L.A. gains a Bruin, usc loses two more trojans: Matt Barnes signs with the Purple & Gold while Cardinal & Gold WR’s Carswell and Patterson resign from the “trojan for life” club
Despite Jerry Buss’ trojan affiliation, it will still be okay for Bruin fans to root for the Lakers in 2010-11: They just signed a Bruin to the team. Since the players are more important than a semi-retired Owner with one foot in the grave, the addition of UCLA’s Matt Barnes to the Laker roster is a godsend for Laker/Bruin fans.
Barnes actually got into a tiff with Kobe last year, while Barnes was playing for Orlando. Surprisingly, Barnes was doing a stellar job guarding Kobe, inspiring memories of Ruben Patterson, who always seemed to rise to the occasion as a “Kobe-Stopper.” But Barnes was a little too aggressive in disrespecting the Hall of Famer, and was a little too thug-like for Kobe’s taste. So the two almost came to blows, and Kobe never really put Barnes in his place.
Apparently, the whole situation did NOT sour Kobe on Barnes, or Matt wouldn’t be a Laker now. Kobe is not the GM, but he must have veto power. But Kobe must be impressed with guys who stand up to him: Ron Artest got in Kobe’s face the year before the Lakers picked him up, and last week, Kobe tried to recruit Raja Bell, who tussled with Kobe, and actually got suspended for taking Bryant down with a clothesline tackle in the Playoffs.
Hopefully Barnes won’t have to be the “Bad Cop” enforcer-type in L.A. The Lakers already have Artest to lay down the law, and that may allow Barnes to concentrate on the finesse elements of his game. Bruin fans watched Barnes develop a decent outside shot while in Westwood, and playing with Kobe and Gasol. Barnes could see tons of open jumpers, like the ones that Boston was BEGGING Artest to launch during the Finals, by barely guarding him. It’s quite possible that Barnes could end up contributing more than Jordan Farmar and Trevor Ariza did during the Back-to-Back Title Run, while turning the run into a Back-to-Back-to-Back, all three with a Bruin touch.
The Lakers signed Guard Steve Blake recently, and added Center Theo Ratliff yesterday, to round out a definite Championship-caliber roster. Blake, like Barnes, can hit those open jumpers, and Ratliff can hold down the fort during Gasol’s breathers and Andrew Bynum’s injury rehab stints. Ratliff is a 14-year Vet, who has led the League in Blocked Shots on more than one occasion. The Lakers’ Second String will be TOUGH.
Speaking of Second Strings. the trojan football team may not even HAVE a Second String this year. Another two players ticketed for back-up duty have bailed on the trojans: Wide Receivers Brandon Carswell and Travon Patterson. Carswell is going to Cincinnatti to join another former trojan Receiver Vidal Hazelton, and Patterson is headed to Colorado. Now, both of them should see a Bowl Game at the end of this season, without tuning to ESPN, like their former trojan teammates will have to do.
However, I don’t think sc is losing much. The trojans did NOT have much ahead of them, yet neither one could crack the top of the Depth Chart, even for the upcoming year. And there were only THREE other Scholarship Receivers on the Roster! Not only that, but the trojans have THREE incoming Receiver Recruits who are all total STUDS. My prediction: The trojans will set an ALL-TIME NCAA Record for Most Receiving Yards by a trio of Frosh.
For those of you who think that losing Mike Garrett will hurt sc’s “Inner City” drawing power, the timing of these departures — one day after Garrett was axed — would seem to support your supposition. However, these two have supposedly been planning on leaving for the last two weeks, and would have bolted regardless of Garrett’s fate.
And speaking of ex-trojans, an ex-trojan Coach has gobbled up a UCLA reject: Washington Huskies Coach Steve Sarkissian just added theft suspect Josh Shirley to UW’s incoming class. Sarkissian claims that the incident is NOT indicative of Shirley’s upbringing, or of what kind of person Shirley is. GOOD. I’m just glad that Coach Neuheisel didn’t say the exact same thing, which is just an excuse to let this kid skate on what started out as a Felony arrest.
With the shock of usc’s Sanctions still lingering in the air, this is no time for UCLA to go soft and not exercise Neu’s Zero Tolerance policy, which he basically promised to uphold when he was hired. Hopefully, the other two suspects will also go away. With the NCAA on the warpath recently, probing the hell out of Florida, North Carolina AND South Carolina right now, this is not the time to invite extra scrutiny, by welcoming unscrupulous people onto the team.
And finally, speaking of personas non grata, Bruin Offensive Lineman Stan Hasiak won’t be playing this year, due to academic issues. He is now expected to Redshirt this season, and then come back a well-read Monster, for 3 huge years. Meanwhile, it looks like by the middle of the year, Kevin Prince will be running for his life once again. Hey Norm: Think “Draw Plays,” “Screens,” and lots of Misdirection.