The Blue & Gold beat the Cardinal; The Golden Bears beat the Cardinal & Gold; Haden & Co. beg for Mercy, and Johnson wants some reimburse-y
Talk about “Connect Four”…
Four things happened yesterday that might be of interest to fans of The Rivalry, starting with the Bruins stringing together their fourth straight win, beating Stanford 68-57. The game started at 11am, but the Bruins didn’t start until about 11:30am. Playing without concussed Center Josh Smith, the Bruins came out dazed and confused, allowing Stanford to do anything they wanted for the first ten minutes of the game. The Cardinal had a 22-8 lead at that point, when the Bruins finally shook out the cobwebs.
Led by Malcolm Lee in the 1st Half and Lazeric Jones in the 2nd, with the help of Tyler Honeycutt throughout, the Bruins settled down and outplayed the Trees in all facets. UCLA closed out the 1st Half on an 18-5 run, going into the locker room down only 27-26. They took the lead shortly after the break, and about ten game-minutes later, slowly pulled away. The Bruins showed a much-improved ability to take care of the basketball (compared to most of their previous games), and their Defense showed a much-improved ability to force Stanford into taking lower-percentage shots (compared to the awful first ten minutes of the game).
Anthony Stover played some of his best basketball ever, filling in for the injured Smith, Lee scored 23 Points, Jones scored 17 (14 in the 2nd Half), and Honeycutt scored 16, with 8 Rebounds, and FOUR Blocked Shots. Reeves Nelson had another off game — after getting a career-high 24 Points last game — scoring only 4 Points, but he led the Bruins with 10 Boards. But forget individual stats — The whole Bruin team came together on Saturday afternoon, to step up in the powerful Smith’s absence, and overpower the Cardinal.
About 8 hours after the Bruins climbed to 5-2, staying in a tie for 2nd place in the Pac-10, usc choked at home against lowly Cal, losing by 2, 68-66, to fall to 3-4, and into a 4-way tie for 5th place. They had the ball at the end with a chance to pull out the victory, but they bricked an open shot to go down in defeat. And that wasn’t the worst thing that happen to sc yesterday. It was reported on Saturday that ex-trojan Running Back Stafon Johnson is SUING usc for the damages from the weightlifting accident that almost killed him.
Johnson was working out at usc when he dropped a barbell on his throat, nearly losing his life. He required emergency larynx surgery, and incurred astronomical medical expenses. LUCKILY, Stafon recovered, and was actually picked up by an NFL team, but that big-money contract hasn’t stopped him from filing a lawsuit to make usc pay him some more. The details of the complaint are not public knowledge yet, but they are expecting it to concentrate on sc’s Strenght & Conditioning staff failing to have someone “spotting” Johnson while he was pumping iron.
In other words, usc athletics is being sued for violating standard protocol — Blatantly disregarding the well-known rules — and in this case, someone almost died because of their negligence.
And on the very day that this lawsuit about sc’s lack of control comes to light, the trojans were pleading their case to the NCAA, trying to get their sanctions — for lack of institutional control — cut in half. Pat Haden was in Indianapolis, grovelling to the NCAA, trying to make his Football team bowl-eligible this year, and trying to get his scholarship limitations made less severe. Only 1 out of 11 Appeals of this nature have been successful, but because Cam Newton and Ohio State just received leniency, trojan fans think that usc in entitled to leniency as well. However, Haden and his posse are not allowed to introduce ANY NEW evidence in this Appeal. They are only allowed to show why the penalties were unfair in their severity, with OLD evidence… of which they have none. Everything that they got busted for was legit, and the evidence proved that Coaches at sc were aware of it all. To top it off, Mike Garrett went public with his accusations that the NCAA was just jealous of usc, and had an unfair vendetta against them. If the NCAA crumbles under this baseless Appeal, you can bet that lots of bribe money changed hands, because it won’t happen on merit alone, or becuase usc showed the proper contrition.
Speaking of not making it on merit alone, it is just now being confirmed that Norm Chow is leaving UCLA, to become the Offensive Coordinator of the Utah Utes. UCLA plays the Utes this year, as Utah is joining the Pac-12, so Chow will probably get the last laugh. Of course, based on Chow’s production at UCLA, it’s hard to blame Rick Neuheisel for wanting to make a change. And if new O.C. Mike Johnson gets better results — and the Bruins beat Utah — then maybe people will cut Rick some slack for this whole Coordinator chaos. But if they DON’T get better results, Neuheisel and Johnson will both be gone, and they might not get picked up as quickly as Chow was.
There is ONE group at UCLA who CAN stand on their merits, and that’s the Spirit Squad. So here are a dozen photos from 2009, in honor of the Cheerleaders’ YEARS AND YEARS of Meritorious Sevice to the cause.