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15 USC Southern Cal's starting five can play with anyone; its bench is another story


No, Veal Scalabrine has yet to appear on menus of trendy L.A.
restaurants, but given 6'9" senior Brian Scalabrine's manifold
talents--leading the break, posting up like a demon and playing
every position from shooting guard to center--it's only a matter
of time. Recently Scalabrine, the Pac-10's top returning scorer,
added a new dimension to his game. "I'm actually talking trash
in practice for the first time in my life," he says. "I'll do
whatever it takes to get our six through 10 guys to play hard."

There's good reason for motivating the second team. Last year USC
shot to a 6-1 start in the Pac-10 only to collapse like a souffle
after forward Sam Clancy, the Trojans' leading scorer at the time
with a 17.6 average, broke his right foot. So while all five USC
starters return this year, making them the fashionable sleeper
pick in the Pac-10, coach Henry Bibby is convinced that his team
won't go anywhere in the postseason without developing some
depth. "We have five guys who can play with any team in the
country," Bibby says, "but you need to have guys on the bench who
could start for you, and I don't know if I have any right now."

He has just about everything else, though. USC's five starters
all averaged more than 13 points a game last season, and as long
as they stay healthy, the Trojans will be a handful. Clancy, a
bruising 6'7" junior, owns the lane and keeps defenses from
double-teaming his roommate, Scalabrine. Bibby calls 6'4"
skywalking senior guard Jeff Trepagnier, who can high-jump better
than seven feet, "the most athletic player in the country."

"Our goal is to win the Pac-10," Clancy says, "but realistically
I could see us in the top three, and then anything could happen
in the tournament." The qualifier? What else? "All we need is a
little depth."




SF [*]David Bluthenthal 6'7" Jr. 13.9 ppg
PF [*]Sam Clancy 6'7" Jr. 15.5 ppg
C [*]Brian Scalabrine 6'9" Sr. 17.8 ppg
SG [*]Jeff Trepagnier 6'4" Sr. 15.9 ppg
PG [*]Brandon Granville 5'9" Jr. 8.3 apg

1999-2000 record: 16-14 Final rank (coaches' poll): unranked
[*]Returning starter