Imagine if every summer for more than 30 years, young Trojans in the NBA — some of them already All-Stars — kept returning to USC's North Gym or the Sports Arena or now the Galen Center to play pickup games.I love this time of year.
And imagine if year after year, Bill Sharman, Tex Winter, Paul Westphal, Bob Boyd, Stan Morrison, George Raveling and Henry Bibby — all of them with some connection to USC — got together with Tim Floyd to play golf, talk basketball and hold a coaching clinic.
That is what USC is up against in North Carolina.
"They've got the best tradition in the world," said Trojans guard Lodrick Stewart, who remembers playing at the Dean E. Smith Center as a sophomore. "You look up and see all the best names — James Worthy, Sam Perkins, Michael Jordan — players I grew up idolizing. You just look at them and are like, 'Man, I'm on the same court and sitting in the same chairs where the best played.' "
Never mind that the Smith Center opened after Jordan, Worthy and Perkins finished their careers. And Stewart and his teammates don't have to face NBA greats, just Tyler Hansbrough and a batch of talented freshmen, when they play the Tar Heels in an NCAA tournament East Regional semifinal Friday at East Rutherford, N.J.
Tar Heels' Tradition Wins Big (Los Angeles Times, 22 March 2007)
Hat tip: Greg