March 2012 (1) Candygrams

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March 20, 2012---Men's Basketball Awards Banquet

My husband Jim and I went to the Men's Basketball Awards Banquet in the Galen Center Founder's Room. There were beautiful flower arrangements on every table. Eventually, two hundred attendees consisting of players, coaches, player's families and USC basketball supporters would fill the Founder's Room.

Men's Basketball trophiesAs my husband and I walked to our table, we noticed the shining trophies on a front table. Temptation got the better of me. I took several pictures of the glimmering Trojan trophies. Then Trojan Candy noticed that the black construction paper, that had been taped on the front of each trophy to cover the engraved names, had fallen off three of the trophies. After taking my pictures, I gingerly put back the black papers to cover up the names. I kept the names on the three trophies a secret in my head. Don't spoil the surprise!

Then, the team came in together, and each player branched out to speak with friends and family. Trojan Candy worked quickly to take pictures of the players. On a roll, I took several pictures of our current players.

Eric Wise, Greg Allen, and Byron Wesley
Eric Wise, Greg Allen, and Byron Wesley
Dewayne Dedmon
Dewayne Dedmon clowning around.
Maurice Jones
Mo Jo grinning.
Eric Strangis with Pat and Sam Nicholson
My husband and I talked extensively with Eric Strangis and his grandparents.
Clayton Olivier and Jio Fontan
I spotted former center Clayton Olivier (1985) talking with Jio Fontan.
Tyler Sugiyama and Ari Stewart
Tyler Sugiyama and Ari Stewart

Then, we met James Blasczyk's dad, Jim Blasczyk. Jim flew out from Houston to attend the banquet. It's always nice to meet a fellow Texan! Jim noticed that my husband's name was Jim also. Three Jims! Not really. Dad Jim said that he does not like to be called James, and son James does not like to be called Jim. Trojan Candy calls her Jim, Dad or Grandpa (But my Jim does not like to be called Grandpa!). So, there is a James, a Jim and a Dad!

James Blasczyk with Dad Jim
James Blasczyk with his dad Jim
Aaron Fuller and Evan Smith
Aaron Fuller and Evan Smith
Byron Wesley, Danilo Dragovic, and Eric Wise
Byron Wesley, Danilo Dragovic, and Eric Wise
Bob Boyd
Trojan Candy was able to get a picture of former USC Coach Bob Boyd
Kevin O'Neill
and Coach Kevin O'Neill (before he took the podium).

Spirit of TroyOnce the Spirit of Troy marched in playing a rousing "Conquest," the program began. Coach O'Neill began it with a tribute to the team which went through an excruciating season. At this point, the entire audience gave a long, rousing standing ovation to the team! What a poignant moment to cherish.

Then Coach O'Neill began announcing the Award winners.

Best Free Throw Percentage TrophyThe "Best Free Throw Percentage" trophy for Garrett Jackson (one of my secret winners) was not announced, since Garrett had asked to be released from his scholarship and did not attend the banquet. Trojan Candy will miss you, Garrett. FIGHT ON, at your new school! You will always be a Trojan to me!

The other trophy winners were as follows:

Byron Wesley
Byron Wesley for Top Rebounder, Most Improved Player, and Ryan Francis Scholarship Award (Sorry for the blurry picture, Byron. Trojan Candy was so excited for you that I shook my camera when I took the picture!).
Eric Strangis
Eric Strangis (a walk-on) for Senior and Highest GPA. (Coach O'Neill complimented Eric. He said, "His heart, what he did for our team, is unbelievable!")
Maurice Jones
Mo Jones for Best Defensive and MVP.
James Blasczyk
James Blasczyk for 110% Effort and Most Inspirational.

Congratulations to all the trophy winners!

Coach O'Neill ended his speech with this quote. "The guys that were left standing...never quit. We knew going into some games that we could not win, but we never gave up."

We all know that Trojans FIGHT ON, until the very end!

Brandon GranvilleTrojan Candy with Kent HollenbeckAs Trojan Candy left for the night, I met up with fellow alums, Kent Hollenbeck and Brandon Granville (2002).

Another memorable USC event. FIGHT ON, USC Men's Basketball!

March 15, 2012---John McKay Center Tour #2

My husband Jim, sister Pat, brother-in-law Dudley, and I were able to take the USC Associate's Tour of the John McKay Center on Thursday, March 15th, at 2:00 p.m.

Trojan Candy and Jim took the first tour of the John McKay Center with the Women of Troy Tour on September 30, 2011 (Check out my blog for the article and pictures). Much progress has been made in six months. Click the McKay Center link at the top to see a slideshow of the progress since groundbreaking.

To begin the tour, Project Manager Mark Jackson gave a presentation in the Heritage Hall auditorium. His preview included the floor plan for all three floors and a look ahead to the finished project.

Inside the McKay Center main lobbyRon Orr led us through the McKay Center main entrance portalRon Orr, who is a Senior Associate Athletic Director, was our tour guide. We entered through the portal that leads to the Lobby. The portal and lobby were made possible by a five million dollar donation. The anonymous donor requested that the inscription on the arch of the portal reads as follows: "Through this Portal enter the World's Greatest Athletes."

The Lobby was filled with scaffolding. Behind the scaffolding on the right and above the stairs will be 278 15-inch flat screen panels that can be shown as one image, 278 different images, or any combination in between! The screens will showcase all twenty-two USC sports.

After entering the lobby, we walked up the stairs to the second floor. This floor will house the football coaching staff.

Quarterback Office
The Quarterback Coach's Office was donated by Mark Sanchez.
View from Head Football Coach's office
We walked into Coach Lane Kiffin's future office that is located on the far west end of the Center. This is his view of the Howard Jones Practice Field.
Football Reception Room
We then saw the inside of the Football Reception Room. Notice how this room looks from the outside in the next picture.
Football Reception Room
Notice how the Football Reception Room looks from the outside.
Indoor Football field
Ron then walked us to the basement floor. The forty yard indoor football field is taking shape.
Hydrotherapy Room
The Hydrotherapy Room has three pools that are covered by plywood. One pool will be filled with cold water, another will be filled with hot water, and the third will have an underwater treadmill.

All American WalkThen we walked to the west end of the Center. There was a concrete walkway under construction. This will be the "All-American Walk" that our football team will take to the Howard Jones Practice Field. The walls will be lined with 158 bronze busts of USC All-Americans, with room for more future All-Americans. The players are expected to touch these busts and dream of future accolades!

Michael MorganSC logoAs we exited the Center, I saw the main floor windows up close. The S.C. logo over each window is classy!

After the tour there was a reception in the Heritage Hall lobby. A familiar face came up to say hello. It was Michael Morgan! He is working out downstairs and will return to the Seattle Seahawks this fall. FIGHT ON, Michael!

March 14, 2012---USC's Trojan Guild Tours the Pasadena Playhouse

As you may know, Trojan Candy is a member of the Trojan Guild (To become a member of Trojan Guild, the lady has to have attended USC). We toured the Pasadena Playhouse today. I was especially interested in this tour because my father was an architect, the first Chinese American to graduate (1941) from the School of Architecture at Rice University.

The Playhouse was built in 1917 and was unanimously proclaimed the official "State Theatre of California" by the state legislature in 1937. Gilmor Brown established the College of Theatre Arts just in time for Hollywood's transition from silent film to "talkies." This college has produced renowned performers such as Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Preston, William Holden and Sally Struthers!

The Spanish Colonial Revival architecture of the Playhouse has placed the theater on the National Register of Historic Places.

Come enjoy a pictorial tour, with my fellow Trojan Guild members and me, of the Pasadena Playhouse.

Pasadena Playhouse
We're here
The courtyard
The entrance to the Pasadena Playhouse
The library of the Pasadena Playhouse
Performers of each performance autograph planters.
Green Room
The "Green Room"
Inside the theater
Inside the theater
Carol Fox and Ann Palmer
USC Trustee Carol Fox and Ann Palmer organized this event

March 4, 2012---Daily Trojan article about Trojan Candy

Alexis Driggs' article about Trojan Candy was posted on the Daily Trojan website. You can read it at

March 3, 2012---Congratulations, Eric!

Eric StrangisEric Strangis It was "Senior Night" at the last game of the Men's Basketball season. Senior Eric Strangis was honored at mid-court before the game versus Washington State.

Trojan Candy had the privilege of meeting Eric's family last season. Such a lovely, supportive family.

Eric actually scored the first basket of the 2011-2012 season. It was a 3 pointer!

FIGHT ON, Eric! Keep on living your dream ....!

Many thanks to USC photographer friend Pierson Clair of PC4Photo for allowing me to publish his magnificent picture of Eric with Coach O'Neill and his family.

March 2, 2012---Men's Volleyball Honors Adam Johnson and Steve Timmons

MVB retirementMy husband Jim and I rushed to the Galen Center because we didn't want to miss the Jersey Retirement of USC Men's Volleyball Greats Adam Johnson and Steve Timmons. Luckily, the ceremony was scheduled at the end of the USC match versus the University of Hawaii, not before. Phew! No problem. We could sit and enjoy the match.

USC won!The first set was fairly close, with the Trojans winning 25-22. In the next two sets, USC won fairly easily with scores of 25-18 and 25-18. A sweep! The team always celebrates with the Spirit of Troy after every victory. FIGHT ON, Spirit of Troy!

Then, the team formed an honor guard for Adam and Steve to enter the court. FIGHT ON, USC Men's Volleyball Team!

Steve Timmons is a three-time Olympic medalist, and Adam Johnson was the 1984 National Player of the year. They each walked with their families through the honor guard to the ceremony.

MVB path
Men's volleyball team formed an honor guard for Steve and Adam.
Banners unveiled!
The new banners of the two Volleyball Legends were unveiled in their place of honor.
Steve Timmons and Adam Johnson
Congratulations, Volleyball Legends Steve Timmons and Adam Johnson.
Adam Johnson's family
Congratulations #9 Adam Johnson. FIGHT ON, Adam!

Steve Timmons' family
Congratulations #6 Steve Timmons. FIGHT ON, Steve!

Enjoy your spring break!

FIGHT ON, until then!

March 1, 2012---The D.T. is in the House!

As my husband and I walked by the John McKay Center construction, I saw that more work has been completed for the wall going up along McClintock Avenue and the wall along the sidewalk north of the Loker Track Stadium.

Wall along McClintock
Wall along McClintock Avenue
Wall north of the Loker Track Stadium
Wall north of the Loker Track Stadium

The tower of the football office west wing is being finished by many construction workers. Such hard must be ahead of schedule.

West Wing of the McKay Center
West Wing of the McKay Center
West Wing Tower
Men working on the West Wing Tower

The lobby was relatively quiet at first. Then, several friends came by the desk to visit and get a treat. Five new friends came to the desk for the first time. Trojan Candy was expecting one or two of them to come around 1:00 p.m. More about that later.

Ari StewartAround 12:30 p.m. Trojan Candy's first new friend walked up to the desk. He seemed to be a bit shy at first, then, he smiled. Ari Stewart practices with the men's basketball team now and will be able to play next year. He had to sit out a year at USC after he transferred from Wake Forest. Ari, who is from Atlanta, Georgia, will play small forward and will have two more seasons to play. He is majoring in communications. Ari wrote that he likes to read Sports Illustrated and to listen to Hip-Hop music. His main love, ever since he was five years old, is to play basketball! Trojan Candy can't wait to see him play next year! FIGHT ON, Ari!

They walked in the door together. My next two new friends actually had set up an appointment with me. They work for the Daily Trojan and wanted to do a "profile interview" with me. Reporter Alexis Driggs and photographer Priyanka Patel got to work quickly. As Alexis interviewed yours truly, Priyanka took several pictures. When Priyanka was finished, I asked my husband to interview her and take her picture for my blog. Turnabout's fair play!

Priyanka PatelPriyanka is from Gujarat, India. She completed her undergraduate studies in Chemical Engineering in Gujarat and started her Masters of Science degree at USC in the fall of 2011. Priyankya wrote that photography has been her hobby for two years and that she joined the D.T. as a photographer in the spring of 2012. A new friend that loves to take pictures just like I do! FIGHT ON, Priyanka!

Alexis DriggsAlexis took notes and recorded the interview. She said that the article will be in next Monday's (March 5) Daily Trojan. Trojan Candy enjoyed meeting Alexis. Then, to her surprise, I interviewed her! Sophomore Alexis is majoring in Print and Digital Journalism. She is a profile writer for the Daily Trojan and hopes to be a feature writer for a magazine when she graduates. Alexis wrote that she loves to write and read. Her favorite books are a Brave New World and the Harry Potter books. Her mom is a teacher (likes yours truly), and Alexis taught her mom's 4th/5th grade class how to write a news story. When I asked Alexis why she chose USC, she said. "When she and her mom came from Gilroy, CA, to visit USC, they both fell in love with the campus!" (Naturally, who wouldn't!) Alexis also said that her dad influenced her to attend USC, because of our football team! Smart Parents! Thanks for the upcoming article, Alexis and FIGHT ON!

James WhiteWhile Alexis and I were busy interviewing one another, my fourth new friend walked up to the desk. My husband Jim was forced into action again! He did the interview and took the picture. Freshman James White, who is from St. Charles, Iowa, works upstairs in Game Management. He is majoring in Political Science/Policy, Planning & Development. James wrote that "I'm social-like meeting new people and exploring with friends-I love Politics too!" Then he also wrote, "I love Volleyball and being involved on campus, as much as possible!" I heard him say volleyball and mentioned that we might see him at the USC-Hawaii men's volleyball match tomorrow night. James smiled and said, "Maybe." Another new Heritage Hall friend! FIGHT ON, James!

David SelmaTrojan Candy's fifth new friend today walked into an unusually quiet Heritage Hall lobby. It seems that several people, including my husband, had gone to Marks Stadium to watch our Women of Troy Tennis Team compete against the Lady Bruins. The added draw was that spectators could get free In-N-Out hamburgers. I told my new friend David Selma about the match and free burgers. He said that he might be able to go to the match. David is a Junior majoring in Economics. He competes in the Long Jump on the Trojan Track team, and he said that he is glad that Nickell Robey, Marqise Lee and Tony Burnette are his teammates. David said that he also played basketball in high school and that he had wanted to compete in basketball and track this spring. But there is a conflict, so he competes in track only. David likes to watch Denzel Washington movies and plans to see "Safe House" soon. He likes to listen to R&B and Hip-Hop music. David's favorite artists are Smokey Robinson, The O'Jays, Marvin Gaye, and Michael Jackson. (Another Trojan after my own heart!) I reminded David about the hamburgers, but I am not sure that he walked over to Marks Stadium. FIGHT ON, David!

As for our Marks Stadium and its free In-N-Out hamburgers, shortly after David left Heritage Hall, my husband walked in the door with two scrumptious hamburgers for us. Thanks! He told me how he saw Joey Hughes, Nickell Robey, and Matt Barkley outside; told them about the free hamburgers; and then saw them scramble off toward the stadium. Joey and Nickell ran while Matt jumped on his bike and rode away. Three hungry Trojans!

Seen at the SCene:

Coaches: Golf: Andrea Gaston; Track: Michael Pullins; Football: James Cregg, Monte Kiffin, Ed Orgeron, Kennedy Polamalu, Justin Mesa, Lenny Vandermade; Rowing: Ligita Kaviere; Men's Golf: Josh Brewer, Kurt Schuette

Heritage Hall Friends: Jennifer Noriega, Jill Dennis, Isaac Flores, Steve Hsu, J.K. McKay, Sara Kalemkianan, Lizzy Maggi, Donna Heidel, Dave Tuttle, Drew Morcos, Teresa Verbeck, Fed Ex David, Rebecca Morin

Soccer: Kristina Noriega, Erica Vangsness, Haley Boysen, Mia Bruno

Women's Basketball: Jacki Gemelos, Kiki Alofaituli, Thaddesia Southall, Deanna Calhoun

Women's Water Polo: Adrienne Taylor

Track and Field: Trey Henderson, Alitta Boyd, Oluwakemi Olonade, Loudia Laarman, Myles Andrews, Davonte Stewart, Terence Abram, Bryshon Nellum, Carolyn Lutzky, Tony Burnette, Jennifer Jones, Joey Hughes

Rowing: Vineta Moca, Magda Janicka, Lenka Vrecnikova, Helen Tinkus, Anna Wierzbowska, Jelena Zelenovic, Catherine Kong

Women's Golf: Doris Chen

Men's Basketball: Eric Wise

Football: Marqise Lee, T.J. Bryant, Morgan Breslin, George Uko, Junior Pomee, Victor Blackwell, J.R. Tavai, T.J. McDonald, Joe Houston (Trojan Candy's good friend, who is working out downstairs for the Wednesday, 3/7 NFL try-out. Good luck, Joe!), Demetrius Wright, Giovanni Di Poalo, (whom Trojan Candy needs to interview), Jesse Scroggins, Kevin Greene, Emon Saee, Hayes Pullard, Andre Heidari, Cyrus Hobbi, De'Von Flournoy (who was carrying his tap shoes and had just finished his mid-term), Brian Baucham, Christian Thomas, Cody Kessler, Anthony Brown (we talked about his two-year old son and my two grandsons who are also two-years old), Robert Woods, Boomer Roepke (good luck with the NFL try-out), Abe Markowitz, Josh Shaw, James Harbin, Xavier Grimble