Yes, the Trojans lost their first game against a team not from the nether regions of the country.
Yes, the Trojans gave up a 15-point lead to a less-than-stellar Seton Hall team.
And no, their blowout win against Chattanooga proves nothing except that USC can only win against teams with four or more syllables in their name. Three or less syllables, and they are 0-1.
(ESPN should hire me for their broadcast statistics...seeing as though this is the kind of crap they feed us day after day. Honestly, who wants to know the amount of wins Brett Favre has racked up against a west team with an injured left outside linebacker when he’s wearing a jersey with a primary color?)
Yet, there is a shining light for USC Basketball.
The season has not progressed long enough to make a full analysis of how this team will progress. But, there are a few glimmers of promise already showing through the darkness for this Trojan basketball squad.
1. Number Won: For the first time in four years, the Trojans won the first basketball game on their schedule. They couldn’t do it against the Bears, the Gamecocks, or even the Matadors. Too intimidating. Thank the basketball gods for the Anteaters.
Quick quiz: The last team USC defeated before this horrible four-year streak? You got it—the Anteaters.
2. The Taj Mahal: The junior forward Taj Gibson has given the college world hope that some star talent still can resist the lure of the draft for something more pure. Gibson has failed to disappoint his ‘SC faithful, racking up an average of 19 points, 11 rebounds, and four blocks per game through his first three games.
This has made up for the volatile performance of Demar DeRozan, which brings me to...
3. The Other Freshman: Trojan fans, meet Leonard Washington. Yes, Demar DeRozan will emerge as the most talented and most important freshman on this team. His explosiveness will dictate opponents’ strategy.
Yet Leon Washington is quietly becoming a model of consistency for the Cardinal and Gold. Averaging only 20 minutes of play, he has scored about nine points and grabbed nearly seven rebounds per game. Factor in his stellar defensive performance against New Mexico, in which he had four steals in only 18 minutes, and you have yourself a solid freshman forward.
Did I mention that the man is 6'7"?
Yes, USC lost an upset early on. But this will be no Jacquizz Rodgers of a loss—the Trojans will recover from this tip-off tragedy, and fulfill the strong expectations that they have for the season.