February 2016 (1) Candygrams

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Thursday, February 4, 2016---A Sweep of the Bruins!

The Galen Center was ELECTRIC tonight! There was even a line to get into the Founder's Room to hear Coach Enfield's pre-game talk.

Two bullsSignsTrojan Candy had arrived two hours before game time, and the parking lots were already filling up. I walked into the arena after hearing Coach Enfield's pre-game chalk talk in the Founder's Room. The student section was all filled up in the arena level and upstairs one and a half hours before tip-off. All the students wore black shirts. I took a picture of two bulls. There was a matador somewhere. Then, I saw two signs about UCLA.

Jabari Ruffin, Quinton Powell and a friend
Trojan Candy saw a familiar face. I stopped to talk with football friend Jabari Ruffin (7/13/2012). He posed with teammate Quinton Powell and a friend.
Our team did some stretching exercises.
Here are Jordan McLaughlin (5/26/2015) and Katin Reinhardt stretching.
Star Spangled Banner
Both teams stood for the Star Spangled Banner.
Here is a panoramic video of the fans before the game.
Football players
Before the team introductions, a few football players stood on the court...
Victory Bell
along with the Victory Bell. What a lovely ringing sound!
Starting lineup
Now it was time to introduce the starting lineup.
Nikola Jovanovic (3/26/2014) won the opening tip, and we took a 9-0 lead before the Bruins knew what "hit" them. We led 39-28 at the half.
Gus William banner
At half-time a Trojan Basketball Great was honored. Gus Williams was accompanied by his teammates at center court. See my video of the ceremony.
Gus William banner
His banner was hung. FIGHT ON, Gus!
Dance Force
In the second half the Dance Force performed.
Song Girls
The world famous Song Girls also performed.
Jordan McLaughlin
Our team shot 92.3% in free throws! Here is Jordan McLaughlin shooting a free throw.
Bennie Boatwright
Bennie Boatwright (8/28/2015) shooting a free throw.
Julian Jacobs
Julian Jacobs (3/30/2015) shooting a free throw.
We swept the Bruins 80-61! The Bruins never led in the game. Watch our celebration video.
FIGHT ON, USC Men's Basketball!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016---USC Football Recruiting Celebration Dinner

Trojan Candy arrived at the Galen Center Founder's room at 5:00 p.m. for the 2016 USC Recruiting Celebration Dinner. The lobby was quiet then. Not too many guests had arrived yet. I kept eyeing the check-in table, looking for the seven new Trojans who enrolled in the spring semester.

Michael PittmanThen, I saw a young man check in. I went to him immediately as soon as he left the check-in table. I asked if I could interview him and take his picture as I handed him my Trojancandy.com card. Wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. graciously answered my questions and smiled for this picture. Michael said that he started playing both football and basketball when he was six years old. He played both sports until he was ten years old. Then he focused on football. Literally, following in his father's footsteps. Michael's dad, Michael Sr., played in the NFL for the Cardinals for three years, the Buccaneers for seven years and the Broncos for seven years. Michael told me that he has five brothers and sisters. They play all types of sports...gymnastics, football, softball, soccer and basketball. What a truly athletic family! On a more personal note, Michael's hobby is fishing on the beach. His favorite food is spaghetti. The "Lion King" is his favorite movie while his favorite music artist is rapper Byson Tiller. So nice to meet you and FIGHT ON, Michael!

Wole Betiku and Alex GarfioWole BetikuA few minutes after Trojan Candy interviewed Michael, another new Trojan checked in at the table and was immediately besieged by Trojan well-wishers. Luckily, I had him for myself for just the few minutes that I needed. However, as soon as I started my interview, a man came up and asked me to take a picture of him and Wole Betiku, who will be a defensive lineman. It turns out that he was Alex Garfio, a close friend of Wole's. As soon as I took the picture, Alex let me finish my interview. Wole told me that he has played football for two years and that he played basketball five years ago. His hobby is singing. Wole's favorite food is chicken. He told me that his favorite movie is "Inception." His favorite reggae music artist is Dub. My final question to Wole was how he was able to meet President Obama. When Wole was living in Nigeria, he told his mom that he would someday meet President Obama. After he arrived in the USA, Wole told me that a friend of his was attending a conference about "Concussions" in Washington, D.C. So, he was able to go with him to the White House. There, he met President Obama. Trojan Candy saw a picture of him shaking President Obama's hand on ESPN. What an unbelievable story! Wole will be an unbelievable Trojan! FIGHT ON, Wole!

Spirit of TroyCelebrationTwo down, two had class (Quarterback Matt Fink and Defensive Back C.J. Pollard), and three to go. Trojan Candy was looking for three more Freshmen football players, when I heard the Spirit of Troy march into the lobby. It was time to have dinner. I got my buffet dinner, put it at my table, took a picture of the screen and walked back out to the lobby.

Finally, the three football Freshmen arrived. New friend Michael Pittman told his buddies that I wanted to take their picture and interview them. Thanks, Michael!

Michael Pittman, Liam Jimmons, Nate Smith and Josh ImatorbhebheI took a picture of the three arrivals and Michael. They are Liam Jimmons, Nate Smith and Josh Imatorbhebhe.

Liam JimmonsTrojan Candy was able to quickly interview each one of them. Liam Jimmons was first. He is a defensive lineman. Liam told me that he likes to organize his room and go to the gym. He also likes to fly little planes. As for his favorite food, Liam said that he likes fish and chips. I told him that one of the main buffet dishes is fish. Liam likes Hip Hop music, and his favorite movie is "Remember the Titans." My final question was why he chose USC. Liam told me, "USC was close to home and that the football team is the Best in the World!" Trojan Candy agrees wholeheartedly, Liam! FIGHT ON, Liam!

Josh ImatorbhebheJosh Imatorbhebhe was next. Josh, who is from Georgia, told me his favorite food is "Surf and Turf." He said that he loves lobster. His favorite movie is "Taken." Another Trojan after my own heart! Josh enjoys listening to "Don't" by Bryshon Tiller. He also likes to play the piano by ear. What a multi-talented Trojan! FIGHT ON, Josh!

Nate SmithMy last Freshman football player was Nate Smith. By the time I started to interview him, he was in the buffet line, getting his food. As soon as he had his dinner in hand, Trojan Candy interviewed him as we walked inside the Founder's Room. Nate's favorite food is steak. He just put prime rib on his plate! Nate's favorite movie is "Hot Rod." He likes country music and his favorite country artist is Jarrod Benton. For hobbies, Nate likes to Rock Climb and enter Strength Competitions. Nate will play on the Offensive Line! Nate also likes to play Madden and Star Craft. What a competitive Trojan! FIGHT ON, Nate!

Nate and I had just a little time to eat our dinner. The program would start in about ten minutes.

When Head Coach Clay Helton got up to the podium, he was smiling and upbeat. He said, "What a great day to be a Trojan!" Coach told us that wherever the coaches went, they talked about "Faith, Family and Football" to every recruit. He said that, "This class is solid as a rock. Everyone signed with us today."

Next, Coach Helton introduced his Assistant Coaches. The first coach he introduced was Defensive Line Coach Kenechi Udeze. Coach Udeze spoke about defensive linemen Wole Betiku and Liam Jimmons.

Wole Betiku
He said that Wole has raw natural ability,
Liam Jimmons
while Liam, who also plays rugby, has raw physical ability.
Nate Smith
Offensive Line Coach Neil Callaway spoke about Nate Smith. He said that Nate will probably play at the tackle position. Nate is very mature with good quickness.

Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers Coach Tee Martin told us about Josh Imatorbhebhe and Michael Pittman.

Josh Imatorbhebhe
He said that Josh has a football IQ similar to Nelson Agholor. He is tough and wanted to come to USC to compete...to be the man. Coach Martin said that Josh is eighteen years old with a thirty-two year old body.
Michael Pittman
Next, Coach Martin spoke about Michael. He said that Michael is so physical and versatile. He may play inside or outside. Michael has a long and deceptive stride.
Wole Betiku
Next, the five new Freshmen came to the stage to be introduced. Wole spoke for his teammates and thanked everyone for coming.

Clay HeltonAfter Coach Helton came back to the podium to say good night, Trojan Candy was able to visit with him and take his picture.

What an exciting evening.... Trojan Candy was able to interview five new friends!