And the final chapter: what I learned at USC

first_imgRight about now, hundreds of thousands of high school seniors are making their life-changing decision about which college to attend. Only 3,000 will make the right choice and come to our side of warm, sunny Los Angeles for the next four years.I remember when I made my decision, and then changed it and then changed it back in the span of five minutes. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made.But now, four years later, my time here is coming to an end. After a terrific, some will say legendary, others will say unreplicable, dynastic run for the last two years at Spittin’ Sports, the moment has come to say goodbye. Take a moment to grab a Kleenex and cry — it’s okay. It’s only natural.Before I go, I want to leave the high school seniors from around the world who are attending USC in the fall (because I know Spittin’ Sports has a huge global presence; I found a hooker in the Red Light District in Amsterdam reading it one time), as well as current students with some tips on how to get the most, from an athletic standpoint, out of your time at USC.You incoming freshmen might think you’re ready to be Trojans, but not so fast. Here’s what you need to know how to become a great Trojan like me.First and foremost, no song is requested more at USC sporting events than Fleetwood Mac’s hit, “Tusk.”You might be thinking, “Why is a song about Mic Fleetwood’s junk (seriously, look it up, big rumor out on the Internet) one of the school’s most celebrated songs?” Well, us clever USC students had a little fun and changed the words around a bit. You’ll have to go to a sporting event to truly appreciate it, but it goes along the lines of really not liking a certain school from across town.And that’s a rule. In fact, you are encouraged to remind yourself and everyone around you that you do not like that institution by singing about it at any sporting event, even when we are playing Fairfield University in women’s lacrosse.Next, to be a good Trojan, you must line up outside the Coliseum at least two hours before the gates open (so about four hours before the game starts) to get good seats for football games during your first two years. This is almost a rite of passage. I’m not going to tell you why you should only do this for the first two years, but once you become a junior, you’ll understand.Also, if USC legally qualifies for the Rose Bowl at any point during your time at USC, you need to go. I failed to go when we qualified my freshman and sophomore years with the expectation I would wait until we inevitably played in the national championship to go to the big game. But thanks to the NCAA, that never happened.Which brings me to another important point. USC is not well-liked by a lot of people in the country, much like Notre Dame, because it is so good at everything, unlike Notre Dame. It is totally okay to be arrogant and be comfortable about it. Mind you, there’s a fine line between arrogance and ignorance or repugnance, but you’ll learn the difference.We’ve won three straight national championships in men’s water polo, two straight national titles in men’s tennis, we’re the reigning national champion in women’s water polo and the women’s soccer and golf teams have won national championships in the last four seasons.That’s not to mention men’s volleyball, which has a better record than president Barack Obama did in the first round of his March Madness bracket. So, by the transitive property, yes, the team is better than the President.With all these teams enjoying such great success, don’t go all four years without going to a variety of games. Football and Kevin O’Neill bobblehead night might rule the headlines, but there are so many hidden athletic gems at USC.USC is an institution with one of the richest (literally and figuratively) sporting backgrounds in the country. Football and basketball will climb back up there in a few years. In the meantime, think about how awesome it would be to channel your inner-hipster and tell your grandkids that you saw Amy Rodriguez playing soccer before the country knew Amy Rodriguez playing soccer was cool.Which brings me to my final point. I know USC will never be the same without Spittin’ Sports to get you through class, but do your best to enjoy the four (or five?) years of your life here and take in as much as possible. I couldn’t have asked for anything more in my four years, but it’s time to move on to different pastures, so I leave you with two words:Fight on. “Spittin’ Sports” ran Fridays. To comment on this article email Kenny at or visit read more

Syracuse flashes balanced attack in 61-53 win over Clemson

first_imgIt was an unfamiliar situation for Syracuse as Marek Dolezaj pushed transition. He pulled up near the top of the key and fired a bounce pass to a cutting Oshae Brissett from the left wing.Brissett caught the pass in stride and slammed it home, throwing his hands up as the Carrier Dome crowd erupted and the Orange took an 11-point first-half lead.In its conference home opener, Syracuse (11-4, 2-0 Atlantic Coast) started hot and never looked back, controlling nearly every aspect of the game in a 61-53 win over Clemson (10-5, 0-2) on Wednesday night. For all but 36 seconds, Syracuse sat in the driver’s seat, never trailing. But unlike other big wins this season where Syracuse’s scoring trio — Tyus Battle, Brissett and Elijah Hughes — ran the offense, the Orange uncharacteristically flashed a balanced attack, one that gave them the momentum it needed to win its second-straight conference matchup.It came just four days after Syracuse’s win on the road against Notre Dame, when head coach Jim Boeheim addressed the media about his big three.“They have to show up,” the 43-year head coach said. “If they don’t we aren’t going to win. We depend on those guys.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWhile all three players combined for 35 points against Clemson, shots did not fall as often. Brissett and Battle missed all 10 of their shots from 3 and Hughes shot just 40 percent from the floor.Yet for the first time all year, Syracuse looked comfortable the entire game on its home court. For the second time this season, Frank Howard found himself in double-figures and shot 50 percent from the floor. Dolezaj added 10 points and nailed a pair of 3s, too.“I think (the offense is) really deadly (with four or five scorers),” Dolezaj said, who shot 50 percent from 3. “Usually last year we only had three players who could score. And now we have four, maybe five. We are really getting better.”It gave a glimpse at the potential Syracuse’s offense has, one that wasn’t balanced in any of SU’s nonconference slate, nor its ACC opener at Notre Dame. Brissett, Battle and Hughes accounted for 58 of the Orange’s 72 points in that win.There wasn’t anything different about the offense. SU kept firing 3s despite shooting 23 percent from deep, an area its struggled in all season — outside of Notre Dame. But instead of losing on that precedent, however, SU attacked the paint. The five starters combined for a 62 percent clip from inside the arc, and Bourama Sidibe added a make off the bench.Tony Coffield | Contributing Photographer“No one had a huge night,” said Battle, who finished with 12 points and three assists. “Thought we were all just being aggressive and looking for our shot and trying to make something happen on the offensive end. And that’s how we have to play.”Syracuse’s defense held its own the entire game, stymieing a Clemson offense that entered Wednesday ranked 10th in the country in 2-point field goal percentage, per Sidibe, just days after making two huge defensive stops against Notre Dame, blocked three shots in 16 minutes.All the while, Paschal Chukwu, SU’s former starting center, sat on the bench in his long-sleeved orange shirt and white headband. Dolezaj and Sidibe rotated in and out for each other. For the first time all season, Chukwu didn’t log a single minute and Boeheim added postgame he was not battling injury.There were times when Clemson had an opportunity to claw its way back into the game, though. Early in the second half, the Tigers made back-to-back 3s to cut the deficit to just two possessions. Soon after, SU flashed a full-court press to combat the Tigers’ slight momentum shift.A Clemson turnover then resulted in a Dolezaj 3 from the right wing. On the next play, another turnover ended up with a Hughes 3 from the top of the key. Each time, the Carrier Dome crowd grew louder.Syracuse eviscerated the Clemson momentum by creating turnovers. The Tigers rank 273th in the country in offensive turnover percentage and turn the ball over 14.6 times per game. By game’s end, Clemson had 17 turnovers. Two came in the opening minutes, with Dolezaj drawing a pair of charges against the Clemson big men. There were strips inside the paint and errant passes trying to push the tempo, trying to beat SU full-court press that formed mid game.“One of the keys when we got (up) six, we pressed,” Boeheim said. “We got two big turnovers and scores and went up 12. The press served as purpose … and that gave us enough separation.”Whatever Clemson tried, Syracuse had an answer for. The Tigers shot a season-worst 35.8 percent from the field and couldn’t figure out how to buck its season-long 3-point woes.While Syracuse’s offense regressed slightly in the second half, the Orange never lost control, staying the course as an eight-point halftime lead turned into an eight-point win.After four nonconference losses, the Orange stumbled into ACC play with added importance on each game. No SU team has ever made the NCAA Tournament with four nonconference losses. Starting off conference play with a pair of wins became necessary for a Syracuse team beginning to find its groove. And through the efforts of its rarely-seen balanced attack on Wednesday, the Orange may have help outside of their scoring trio.“Takes a lot of pressure off our main scorers,” said Brissett. “We have guys that can really come in and make a spark.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on January 9, 2019 at 10:15 pm Contact Charlie: | @charliedisturcolast_img read more

Year 2016: A year of big money sport deals

first_imgShare on: WhatsApp Paris, France | AFP | Money flooded into sport in 2016 faster than ever before and flooded out in the shape of fatter salaries for the stars who have become multi-million business brands.Paul Pogba’s world record transfer to Manchester United set the tone for a year of big money deals that handed the French 23-year-old wealth beyond the dreams of most of his Old Trafford fans.But even Pogba has got a long way to go to catch up with gold-plated stars like Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and his Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo, the world’s highest paid athlete according to Forbes, who banks just short of $1.7 million (1.6 million euros, £1.4 million) a week in salary and endorsements.Pogba’s five-year contract to join United may have raised eyebrows among football fans and critics but top-flight managers and sports business insiders had already priced-in mega transfer inflation.The explosion of TV rights made the Pogba contract possible, flooding the coffers of the English Premier League, making a mockery of economic austerity and the jobless queues.And the tide of high finance in sport did not stop there. TV income rose 40 percent for Germany’s Bundesliga while the US NBA enjoyed a vintage financial year and Formula One motor racing attracted a multi-billion dollar US takeover bid.Three years after Welshman Gareth Bale set a world record transfer figure of 101 million euros (around £80 million) for his move to Real Madrid, Pogba upped the ante with his 105 million-euro transfer to Manchester in August despite his failing to set sparks flying for France in Euro 2016.Former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson told the Daily Mail that the moment the £8.3 billion ($10.75 billion, 9.6 billion euros) domestic TV deal covering 2016-2019 was signed between the Premier League and Sky Sports and BT Sport, “transfer values and salaries were going to go up.”– Star power – The result was not long in coming. Premier League clubs spent 1.38 billion euros during the 2016 summer transfer market window, 34 percent up on the previous year.The British game’s star power also spilled over into foreign markets, where broadcast rights sell to the highest bidder. The biggest deal to date was signed in November with Chinese video streaming service PPTV for 600 million euros.Elsewhere in Europe the Bundesliga cashed in hugely with a TV deal worth 3.48 billion euros over the next three years, a near 40 percent jump on the past year.If economic hardship tightened the purse strings somewhat in some other parts of Europe, the cash flowed thick and fast in basketball in the United States, where TV income tripled and the sport generated global revenue of $5.2 billion (4.8 billion euros) with operating profit of $900 million, a record, according to Forbes.At the same time, NBA clubs saw their value rise by an average 13 percent with the New York Knicks topping the financial league at $3 billion.With TV income up sharply since last year — and slightly higher than Premier League levels — NBA clubs are pushing up salaries, with LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers seeing his $23 million dollar paycheck boosted to $30.9 million for the 2016/17 season.Formula One was also a big winner in the financial stakes. The sport deemed to be in severe decline still managed to attract the high rollers with US firm Liberty Media, run by billionaire John Malone, buying out F1’s parent company in a deal which values the sport at $8 billion.Formula One is gambling on gaining more exposure worldwide, including in the United States, hoping to generate an even wider revenue stream in the future. Logically, that will translate as even more money in the bank for the big stars.last_img read more