USC basketball notes: Tournament new to the Trojans
“He’s been through a lot,” Floyd said. “But we still talk four to five times a week, so I’d love for him to be there.” No practice: Floyd canceled practice Monday, deciding to rest players after they played Thursday, Friday and Saturday in their run to the Pac-10 Tournament final. They did report to Galen Center to watch film on Arkansas. [email protected] (818) 713-3607 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “It will definitely be a little nerve-wracking for a lot of people, because no one’s been in it,” Wilkinson said. “But I think that also brings a lot of fire and passion to the game because guys like Nick (Young), Gabe (Pruitt) and (Lodrick Stewart), especially Lod being his senior year, want to prove they can step up and lead this team. If you want to go to the next level, what more perfect opportunity than to lead our team to the Final Four.” Though the players lack NCAA Tournament experience, their coach does not. Tim Floyd has a 4-5 record in five previous trips to the tournament with Iowa State and New Orleans. His last three tournament teams at Iowa State all won at least one game. When USC takes the court Friday to face Arkansas in the NCAA Tournament, it will be unknown territory for every player. USC’s players can only imagine the intensity of being in an NCAA Tournament game, because the last time the team was in the tournament was during the 2001-02 season. Sophomore forward Keith Wilkinson believes that the novelty of this week could be a positive as well as negative for USC. “He knows how to prepare and get ready for big games such as this,” Wilkinson said. “I think that’s really going to help us, especially not having any (tournament experience) on the team.” Floyd’s last trip to the dance was in 1997, when he led Iowa State to the Sweet 16. Iowa State missed the tournament the next season, then Floyd left to the NBA to coach the Chicago Bulls. “It seems unbelievable it’s been 10 years, but it has,” Floyd said. “… It’s always an exciting time, a time I missed when I was in the NBA. I always paid close attention to the games and how my friends were doing around the country.” Haskins invited: Floyd said he invited Don Haskins to attend Friday’s game. Floyd started his career as an assistant at Texas-El Paso under Haskins, who was immortalized in the movie “Glory Road” for starting an all-black team and winning the 1966 NCAA Championship over an all-white Kentucky squad. Floyd said he was unsure if Haskins would be able to make it to the game because of his health. He’s had multiple heart surgeries and needed to have part of his foot amputated due to complications from diabetes, according to Floyd.