Velltray Jefferson, a three-star wide receiver from Edison High School in Fresno, decommitted from USC on Thursday night.
He hasn’t exactly been inundated with offers since he originally committed to USC so maybe he got dropped. Perhaps superhuman assistant coach Donte Williams, creator of recruiting, made the call.
But Jefferson is 6-foot-4 and USC loves wide receivers, so maybe he just decided to look elsewhere.
- USC patted itself on the back on social media for the long line of students to get into the Galen Center on Thursday night. But it neglected to mention most were there because USC gave the first 1,000 a free DeMar DeRozan jersey. A lot of students bailed after the halftime ceremony honoring DeRozan.
- USC actually called it a “”jersey honoring” instead of a “jersey retirement,” for DeRozan. The other USC (South Carolina) actually has a policy on this: “I’m in favor of retiring jerseys, where the number can still be used,” athletic director Ray Tanner said. “I think we’re way behind across the board in all sports in retiring jerseys. Not numbers, because we still got to keep numbers.”
- New USC baseball coach Jason Gill makes his debut tonight vs. Western Michigan at Dedeaux Field. The buzz I hear is that Gill’s made a lot of improvements since he replaced Dan Hubbs. But the proof will come with performances.
- Former USC QB Jack Sears is no longer going to San Diego State and is looking for a new school. Boston College might be a possibility.
And now, a lot of history:
- Before Heritage Hall opened in 1971, the athletic dept. squeezed into offices on the second floor in the Student Union, which is directly across from Tommy Trojan.
There was an office for the football coach. An office for his assistant coaches. An office for the athletic director. A track office. An office shared by baseball and basketball. Peter Daland, the swim coach, and Charlie Graves, the gymnastics coach, had offices in the P.E. Building. Graves was gymnastics coach and a P.E. professor from 1928-57.
Why did marquee sports basketball and baseball share an office? Rod Dedeaux worked at his successful business and was only around during baseball season, plus he was good friends with basketball coach Forrest Twogood. Their office would include Bob Kolf, a basketball assistant and one of the baseball assistant coaches. They had one phone with a long cord to to share among themselves.
There would also be children running around the offices, like Mark Davis, the current Raiders owner, whose father, Al Davis, was a USC assistant coach, in the 1950’s. John McKay had his sons running around too in the 1960’s.
When Al Davis was at USC, he brought in his confidant, Al LoCasale, to be USC coach Don Clark’s personal assistant.
“I never saw him with Don Clark, he was always with Al Davis,” said a USC athletic dept. employee who worked with them.
Keep in mind USC was often the No. 1 athletic program in the nation and amassed 50 NCAA titles during the period the athletic dept. was shoe-horned into the Student Union building.
- One day, I will tell some of the horror stories of discarded trophies/historical items when Heritage Hall also became overwhelmed.
- Here’s a game program from the 1953 “Los Angeles Basketball Week” Tournament at the Pan-Pacific Auditorium. USC, UCLA, Michigan State and Iowa were the participants.
The cover photo features Michigan State players (from front to rear) Keith Stackhouse, Rickey Ayala, Julius McCoy, Bob Armstrong and Al Ferrari. Ayala was the first African-American basketball player at Michigan State. McCoy was also African-American.
So that means in 1953, Michigan State had two African-American players; UCLA had three (Willie Naulls, Johnny Moore, Morris Taft) and Iowa had one (McKinley “Deacon” Davis). USC had none
When USC played No. 1-ranked San Francisco with Bill Russell and K.C. Jones in 1955, the Dons had five African-American players. USC had none.
USC would not have an African-American player on its varsity basketball team until 1959 (Verne Ashby).
Here’s two questions:
1.) Why did USC coach Forrest Twogood wait so long to integrate his basketball teams? The answer seems obvious. Especially when you consider the USC football team had tailback Addison Hawthorne in 1952, the first African-American football player in 27 years.
Twogood was inducted into the USC Hall of Fame in 2012 and I guarantee you no one thought of this shameful aspect of his program. In Twogood’s last season, 1965-66, there were only two African-American players on the USC team. It is appalling to write about this even 60-70 years later.
Now for the second question:
2.) Did USC’s segregation policies contribute at all to UCLA’s dynasty? I can’t imagine there was much good word-of-mouth among African-American high school players regarding USC during the Twogood era.