Found January 15, 2013 on Fox Sports Arizona:
The changes at Southern California will not stop with new coach Bob Cantu, who Monday morning replaced Kevin ONeill on an interim basis for the rest of the season. Cantu plans to hit the ground running. He wants to play at a faster pace, use more zone defense with twin towers Dewayne Dedmon and Omar Orabi at the back end, and integrate several new players into the rotation. It is a tall order, and it will not happen overnight the Trojans play host to the Oregon schools this week, with newly elevated No. 21 Oregon in town Thursday, and there is only enough time for game preparation. When the UCLA game rolls around at new Pauley Pavilion on Jan. 30, USC might have its own new look. I worked with two great defensive coaches in Tim Floyd and Kevin ONeill, but I also believe I have to adjust to my personnel" Cantu said of 7-foot Dedmon and 7-2 Orabi. "I have two seven-footers, and so I think it is OK to play zone at times to use my length and size at the rim for resistance. I do want to try to speed it up a little bit offensively and try to get easier baskets. Its very difficult to score against five set defenders. I think we need more pressure full-court. We need to try to get turnover pushes, more foul shots and hopefully more offensive rebounding, other ways of scoring other than manufacturing against a set defense. ONeill favored a patterned offense and played almost solely a man-to-man defense as the Trojans opened the season 7-10, 2-2 in the Pac-12. It seemed a curious time for USC to make a coaching change, coming as it did after a 17-point victory at Utah on Saturday, but that in itself seems to indicate the decision already had been made. ONeill was 48-65 in 3 seasons after replacing Floyd in 2009, with injuries and the fallout from the NCAA probation issues surrounding O.J. Mayo muddying his tenure. I was saddened by it, UCLA coach Ben Howland said. I think Kevin is a really good coach. Weve had a friendship that dates decades, and theyve been playing well. Im watching them on tape, because they are our travel partner. I was a little surprised, but it is a part of this business. It was rare to see Dedmon and Orabi on the floor at the same time this season, but it sounds as if that might change, at least when the matchups allow. Washington and Arizona State have big, physical centers, and UCLA has a tall frontline. Dedmon and Orabi have combined to average 14.6 points and 12 rebounds a game while blocking 61 shots. Orabi, a transfer from Rice, is shooting 62 percent from the field in 15 minutes a game. I need to play Omar more minutes. We have to get him the ball, and I have to get him in better condition so he can play longer minutes, Cantu said. Wake Forest transfers guard J.T. Terrell and forward Ari Stewart also could see more time, Cantu suggested. Terrell, whose YouTube videos demonstrate his remarkable athleticism, is the Trojans second-leading at 9.6 points a game, but he is shooting only 31 percent from the floor and had 23 turnovers against eight assists. He was in and out of lineup because of that erraticism and seemed to have a rocky relationship with ONeill. Terrell, 6-feet-3, led five Trojans in double figures with 14 points in the 76-59 victory at Utah, when Dedmon had 13 points, 13 rebounds and five blocked shots. He played under control, so he showed he can do it, Cantu said of Terrell. I told him that I would give him more freedom to play how he can play, but he has to earn it. He has to deserve it. I need him to play more athletic. We need him to score and make shots. He will play a very important role, because I think that will allow Jio (Fontan) to get more looks and for teams not to load up to him if he can score for us. Cantu ended practice Monday by handing out homework. He left his players with a question: Why do they play? Is it height? The scholarship? Notoriety? Answers were expected before Tuesday practice, and Cantu knew what he wanted to hear. I want to know do you really love this game, and do you have passion and do you want to win?" he said. "If you do, lets show it and lets come together and see what we can do. They are a lot of games left, and anything is possible." POLLING PLACE It took a while, but the improved overall level of play in the Pac-12 has drawn national attention. For only the second time this season, the league has three teams in the AP top 25: No. 7 Arizona (15-1), No. 21 Oregon (14-2) and No. 24 UCLA (14-3). Oregon jumped 13 places in the AP poll after sweeping the Arizona schools last weekend, handing Arizona its first loss Thursday, but remains unranked in the coaches poll. UCLA and Oregon are undefeated in Pac-12 play, and the Bruins have won nine in a row, their longest streak in four years. The Ducks have a five-game winning streak. Their match at Pauley Pavilion on Saturday afternoon will be the first between two Pac-12 AP top 25 teams since March 13, 2009, when James Harden-led No. 23 Arizona State beat No. 13 Washington 75-65 in the postseason tournament. Our conference is much better than it was (recently) UCLAs Howland said. Its back to, in my mind, where we were in 07, 08, 09. Its good for our conference. It is good for our national exposure and prestige for the league to have as many teams. With unranked Arizona State (14-3), the Pac-12 has four 14-win teams. The only conference with more is the Big Ten, with five.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES
TROJAN WAR

USC players fought after bowl loss?

It is being reported that 10 to 15 members of the USC Trojans football team were involved in an altercation following the team's loss in the Sun Bowl.

USC recruit decommits after Lane Kiffin pulls scholarship days before he's set to start classes

USC Trojans head football coach Lane Kiffin has done some questionable things during his coaching career. And the latest story involving a recruit alleging that Kiffin pulled his scholarship three days prior to arriving on campus isn't likely to help Kiffin's reputation, either.From Yahoo! Sports:Defensive end Kylie Fitts, a four-star recruit Rivals ranked seventh nationally...

Five Buring Questions: How bad is the state of USC recruiting?

It’s safe to say that of every major program in college football, no team has dealt with more off the field drama than USC over the past several months. The Trojans entered the season ranked No. 1 in the country in most polls, before losing five of their last six games and limping to a 7-6 record overall. Entering 2013 there is little doubt in anyone’s mind that Lane Kiffin is...

Is Kiffin's Time At USC Getting Short?

Lane Kiffin's third year at USC ended with a thud when the Trojans lost to the then 6-7 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on New Years Eve. In a year in which everyone thought the Heisman and crystal football would be making their way to L.A., USC finished the season at 7-6. Kiffin didn't do so bad in his first year, which coincided with the start of USC's bowl ban. He went...

Potential Head Coaches for USC Basketball

Even though conference play has just begun, the college basketball coaching carousel is already in motion. After going 45-61 with only one NCAA Tournament appearance in four years, USC fired coach Kevin O’Neil after yet another slow star for the Trojans. Although known as a football school, USC basketball is a solid coaching job because of the location, academic standing, facilities...

USC fires basketball coach O'Neill

Southern California athletic director Pat Haden says Trojans men's basketball coach Kevin O'Neill has been relieved of his duties. The school says assistant coach Bob Cantu will serve as interim head coach while USC searches for a successor. Haden says in a news release that it became evident to him this season that the program needed new leadership and that it was best...

Recruit decommits from USC after being told he couldn’t early enroll days before he was supposed to early enroll

Lane Kiffin just can’t stop bringing negative attention to the USC program. In the six months alone, Kiffin has lied about his coaches poll vote, prohibited visiting teams from doing walkthroughs at the Coliseum, pulled a walk-ons scholarship to give it to a player fresh out jail, briefly banned a reporter for doing his job, and had to fire a student manager who deflated balls...

Lane Kiffin Says USC Players Argued After Sun Bowl Loss, No Punches Thrown

Yesterday we reported on the rumor that was circulating on the USC Trojans players being involved in a wild brawl between themselves following their embarrassing Sun Bowl loss to Georgia Tech.   Southern Cal head coach Lane Kiffin is now disputing that claim, saying that “his players argued with each other after the loss, but no punches were thrown,” via College Football Talk...

Fontan & USC must 'roll with punches'

USC (7-10, 2-2) must now focus on moving forward through the remainder of its Pac-12 schedule without four-year head coach Kevin O'Neill. O'Neill was let go by athletic director Pat Haden on Monday.

Robey to the NFL

USC junior cornerback Nickell Robey decides to forego his senior season to enter the NFL draft.
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.