College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, November 15, 2010
Last season was a seriously down year for the PAC-10, usually one of the stronger conferences in the national basketball elite, as they sent only two teams - Cal and Washington - to the NCAA tournament.
As a whole, the conference seeks to turn things around in 2010-11, with freshmen adding some spark to otherwise mundane lineups. Down the coast at USC, the Trojans may have found themselves a little magic - and we do mean little - in 5'7" freshman guard, Maurice Jones who lit up Santa Clara for 29 points as the Trojans rolled to their second win of the season, 86-73.
Jones hit 10 of 20 shots from the floor, including 2 of 3 three-point attempts, was 7-for-10 from the charity stripe and dealt four assists. The little man was aided in his offense by USC's big man, 6'10" Nikola Vucevic, who recorded his second double-double with 22 points and 11 boards.
With the nice blend of size and inside-outside play, the Trojans, who were just 16-14 last season, seek a return to top form and a trip to the Big Dance in March. While most of their PAC-10 counterparts are also trying to put together cohesive squads, the Trojans seem to have found a combination that works, thus far.