For some odd reason it became de rigeur in the last year or two for every talking head or sports junkie to spout the adage “(blank)ball is always more entertaining when (blank) is good”. For instance, “Football is always more entertaining when USC is good.” But clearly anyone who says that must be from the East Coast, far, far away from the school most consistently included in the US News & World Report’s annual rankings of Biggest Douchebag Colleges. They obviously believe that the face of the University of Southern California consists of the affable likes of alumni Will Ferrell, George Lucas, etc…, rather than patron saint of frat boys Joe Francis. The truth is that the typical SC alumnus is a smug trust fund kid who can’t wait to film your little angel’s jumblies and fuck up your pension plan.
So logic dictates that a school that is insufferable during the leanest of years, let alone when they’re on the top of the football world, would be even more annoying in the odd seasons that their basketball team is relevant. Admittedly, though, this USC team should be one of this year’s guiltiest pleasures. The combination of OJ Mayo, a freshman more talented than Ricky Davis but without the modesty, a talented supporting cast, and a decent coach (For those of you who get confused, the ex-Iowa State coach who didn’t lick a co-ed while drinking Natural Light.), playing in the most narcissistic city in the world should make for great theater. Their season could end in the Alamo Dome or it could end at the Pepsi Arena at the hands of a school with a mascot that you have no fucking idea what it actually is, neither would surprise me.
So even if the OJ Mayo era consists of only one season of basketball and one semester of sleeping through English 101, we will be there, in the off chance that this OJ will surpass USC’s last OJ for newsworthiness. We’ll start things off with OJ’s first game with the Trojans.
Result: Loss, 96-81
Stats: 32 pts. (12-27 FG, 4-5 FT), 7 rebounds, 4 assists
In yet another season-opening upset for the USC, OJ was every bit as advertised, good and bad. Mayo lit it up with 32, but it came at the expense of 12-27 shooting (4-11 from three). He also had 8 turnovers and was part of a defense that allowed nearly 100 points on 59% shooting to the class of the Atlantic Sun. Still, it’s apparent that even with super-Soph Taj Gibson and the injured Daniel Hackett, the Trojans will be Mayo’s team. They did pay him for a reason.