There are 342 teams in Division 1 College Basketball. Considering that only about 100 or so are competitive, you would assume that every school from the BCS conferences would rank high in the nation’s statistical categories. You would think right? Well, the Trojans are making new meaning of the word “disaster”, as they are 341st in scoring, 339th in assists, a solid 304th in shooting and dead last, yes dead last, in rebounding. Just to clarify once more, there are 342 teams in Division 1.
We all understand the Trojans’ injuries, how they lost Jio Fontan on a trip to Brazil and just recently lost Iowa transfer Aaron Fuller for the remainder of the season. But, you would think that just by means of running the system of a coach with the experience of Kevin O’Neill, that the Trojans would at least be formidable statistically. Right? I mean just going through the motions, they’d have to be better than Slippery Rock or some random liberal arts college in Podunk, Iowa.
I’ve pondered giving O’Neill a pass for the season as recently as the beginning of the Pac-12 season. I thought he’s had too much to overcome to be successful and it wasn’t his fault that the Trojans have struggled due to injuries. But the farther the season progresses, and the more the Trojans continue to collapse and look less motivated with each game, it’s clear that O’Neill has to be held accountable.
Given the injuries, you can’t expect USC to run out and win a Pac-12 title. You can’t even expect 15 to 20 wins, but you should have been able to expect the Trojans to play hard every night and not play like the absolute worst team in America, which they are according to the statistics. And sure, the statistics aren’t everything. I get that. But even an ugly playing team scrapping for every point they get manages to rank higher than 300th in one of the four major categories.
There is too much money invested in USC Basketball for it to be such an embarrassing disservice to the university, as guard Alexis Moore would say. The facilities are top-notch, the Bruins have slipped a little from their Final Four level the last few years, so there’s no reason the Trojans shouldn’t be able to recruit top level players. Yet, traditionally, USC has struggled with that.
If USC Basketball wants to be relevant, the Trojans need a coach who’s ambitious enough to make it happen, and has been there before. Who that guy is, I don’t know. But at least for once, the Trojans need to go after a top coach, and not one who’s flailed in the NBA or NCAA before, but someone who would be qualified to coach at school that the Trojans would ideally like to compete with, like a UCLA, Arizona or Washington.
Something’s gotta give, and Pat Haden needs to act.