The just-concluded NBA Finals are a good reminder that neither Kawhi Leonard nor Klay Thompson played at USC.
But they easily could have been Trojans.
Leonard, who played at King High School in Riverside, was considered a “mid-major post” player by the USC coaching staff and never offered a scholarship. UCLA, Arizona, Washington and Arizona State also neglected to offer Leonard and he signed with San Diego State.
Thompson, who played at Santa Margarita, actually wanted to play at USC. But USC coach Tim Floyd had a commitment from Malik Story, who could not get admitted and went to Indiana and then Nevada. USC coaches actually wanted to sign Thompson but by the time Floyd agreed after he went and saw Thompson play, Thompson had already signed with Washington State.
It’s hardly a USC thing. Leonard was only offered by San Diego State while Thompson was only offered by Washington State before signing. Imagine the team the Trojans could have had with those players.
- USC is supposed to announce Jason Gill of Loyola Marymount as its new baseball coach today. The coaching search had a couple benefits: It got Grand Canyon coach Andy Stankiewicz an extra year on his contract and probably got UC Santa Barbara coach Andrew Checketts a nice raise to remain with the Gauchos.
- Is the fact former Stanford sailing coach John Vandemoer was sentenced to only one day in prison a good sign for ex-USC women’s water polo Jovan Vavic?
Maybe not. The judge was lenient on Vandemoer because the government struggled to identify a “gain” or “victim.” No fake student-athletes were admitted and he didn’t pocket any money. The federal indictment named Vavic in the case of falsified athletic credentials for two individuals. It also said Vavic used some of the money for personal expenses, including tuition at Loyola High School.
- McKinnley Jackson is one of the top defensive tackles in the nation. But when the George County, Miss., prospect showed up at the USC Elite Camp this week, something unthinkable occurred. Most of the coaching staff had no idea who he was. This is hard to believe given that Rivals lists him as the No. 6 defensive tackle in the country.
“He weighs over 300 pounds and comes to the camp and the USC coaches are saying, `Who is this big kid?’ “ said a high school coach who was at the camp Monday and Tuesday. “They were genuinely excited because they said they never heard of him.”
USC coaches might not have known about Jackson but they saw enough to offer him a scholarship this week. Hey, at least they didn’t treat like Kawhi Leonard and never offer him.
- And finally . . . I said last week I would tell a story I’ve heard regarding the famous George Atkinson hit of Lynn Swann in 1976, which can be viewed here. A former NFL player from that era swears to me that one of Swann’s teammates in Pittsburgh offered $1,000 if a Raider took out Swann and Atkinson obliged.
This incident would sound outlandish but I’ve previously mentioned Swann isn’t exactly popular with many of his USC teammates either.