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  • Defense Wins (Pac 12 or maybe even National?) Championships.

    And USC has the chance to be so very special on defense this upcoming season. Of course, that depends on status of De'Anthony, the best on-ball defender that we have and one of the best in the nation, imo. The only drawback with DM is his gambling, but our zone covered his risks nicely last season. With he and Chimezie, we have 2 of the best defenders in the country at their respective position.

    Further, Jordan and Elijah both have the potential to be all-league caliber defenders. For both, consistency is the key. Both guys, as mentioned above, have excellent closeout ability in the zone. Jordan is limited by strength and Elijah by overall speed but both, when they play all out, are very good defenders.


    One more note on perimeter defense: Derryck Thornton can D. He is a very good defender and with the guys above, could help to provide one of the best lock-down backcourts in the country. His defense was even the subject of an (albeit fluff) article while at Duke (source: http://www.dukechronicle.com/article...nse-key-in-d-c). Key excerpt:

    Although the offense has not always been there, Thornton has delivered important contributions on the other end of the court. He has faced off against some of the most seasoned and talented point guards in college basketball—from Kentucky’s Tyler Ulis to Virginia’s London Perrantes and Tar Heel Marcus Paige—and kept up with the
    "Ever since I was young, my dad stressed to me how important defense was," Thornton said before the season began. "If you score and then lock down your defender, you’re going to win. It’s not all about offense. I really think that basketball starts on defense."

    When Duke hosted N.C. State Feb. 6, Thornton was tasked with containing the most proficient scorer in the ACC in Anthony "Cat" Barber. The freshman held him to just nine points on 3-of-6 shooting from the floor in the first half, staying in front of him and not letting him get open looks in the lane. Although Barber came alive for 17 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field in the final 20 minutes,Thornton was only responsible for guarding him during select stretches of that period.

    The Blue Devils then entered their toughest four-game stretch of the season, which for Thornton meant a murderer's row of standout point guards. After scoring four points in a win against Louisville Feb. 8,Thornton was matched up with Perrantes—the ACC's most accurate 3-point shooter at 50.8 percent—who did not even attempt a 3-pointer and just scored eight points in his 39 minutes in a one-point Duke win.

    If Thornton's defensive contributions had not been celebrated to this point in the season, they took center stage when the Blue Devils traveled down Tobacco Road to take on then-No. 5 North Carolina. Sophomore Grayson Allen's two free throws with just more than a minute remaining put Duke up by one, and after the two sides exchanged misses, the Tar Heels had one more opportunity to pull ahead. On the game's final play, the ball fell into the hands of sophomore guard Joel Berry II, who tried to chuck up a last-ditch effort over Thornton, but the young guard responded with a stifling block to secure the Blue Devil upset.

    "Either he’s going to make it or I’m going to get a stop, so I really put everything on the line to stop him," Thornton said.




    Obviously, our style of play is not exactly conducive to keeping teams in the 50s. USC is not Virginia or Cincinnati. But with Derryck, DM and Jordan....USC has 3 guys that have elite ability to get into passing lanes and turn the defense into instant offense.

    We have the individual defenders to pick up full if we have to, to lock down the perimeter in the half-court and to change shots on the blocks. In short, USC is extremely versatile defensively...and this will be the key to the season (along with health, sharing the ball/minutes, eligibility).

    Still, questions remain:

    * Will guys like Bennie and Shaqquan get after it every time down the floor? Or will their offense key their motivation on defense? (Same goes for Stewart)
    * Also, Usher looks like a player on defense but what about the other freshmen?
    * Is Rak ready to punish people this season?
    * Can we guard the 3???
    * Can we protect the glass against big (strong) teams? (I want that Sam/McMillan type PF)


    In the end, I have faith in this defense....as long as we, like Derryck does, go 100 on BOTH ends of the floor. This will be the difference in those tight games....

    FO!


  • wes4usc
    replied
    Chemzie Metu is a very good shot blocker and rim protector because of his great leaping ability (in terms of both maximum height and quickness). Where he has been lacking in the past is that he has difficulty defending big, bulky post players in the low post. He was too easily pushed around, probably because he was lacking in bulk and strength. Hopefully he has worked on building strength and weight in the off season.

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  • rocksteadyusc
    replied
    stewart is not one of our worst defenders. his over-aggressiveness and athleticism affect him, but for a big guard, he is a good defender. he can guard multiple positions, has length, and actually can both create steals and block shots.

    from draft express:

    On the defensive side of the court is where Stewart most consistently made an impact for the Trojans last season. Stewart has good length for his position and moves his feet very well on the perimeter, which, combined with his high activity level, can cause some problems for opposing offenses, as Stewart averaged 1.6 steals per 40 minutes pace adjusted. Stewart also averaged an impressive 1.9 blocks per 40 minutes pace adjusted, which is the top figure for a shooting guard in our top-100, and shows how quickly Stewart can get off his feet, either off of one or two feet, another one of his athletic gifts. - Source: http://www.draftexpress.com/profile/...Stewart-82853/©DraftExpress

    again, versatility. with the effort and playing smart...he's an above-average defender.

    as for matthews, i went mentally blank. completely my bad. superb on-ball defender. melton is also a superb on-ball defender but yes, he is best in zones which permit him to get into lanes and to get to the basket to board.

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  • rocksteadyusc
    replied
    I have no idea how I forgot about Jonah. Good grief.

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  • Marty46r
    replied
    Agree,Matthews was out best on ball defender. Where we would miss Melton most may be on the boards. He is a terrific rebounder for his size with very strong hands and great timing. Always seems to come up with the loose balls.

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  • TrojanMindSC
    replied
    Originally posted by rocksteadyusc View Post
    Of course, that depends on status of De'Anthony, the best on-ball defender that we have and one of the best in the nation, imo.

    Further, Jordan and Elijah both have the potential to be all-league caliber defenders. For both, consistency is the key. Both guys, as mentioned above, have excellent closeout ability in the zone. Jordan is limited by strength and Elijah by overall speed but both, when they play all out, are very good defenders.

    Last year Jonah Matthews was our best on ball defender.

    Elijah is one of our worst overall defenders. He loses concentration too much and has a high foul rate.

    Leave a comment:

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