April 2018 (6) Candygrams

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Thursday, April 19, 2018---USC Men's Basketball Banquet

Chimezie MetuThe 2017-2018 USC Men's Basketball Team had their annual banquet in Town and Gown this year. Trojan Candy arrived early so that I wouldn't miss any players. It is good that I did. The first player arrived early. Chimezie Metu (8/28/2015), who isn't hard to miss, smiled and let me take his picture. I wished him "Good Luck" in the upcoming NBA Draft. Then, his big smile ensued!

Chuck O'Bannon, JrNext, Trojan Candy walked into the Town and Gown dining room. There was Chuck O'Bannon. Since not many guests had arrived yet, it was a perfect time to interview Chuck. Chuck will be a Sophomore next year. He is majoring in Communication. Chuck's favorite food is pasta. I would have thought that he would like Japanese food the best since Chuck lived in Japan from the age of two until he was thirteen. Chuck told me that his dad played in the NBA for the Detroit Pistons and then in Japan, Italy and Poland. He said that he is fluent in Japanese. As for his favorite music, Chuck likes hip hop and rap. His two favorite rap artists are Y.G. and 21 Savage. Chuck's favorite movie is "About the Benjamins." When I asked Chuck about his hobbies, he said that he likes to play with his puppy, which is a mixed Yorkie and Maltese. So nice to meet you and FIGHT ON, Chuck!

Marciano and Richard Flores
I walked out to the patio next looking for more players. I saw good friend Richard Flores and his dad Marciano.
Craig and Rosemary Anderson
Nearby, Trojan Candy took a picture of two new friends whom we met at a USC Associate's event. They are big USC Basketball fans, too. Craig and Rosemary Anderson smiled for me.
Elijah Stewart and Rosie Smith
Then I saw friend Elijah Stewart (3/30/2015). Elijah posed with his mom Rosie Smith for this memorable picture. Rosie flew in from Texas for the banquet.

Jordan Usher, Derryck Thornton and Chuck O'Bannon, JrStanding nearby were players Jordan Usher, Derryck Thornton (10/24/2017) and Chuck O'Bannon, Jr.

Jordan UsherAfter taking their picture, Trojan Candy was able to interview Jordan Usher. Jordan, who will be a Sophomore next season, is majoring in Business. He told me that he played only football first as a kid and didn't start playing basketball until he was in the sixth grade. Jordan's favorite food is ramen. Hip Hop is his favorite type of music. Jordan's hobby is playing video games. His favorite game is "Fortnight: Battle Royale." My final interview question to Jordan was, "Do you really own that many sunglasses that Coach Enfield alluded to?" With a smile, Jordan said that he doesn't have that many sunglasses. So nice to meet you and FIGHT ON, Jordan!

Trojan Candy and Nick Rakocevic
Now, I was back inside Town and Gown when I saw friend Nick Rakocevic (8/26/2016). Nick's friend took this picture of us. Yes, Nick is that tall!
Nick Rakocevic and Friend
I took this picture of Nick and his friend who's several inches taller than me.
Lois and Mike Valerio
Walking down the stairs were friends Lois and Mike Valerio.

Trojan Candy also saw friend Kent Hollenbeck, but didn't have a chance to take his picture this year. We normally sit at the same table. So nice to see you every year, Kent!

USC Pep Band
Trojan Candy heard them coming. They marched to the podium. The USC Pep Band hyped us up!
Jonah Mathews
Back to the patio again, Trojan Candy saw friend Jonah Mathews (4/12/2017).
Raymond Bates, Derryck Thornton, Dudley Poon, Jordan Usher, Eiko Bates, Nick Rakocevic, Jonah Mathews, Chimezie Metu and Victor Uyaelunmo
Then Jonah Mathews joined this picture with his teammates and some of my closest friends. Front row: Raymond Bates, Derryck Thornton, Dudley Poon, Jordan Usher, Eiko Bates and Nick Rakocevic. Back row: Jonah Mathews, Chimezie Metu and Victor Uyaelunmo.

Trojan Candy walked all around Town and Gown.

Anissa Claiborne and Jordan McLaughlin
Back inside the dining room, I finally saw good friend Jordan McLaughlin (5/16/2015). He posed with his girlfriend of two years, Anissa Claiborne. Anissa, a USC Pep Squad member, is also graduating this year.
Shaqquan Aaron
Close by was another friend Shaqquan Aaron (4/12/2016).

Harrison HendersonLuckily, Trojan Candy was able to interview Harrison Henderson before the program started. Harrison is majoring in Communication. His favorite food is "Soul Food." Harrison likes all types of music. He did mention that he likes R and B, rap, and hip hop. The Migos are his favorite music artists. For a hobby, Harrison loves to go to the movies. "The Incredibles" is his favorite movie. We spoke some about his late father, Phil Henderson. Harrison told me that his dad Phil played at Duke in 1987-1990. What an athletic heritage! So nice to meet you and FIGHT ON, Harrison!

Andy Enfield
Head Coach Andy Enfield began the program.
2017-2018 highlights
Trojan Candy took five videos of the program. The first video showed the team's 2017-2018 highlights.
Basketball team
In the second video Coach Enfield spoke about his team.
Elijah Stewart, Kurt Karis and Jordan McLaughlin
The next video featured the three Seniors, Elijah Stewart, Kurt Karis and Jordan McLaughlin.
Elijah Stewart and Jordan McLaughlin
In the fourth video, Elijah Stewart and Jordan McLaughlin reminisce about their four years at USC.
Team awards
Trojan Candy actually divided the fifth video into two parts. The Team Awards are featured in the fifth part.

Next season and MVPIn the sixth part, Coach Enfield tells the audience about our 2018-2019 players for the next season. At the very end of this video, Coach Enfield named the MVP Award winners.

Andy Enfield, Jordan McLaughlin, Chimezie Metu and Steve LopesHere is the picture of the two 2017-2018 MVP Players Jordan McLaughlin and Chimezie Metu standing between Coach Andy Enfield and Senior Associate Athletic Director Steve Lopes. My good friend and USC photographer Pierson Clair gave me his permission to use his picture. You can see more of his beautiful professional pictures at his website at www.pc4photo.com/USC-Sports. Thanks, Pierson!

Congratulations and FIGHT ON to all of the Men's Basketball Award Winners!

Thomas, Lisa and Jordan McLaughlin
With the program over, Trojan Candy walked around taking pictures of friends. First I saw Jordan McLaughlin with his dad Thomas and his mom Lisa.
Jordan McLaughlin and teammates
Then, I got this picture of Jordan taking a selfie with his teammates.
Basketball team
Next, I was able to get a picture of the entire team as they posed for my friend Pierson Clair.
Marciano, Rebecca and Richard Flores
Trojan Candy took another picture of my dear friend Richard Flores with his dad Marciano and sister Rebecca.
Patti Poon, Jordan McLaughlin and Eiko Bates
I was able to take this nice picture of my sister Patti Poon and friend Eiko Bates with Jordan McLaughlin.
Jacque Hill and Sam Chow
Good friend Sam Chow posed with USC Basketball Alumnus Jacque Hill.
Andy Enfield, Jacque Hill and Margie and Philip Mathews
Then Coach Enfield, Jacque Hill and Jonah Mathew's parents Margie and Philip smiled for me.
Jordan McLaughlin
Alofa, Kevin, Mouena and Joseph surrounded Jordan McLaughlin in this picture.
Pierson Clair, Mark and Karen Tanimura and a friend
Pierson Clair, Mark and Karen Tanimura and a friend posed for me.
Patti and Dudley Poon and Raymond and Eiko Bates
It's "Good Night" for Patti and Dudley Poon and Raymond and Eiko Bates.
Wendy Oliver-Pyatt, Victor Uyaelunmo and friend
Trojan Candy said, "Good Night" to Victor Uyaelunmo and his family. His mom Wendy Oliver-Pyatt flew in from Florida for the banquet.
Nick Rakocevic and Jordan Usher
A final "Good Night" from Nick Rakocevic and Jordan Usher!