A USC student was killed and another injured on Saturday after their car collided head on with another vehicle in Kern County.Sandy Roberts, a sophomore majoring in cinema-television production, was killed after the car he was riding in passed a truck, lost control and veered into oncoming traffic on highway 46. Roberts died after being transported to Kern Medical Center.Nicole Deane, who was driving the car and is a sophomore majoring in cinema-television production, was airlifted to KMC, and is in stable condition.Deane was driving east on the highway near Annette Street at about 7:30 p.m. when she crashed into a westbound vehicle going 55 or 60 mph, according to police. Deane was trying to steer the car back into the eastbound lanes after passing the truck, but she lost control, police said.“Our hearts go out to the families of those involved and the family of the deceased student,” said James Grant, head of USC’s media relations. “Nothing prepares us for this kind of thing and it’s always a shock to us.”Counseling will be available to students who need it, Grant said.
LOS ANGELES >> The development appears perfectly tailor-made as a Hollywood comeback story, let alone something to feature on one of the Kardashian reality television shows. After going in and out of rehab more than a year after facing a near-death experience at a Las Vegas brothel, former Lakers forward Lamar Odom reached out to Lakers coach Luke Walton to express interest about joining his staff. “Lamar would be great,” said Walton, who played with Odom on the Lakers from 2004 to 2011 and won two NBA championships together. “Anyone that knows Lamar, when he’s right, is one of the most likeable people they’ve been around. I think he has a great knowledge of the game and has a great way of communicating with people.”At this point, though, the possibility does not seem realistic. The Lakers are mindful of Odom’s continuous recovery. Odom was hospitalized in October of 2015 for falling unconscious at a Nevada brothel, an incident that few around Odom expected he would overcome. Within a week, Odom started physical therapy and was transferred to a Los Angeles hospital. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Although Walton has “talked many times over the last year” with Odom, they have not discussed anything recently. There also have not been any conversations with the Lakers on creating an additional position for Walton’s coaching staff formally or informally. Walton currently has an associate head coach (Brian Shaw), four assistants (Jesse Mermuys, Brian Keefe, Mark Madsen, Theo Robertson), an advanced professional scout (Casey Owens) and director of basketball strategy (Clay Moser). Nonetheless, Lakers forward Metta World Peace considered Odom’s presence as valuable because of his positional versatility, team mindset and considerate nature. “Lamar is super skilled,” World Peace said. “I would love to know what did he do to get so good.”Injury update Lakers reserve forward Larry Nance Jr. told Walton he “felt really good” after completing a series of non-contact 2-on-1 drills and shooting exercises before Tuesday’s game against Portland at Staples Center. Still, Walton added Nance “wasn’t explosive” in the drills before expressing doubt he could begin practicing today. Walton predicted Nance’s return to the lineup “will be a gradual thing.”Nance is slated to return as early as Jan. 22 in Dallas, but he expressed optimism earlier this week he could beat that timetable. Talking about practiceAllen Iverson may not have needed it. But Walton has found the last two weeks of practices valuable simply because they have had more. The Lakers have had five home games in the past two weeks, allowing Walton to go over defensive concepts with as much depth as he did in training camp. In related news, Walton has noticed that practice time connected to the Lakers entering Tuesday’s game as winners of three of their past four contests. “We’re having fun,” Walton said. “No one is complaining about shots. No one is complaining about not getting the ball or being part of the offense. That energizes people. That leads us to playing better defense. That leads us to the bench to being more excited.”