- Dick Vitale, College Basketball analyst
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USC athletics has been faced with a lot of negative publicity lately. The Tim Floyd situation got to the point where it created a soap opera. Then factor in the Reggie Bush situation with the O.J. Mayo dilemma and there are lot of questions to be answered.
The Trojans answered one over the weekend when they hired Kevin O'Neill as the new men's basketball coach. O'Neill was a good choice; it wasn't too long ago when he was working at Arizona and probably should have been named the full-time coach in Tucson.
Now O'Neill is back in the Pac-10, where he has a familiarity with the league. He has a wealth of coaching experience on both the college and NBA levels. This is a guy who eats, drinks and sleeps basketball and I love his passion for teaching and coaching.
He has been the head coach at Marquette, Tennessee, Northwestern, Arizona and now USC. O'Neill's pro days included stints as an assistant with the Pistons and Knicks, as well as head coaching tenure with the Raptors.
He has seen it all. O'Neill can rectify the problems that have plagued USC. He can get the job done in the world of recruiting, getting this program back in high gear.
Remember that the Trojans have a lot of positives in their corner. There is the new facility (Galen Center), a solid conference to sell in the Pac-10, and the whole Los Angeles scene.
This is a program that can get healthy quickly under the leadership of O'Neill. The new coach can communicate and recruit. I feel he was a good fit for athletic director Mike Garrett.
O'Neill brings the experience and passion for teaching basketball that the program needs right now.