Sean Kennally put on another great show at the Trojan Club of San Gabriel Valley tonight at the Brookside Golf Course club house right outside the Rose Bowl. It's such a nice setting, after the Trojans win of course. Last year was tough to return to Brookside and see that awful Rose Bowl rising from the shadows, but I digress. Tonight was a fun, happy night full of good jokes and good Trojan company.
Brandon Hancock was the recipient of the Jess Hill Award for his athletic and academic achievement, and Brandon was also the MC of the evening. He said if he could "run as fast as my lips move, I'd already be in the NFL right now." Brandon gave us an overview of his life growing up in "the cow pie capitol, Fresno." He said he was young and dumb once and almost went to Stanford, but he discovered the cliche was true, "9 out of 10 girls in California are beautiful, the 10th one goes to Stanford." Brandon said that Pete's vision of the program convinced him to commit to a 6-6 team even though he could've gone anywhere in the country. It was great as a freshman; going against Troy Polamalu, learning from the leaders like Mike Patterson and Sean Cody. Brandon quipped that one of the only mistakes he's made in his life is "rooming with Sunny Byrd." He said it was hard to study as a freshman with Sunny's karoake machine and parties every night of the week in the apartment.
Brandon feels that Carson and Troy started the USC dynasty, and each senior class continues the tradition of passing down their work ethic and their desire to win to the younger players. Brandon stated that he did receive his 6th year of eligibility but he still has to get a doctor's clearance before he decides to play because he wants to lead an active lifestyle as he ages and doesn't want to be permanently injured.
According to Brandon, next year's team should be awesome, and he promised that the offense won't miss a beat. He said that one of the biggest problems of this year was that all the fullbacks got hurt, and USC had to change their offense to a one-back set. He praised JD Booty and said that people really don't know how great a job that JDB did this year leading the team to 11-2.
And Brandon praised his USC experience for putting him in the media capitol of the world. It's given him the ESPN radio job he had this year, and he even was on "Scrubs." A producer called him and said, "Brandon, you're an athletic guy, we want you for a fantasy sequence in Scrubs." Brandon thought, "Oh yeah, I'll be in leather pants, shirtless, and these hot girls will be dancing around me" so Brandon said yes. When Brandon got on the set, he read the script and discovered that he was going to be starring in a homo-erotic fantasy scene. Brandon immediately called Pete and told him about the scene, and asked Pete if he knew about it. Pete answered, "Ohh yeah, it'll be great. We'll show the tape to everyone before Fall practice."
From that point on, the team knew Brandon as "Brokeback Fullback."
Sed Ellis was the next speaker. He talked about being the #1 guy in high school, and then coming to USC and having the coaches say, "You're going to be behind Mike Patterson for 3 years. Watch him." He said that was humbling but that's what it takes to play at USC. He said Coach Carlisle made him throw up the first few days working him out. But now he's ready for the workouts. He said the other day he was just cruising on the wind sprints, because he's an old veteran now, and Coach Carlisle came behind him and said, "Averill Spicer is watching you." That stopped Sed. He thought, "Mike Patterson and Sean Cody were my role models, and now I have to be the leader." So now he knows he has to work out 100% and he hasn't earned the right to cruise, he has to teach the young guys to continue the tradition.
Sed's happy that Lawrence Jackson is coming back, and though they'll miss Dallas Sartz, he said the defense is going to be awesome next year, just awesome.
Brandon told Sed to tell everyone his new nickname. Sed looked at Brandon and said, "You know you gotta come back into the locker room, don't you?" Sed said that he went down to Cabo San Lucas with a teammate and his family over break. And they were in a bar and there was a bottle with a black bear on it. Sed asked the bartender what the bottle was, and the bartender said, "Oso Negro." The next day Sed was on the beach, and a local walked by and pointed at Sed and said, "Oso Negro." Sed sat up and said, "What?" The local said, "You're big like a bear, a black bear, Oso Negro." The rest of the trip, when Sed was walking the streets, other locals would point to him and call him "Oso Negro." And that's his new nickname.
The women's basketball team was represented by husband and wife assistant coaches Jody and Derek Wynn. Jody (Anton) played for Cheryl Miller and played with Lisa Leslie while she was at USC. She said that they had the #1 recruiting class this year, but that injuries have decimated the team. The team still wants to "bring back the glory" and that's their motto, to "bring back the glory" of USC Women's basketball.
Finally, Brandon introduced new baseball coach Chad Kreuter. Chad said he was "humbled" to be the 5th USC baseball coach in its history, just humbled. Coach Kreuter said that he was coaching the Modesto Nuts in Single A minor league baseball when Mike Garrett called him, he said "nobody make fun of that Modesto team. I like my Nuts." Chad had the same high school coaches as Pete Carroll, and so his philosophies on coaching and athletics is very much like Pete's. He also wants to return USC baseball to "prominence" and bring back the championships. He is trying to market the program more, do some renovations on the field, and wants to bring out the fans. Coach Kreuter said he told his players that he expects them to win 45 games this year, that "USC doesn't have low expectations."
Overall a great night. Thanks again to Sean Kennally and the Trojan Club of San Gabriel Valley.