USC: Steve Lopes

Basketball: Brazil trip begins Friday

August, 11, 2011
8/11/11
4:51
PM PT
Trojans coach Kevin O'Neill and his team practiced one last time Thursday before they jet off for a land far, far away on Friday, as they'll spend the next 10 days in Brazil and land back in Los Angeles Aug. 21.

Thursday's session was quick, lasting under an hour. But it served its primary purpose all the same: to cement O'Neill's vision of the starting lineup and bench roles. Here's what he has planned for the trip, where the Trojans will play four games against Brazilian professional teams and one scrimmage:

PG: Jio Fontan

SG: Mo Jones

SF: Evan Smith

PF: Aaron Fuller

C: Dewayne Dedmon

Off the bench: F Garrett Jackson, G Greg Allen, G Byron Wesley, G Alexis Moore, C James Blasczyk

O'Neill also plans to play walk-ons Eric Strangis, Tyler Sugiyama and Daniel Munoz, all guards. Transfer forwards Ari Stewart and Eric Wise are sitting out the 2011-2012 season and are thus not eligible for the trip, per NCAA rules.

Also making the trip with the Trojans is senior associate athletic director Steve Lopes.

In other basketball news, USC has hired a new director of basketball operations, Jamal Boddie, a 2009 graduate of the University of Arizona who worked as a manager for the Wildcats while O'Neill was the head coach. The previous director, Ryan Hennick, spent two seasons on the job before resigning in the offseason.

Kevin O'Neill on his suspension

March, 11, 2011
3/11/11
5:02
PM PT
Talked to USC men's basketball coach Kevin O'Neill briefly Friday afternoon after his Pac-10 tourney suspension was announced. The second-year Trojans coach says he feels worse for his players, who he said have fought hard to get into position to essentially face Arizona for an NCAA tournament bid Friday. Here's more of what he had to say in the aftermath of a Thursday incident that saw he and his wife get into a verbal altercation with a University of Arizona booster:

On his overall feelings about his suspension, which he found out about at 2:15 p.m. today:

I agree with [athletic director] Pat [Haden]'s decision and [senior associate athletic directors] J.K. [McKay] and Steve [Lopes] and all those guys, and respect it. Moving forward, I'm going to hold myself to the highest standard I can.

On whether associate head coach Bob Cantu is well-equipped to handle the team for such a huge game:

It's a huge game for everybody. But it's still the right decision.

On his involvement with the team and Cantu before the game and whether he had helped Cantu with preparation:

I'm at my house right now. I have no involvement in the game at all.

On whether he has discussed coaching in the NCAA tournament with Haden:

We haven't gotten that far yet, but I believe I would be able to coach [in it] -- right now I'm suspended for the Pac-10 tournament.

On his plans to watch the team's 6:10 p.m. game against Arizona and whether he's ever had to do something similar in his coaching career:

I'm going to watch the game from my house. I've never done that. You know what, you've gotta try everything once I guess, right? Hopefully this is the only time.

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