Basketball season is better off forgotten

first_imgUSC men’s basketball season is, mercifully, over. Your 2013-2014 Trojan squad went 11-21, which isn’t completely terrible, and 2-16 in conference play, which is completely terrible (those figures count Wednesday’s 59-56 loss to Colorado in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament). Somehow, it’s not even the Trojans’ worst season in the last three years, as USC’s 2011-2012 team went 6-26, and 1-17 in conference play.Big finish · Senior center Omar Oraby ended his career at USC yesterday with 10 points, seven rebounds and three blocks in a loss to Colorado. – Ricardo Galvez | Daily TrojanTo be fair, this USC team was not as terrible as its exceptionally terrible record. If you happened to catch Wednesday’s loss to the Buffaloes, you watched a surprisingly close game — USC actually had a game-tying three-point attempt go begging at the buzzer.All year, the Trojans have shown that they have the raw talent to remain competitive with most teams, but lack the experience to put a complete game together. In fact, 10 of their 17 losses in Pac-12 play came by 10 points or less.This was, of course, the Trojans’ first year under head coach Andy Enfield, hired last year after he and his former Florida Gulf Coast team captivated the nation with their run to the Sweet 16 — not to mention their high-flying dunks and downright exciting style of play, earning them the nickname “Dunk City.”Though never considered a reasonable expectation, the hope was that Enfield would come to Troy and instill the “Dunk City” mindset over at Galen Center. But one glance at the mess of a roster he inherited made it apparent that that would be impossible — at least for this year. Try as they might to run the court, USC games inevitably grinded to a slow halt, a steady “clank” of bricks hitting the Trojan basket.By the end of the season, commentators on USC basketball games were noting that it was, in fact, the Trojans’ opponents who were trying to up the tempo of the game.No one expected USC to legitimately contend this year, but few could have predicted the Trojans being as bad as they were. Perhaps an appropriate prediction would have been “competitive” — obviously that did not come to fruition.So what will the case be next year? Disappointingly below already low expectations for yet another year?Obviously it’s way too early to render a judgment on Enfield, but it’s hard to say year one was a step in the right direction. What if next year is exactly like this year was supposed to be? Better than this year, certainly, but still not real progress.Honestly, the question creeps into my mind as to whether USC basketball is even worth caring about. It is still regarded as the No. 2 sport at this school, although these past few seasons prove it certainly doesn’t deserve to be.In my four seasons here, the Trojans have lost an astounding 80 games (out of 130, good — or bad — for a .385 winning percentage). And that includes a trip to the opening round of the NCAA Tournament in 2011, where an eventual Final Four team (Virginia Commonwealth) blew them out.With incoming freshmen Jordan McLaughlin and Malik Price-Martin, Enfield and the Trojans bring in two of the program’s higher-profile recruits since DeMar DeRozan back in 2008. Both are four-star recruits — but then again, so was guard J.T. Terrell, who scored a mere five points in his last game as a Trojan on Wednesday.There is a culture of losing around USC basketball, so it makes sense that Enfield is trying to bring in a fresh roster and a fresh start. Next year will be the first time the roster actually has his handprints on it.We’ll see how it turns out.Nick Burton is a senior majoring in broadcast and digital journalism. His column, “Any Given Saturday,” runs Thursdays, ironically. To comment on this story, visit or email Nick at [email protected]last_img read more