’t feature a center. Eleven players are either freshmen or sophomores and the other three are juniors. Though the team is not all that experienced, the Trojans will look to lean on their talent to win games and compete every night.Super Serbian · Sophomore Nikola Jovanovic, who hails from Belgrade, Serbia, will bolster USC’s men’s basketball team this year. The 6-foot-11 forward averaged 8.0 points and 4.4 rebounds while playing an average of 20.8 minutes per game in his debut campaign at USC last year. – Brian Ji | Daily Trojanlast_img read more

BH looks to extend its dominance

first_imgJoey Labuz went down in newspaper lore as the hero of all heroes last year. This year, the Dirty Bird is hoping that after the game, they know what the fuck just happened.[/media-credit]It’s a sad, simple truth in college athletics: Each team’s stars shine brightly then move on to bigger fields.So with a third consecutive softball win and third straight victory in any athletic contest over the Dirty Bird on the line, who will step up for The Badger Herald in the 2011 softball game (ESPNU, 4 p.m.)?Last year’s walkoff winner, Joey Labuz, is in the whore herself, Ann Arbor, mashing grad school exams rather than home runs. Slugging first baseman Sean Kittridge is doing…something else, it is assumed. Diminutive news editor Alex Brousseau was last seen scaling bookshelves in the Law Library, looking completely disheveled.But BH ace Michael Bleach will once again take the Vilas Park mound for the Gentleclowns, intent on striking bitches out with a beer in hand. Shortstop and sports editor Max Henson returns after an offseason training regimen that involved scooping up grounders and firing throws to first base using only his feet.“I just needed to make the game challenging again,” Henson said while juggling knives and filleting a poisonous blowfish. “It’s just the Dirty Bird; I can afford to take some creative liberties.”And like any good organization, there’s more talent coming up in the pipelines. State Editor Andrew Averill has been referred to by scouts as “a pure, natural hitter.” Asked to comment on his talent, Averill stated, “Dude, I don’t even need a bat,” following that up with suggestive gestures toward his crotchal region.Other veteran Gentleclowns will also be called upon to take bigger roles. Following three mysterious months in Slovakia, BH News Editor Carolyn “Just Call Me Ms. Go Nasty” Briggs has returned with a prodigious knack for getting on base, as well as what might be a mental disorder.“I don’t give a fuck. I want to see blood,” Briggs said while gnawing on may have at one point been a squirrel. “We’re going to win. We’re going to win so hard. And they’ll bleed.”Arts Content Editor Sarah Witman will make her BH debut at third base. Witman’s fastball has been clocked at 107 mph, but she’ll keep her Flaming Arm of Legends at the hot corner, in the interest of fairness.It may be early in the season, but already several Gentleclowns who were expected to contribute will watch from the dugout. News Content Editor Addie Blanchard is currently on 13 different kinds of antibiotics and two spyware removers to combat a bout of what might be the Black Death. Deputy Design Director Alex Laedtke is questionable with a case of fishbowl overindulgence. Editor-in-Chief Kevin Bargnes will not be playing either, because, well, he slipped on an icy hill and broke the shit out of his leg.And pending league approval, Editorial Board member Jake Begun has been traded to Houston for a handle of Jack Daniels and a hug.Hoping to engineer the next chapter in Herald athletic dominance, Managing Editor Adam Holt said the Gentleclowns will try out a new defensive alignment, akin to the Ortiz Shift. But instead of moving the infielders over, it involves moving all the outfielders to the edge of the infield so they have a better view of Dirty Birders grounding out weakly to the left side.“It’s more of a mental thing than anything else,” Holt said. “If they actually do still have any self-esteem, this should crush it once and for all.”The deck may already be stacked against the BH, so to speak, as Mayor-elect Paul Soglin will be umpiring the game. The former Mifflin Street Block Party statistic’s daughter is a graphic editor for the Dirty Bird, but sources say league officials will keep close tabs on Soglin, lest they decide to replace him as mayor with that other guy who is essentially the same guy, except younger.The game will finally be waged after hundreds of hours of negotiation that make the NFL labor situation look like a disagreement over how much to tip at Denny’s. The Dirty Bird’s incredible, inflexible insistence the game be held Saturday, April 16 is the object of much scrutiny from league pundits, who wonder if the Dirty Bird is hoping the bleak forecast (40 degrees, rain, with a chance of overbearing sadness) will cause the Herald to simply forfeit.“Every other Friday and Saturday in April and May simply won’t work,” DB editor-in-chief Emma Roller said. “We need to give ourselves some kind of chance, and the scenario where we don’t actually play the game sounds most likely to succeed.”A league source who asked to remain anonymous said the date also marks a rare linear alignment of Earth, Venus and Mercury. This coincides with an ancient Bacchanalian rite, which is said to help those with child-like tolerances for alcohol hold their liquor better than a high school junior who’s never had anything harder than UV Blue, which currently describes the drinking ability of the average Dirty Birder.Sports Illustrated’s “Truth and Rumors” section seems to confirm this, indicating there have been numerous goat sacrifices taking place in the Vilas basement.Meanwhile, the Gentleclowns have been training in a more old-fashioned way. Advertising Director Bree Bunzel has put the BH roster on a strict regimen involving bathing in Everclear and relying on brandy for hydration.“I mean, yeah, there’s the game, but there’s also the drinking part,” Bunzel said. “I assume we’ll be playing flip cup with the Cardinal’s leftover beer, to put the exclamation point on the victory.”Why the Dirty Bird’s beer?“Well, Lord knows we won’t have any left by then.”last_img read more