December (2) 2020 Candygrams

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Thursday, December 17, 2021---USC Men's and Women's Basketball Chalk Talk

01Trojan Athletic Fund Assistant Athletic Director Brent Watson greeted everyone to the Men's and Women's Basketball Chalk Talk. Normally, Trojan Candy would be attending the Basketball Chalk Talk in person along with many other USC Basketball supporters in the Galen Center Founders Room. Then, Brent introduced Athletic Director Mike Bohn.

02A.D. Mike Bohn welcomed all the viewers to the Chalk Talk. He told us that we will enjoy the upcoming basketball season and thanked us all for our support. Then A.D. Bohn said that there will be two guest speakers in the Chalk Talk today and introduced the host, Assistant Athletic Director Jordan Moore.

03Jordan Moore, who is in charge of Social Media and Content Development, said that both our women's and men's basketball teams have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The men's season is currently suspended because of the virus. Then, Jordan introduced Women of Troy Basketball Head Coach Mark Trakh.

35Coach Trakh explained that the women’s team had to quarantine earlier because of COVID and is now missing six players because of injuries. The injured players are Alissa Pili, Jordyn Jerkins, Alyson Miura, Zayla Tinner, India Otto and Shalexxus Aaron.

0659Coach Trakh elaborated about Alissa Pili. He said that at Dimond High School in Alaska, Alissa won thirteen State Championships in four sports. The sports were volleyball, basketball, track (she also won individual titles in the shot put and discus), and wrestling. Trojan Candy saw Alissa play last season as a freshman. She is so strong and deserved to be the Pac-12 "Freshman of the Year!" I took this picture of her at a reception on March 1, 2020. Alissa posed with other freshmen Kyra White and Endyia Rogers. FIGHT ON, Alissa!

Coach Trakh bragged that four of our players made the Dean's List and that the Team GPA is 3.0 and higher. Good Work, ladies! FIGHT ON, Coach Trakh!

364084Coach Trakh was followed by one of his former players. She was guest speaker Brynn Cameron. Trojan Candy had watched Brynn play basketball at USC in 2004-2009. She came to Heritage Hall on October 10, 2008, to have an individual picture taken for the Women of Troy Basketball. My husband Jim and I were volunteering at Heritage Hall that day. Here is the picture I took of Brynn with her son Cole and her cousin Grace.

Brynn complimented Coach Trakh. She said Mark took me in as his daughter. She was pregnant during the middle of college. She had "crying" talks with him on so many levels. Brynn said that Coach Trakh is a very passionate coach. What a heartwarming story. FIGHT ON, Brynn!

10Now it was time for Men's Head Coach Andy Enfield to join the Basketball Chalk Talk. He told us that eight new players came to the team at the end of August 2020. Seven of them were eligible. These eight new players were never able to come for a recruiting campus visit to meet the current coaches or players. Trojan Candy is so glad that our eight new Trojans chose USC! Coach Enfield said that our team could not even practice together in a gym until late September. There was no preseason, no training camp, and no scrimmages because of the pandemic. Colleges in other parts of the country, including the Pac-12, were not affected so adversely as we were in California. Coach Enfield proudly told us that our team has come a long way in such a short time.

7260Unfortunately, our point guard Ethan Anderson hurt his back, was given an MRI, and will not be able to play for a while. Trojan Candy had interviewed Ethan last year. Click on his picture to read his interview.

Transfer guards Tahj Eaddy and Drew Peterson will fill in as our point guards until Ethan's return. Luckily, guard Reece Waters graduated from St. Bernard H.S. a semester early and was allowed to join our team on December 12th.

Next, Coach Enfield introduced our incoming recruits. Guard Reese Waters (#4 in California, #50 in the nation) is already on this year's 2020-2021 team. Then there is guard Malik Thomas (#61 in the nation), guard Kobe Johnson from Milwaukee, and forward Harrison Hornery, who has a 4.0 GPA. What a bright future for our alma mater! FIGHT ON, Coach Enfield!

41Host Jordan Moore then told Coach Enfield that the next special guest is Evan Mobley. Jordan asked Evan these interview questions:

Jordan: What has been the biggest adjustment for you from high school to college?

Evan: It's the physicality. In high school I was not always around big players. I'm around big guys even in our practices. I have used the ice bath a lot.

Jordan: What's it like playing with your brother Isaiah?

Evan: We know where the other one is on the court at all times. We hit each other in the right spot and have a good connection on the floor. It was very easy to get acclimated to college with both my brother and father here. Isaiah has told me to play hard every time I go out on the floor and don't slack off or take time off, or you will get put on the bench.

Jordan: Who do you look up to?

Evan: I look up to Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Jordan: What year were you born, Evan?

Evan: 2001

Jordan: Do you know what happened to USC Men's Basketball in 2001?

4544Evan shook his head from side to side and wondered. He didn’t know. FIGHT ON, Evan!

Host Jordan: The USC Men's Basketball Team made it to the Elite Eight in the NCAA but lost to Duke. The next guest speaker is Sam Clancy who played on that team.

25Sam Clancy smiled and joked about Evan being born in 2001. He said that he left USC in 2002. Then Host Jordan asked Sam why he chose USC. Sam said that he liked Coach Henry Bibby and his program. Then when he took his recruiting trip to USC from Pittsburgh, Sam said he saw the sunshine in November and thought he had just gone to heaven. Sam said it took three years for his teammates and him to earn Coach Bibby's trust. In the fourth year, the starters played most of the game even when it was a blowout. Trojan Candy had seen the 2000-2001 team play, and I have taken pictures of three of them since then. Click on the picture of Sam's teammates to read my interview of them.

They are Brian Scalabrini, Jarvis Turner,
David Blumenthal,
Desmon Farmer,
and Brandon Granville,

More personally, when Sam Clancy left USC in 2002, he played professionally with the 76ers and then in Europe, Asia, and South America. Sam has played professionally in ten countries and four continents. He was still playing professionally in Argentina when the COVID-19 pandemic shut the season down in March 2020. Sam did say that he came back to take classes at USC and just finished his degree. Congratulations, Sam!

Sam Clancy's career Sam Clancy's acceptance speechIn 2015 Sam was admitted to the USC Hall of Fame. Trojan Candy attended this ceremony, but Sam could not attend. Videos of Sam's basketball career and his prerecorded acceptance speech were shown.

In conclusion, Sam told us that he has two daughters. One is two years old, and his older daughter, who lives in Philadelphia, is sixteen. Two more future Trojans! FIGHT ON, Sam!

What an informative Men's and Women's Basketball Chalk Talk!

FIGHT ON, Women of Troy Basketball!

FIGHT ON, USC Men's Basketball!

Tuesday, December 15, 2020---USC Men's and Women's Golf Zoom

USC Director of Development-Athletics Scott Wandzilak welcomed Golf supporters to the Men's and Women's Golf Zoom meeting. Then he introduced Athletic Director Mike Bohn.

02Then A.D. Bohn introduced our new Men's Golf Coach J.T. Higgins.

04Coach Higgins told us that his girlfriend lives in southern California, and that he was going to move out here from Texas in fifteen years anyway, so he left Texas A&M to move to Los Angeles. It will be a new challenge. Coach Higgins said that the team just gathered together on December 2nd. They are rusty. Our first tournament will be at the end of January. There are four Seniors, two Freshmen, one Sophomore and one Junior. Coach Higgins complimented his team. He said that all of the players are talented, mature, accountable, and they act like professionals. The team will return to USC on 1/4/2021.

Then, Coach Higgins told us about our three recruits for Fall 2021. Two of them are Junior All-Americans. They are Gavin Aurilia and Jackson Rivera. The third recruit is Junyi Tang, who is from Beijing, China, and has pro-tournament experience. FIGHT ON, Gavin! FIGHT ON, Jackson! FIGHT ON, Junyi! Looks like we have a great class coming in!

07Women of Troy Golf Coach Justin Silverstein spoke next. He was very adamant about his team. He has a roster of ten ladies of which three are Seniors and one is a Graduate student. Fortunately, Trojan Candy had taken pictures of all four of them.

The Seniors are Alyaa Abdulghany,
Amelia Garvey (8th from left),
and Gabriela Ruffels (on the right).
Allisen Corpuz is competing as a Graduate student.

Trojan Candy and my husband Jim met all four of these ladies when we volunteered at the Pac-12 Tournament at the Palos Verdes Golf Club on April 15-17, 2019. The Women of Troy won the Team Championship! FIGHT ON, Alyaa! FIGHT ON, Amelia! FIGHT ON, Gabriel! FIGHT ON. Allisen!

Next, Coach Silverstein told us that two Rolex Junior All-Americans, Xin (Cindy) Kou and Jiarui (Joyce) Jin, have signed National Letters of Intent with USC. Our team is set for next year! FIGHT ON, Cindy! FIGHT ON, Joyce!

20Assistant Coach Katie Woodruff joined Coach Silverstein in the conversation about what our women golfers accomplished in the summer of 2020.

Coach Silverstein spoke about the guest Women of Troy team member Alyaa Abdulghany. He said that he recruited Alyaa when she was twelve years old. She is a Senior at USC now, and she serves in the Athletic Senate. Alyaa is the "point guard" of our team. She practices more than any athlete I have ever coached. Alyaa is the finest golfer I've ever seen. He asked Alyaa to unmute herself.

29Alyaa, who is from Newport Beach, is majoring in Business and minoring in Sports Media. She wanted to come to a passionate and driven team, so she chose USC. Alyaa said that she loves to practice between her classes at the Golf practice facilities in the John McKay Center. She also likes Rolling Hills Country Club. FIGHT ON, Alyaa!

11Leon D'Souza was the next student-athlete to speak. He is a Senior who transferred from Arizona. Leon has two more years of eligibility. He is from Hong Kong and is majoring in Economics.

Just as Scott Wandzilak began the Question section of the Zoom,
fellow Director of Development Athletics Suzanne Ebner introduced their new boss Daniel Solow.
Coach Daniel Solow

Next Scott asked Alyaa and Leon this question. "Have you ever had a hole in one?" Alyaa answered first. She said that she has had four. Her first hole-in-one was when she was 16. The ball banked into the hole. Leon was next. He said that he has had three. His first was when he was 9 years old and the other two when he was thirteen. Scott said that he has never had a hole in one and then asked the question to the coaches. Coach Woodruff said that she has had five, Coach Higgins showed six fingers, and Coach Silverstein said he has had six. How impressive!

It was so nice to meet athletes Alyaa and Leon and Coaches Higgins, Woodruff and Silverstein.

FIGHT ON, Women of Troy Golf!

FIGHT ON, USC Men's Golf!

Wednesday, December 9, 2020---Basketball, Swimming, Tennis, and Soccer Olympians Zoom

01USC Athletic Director Mike Bohn welcomed all of the viewers to the Olympian Speaker Series Zoom meeting for Basketball, Swimming, Tennis, and Soccer. Joining him were Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, Basketball; Steve Johnson, Tennis; Amy Rodriquez, Soccer; and Janet Evans, Swimming.

34A.D. Bohn introduced Janet Evans first. He said that at fourteen Janet won the Gold Medal in the 400m, 800m and 1500m Freestyle at Seoul Olympics in 1988. Janet in her career has won seven Olympic medals and broken seven World Records. She is the Chief Athlete Officer for the Los Angeles Olympics in 2028.

5265Trojan Candy was fortunate to have met and then taken this picture of Janet Evans in the middle of other Olympians at a Women of Troy event on October 6, 2012. FIGHT ON, Janet!

14Steve Johnson was introduced by A.D. Bohn next. He said that Steve, along with partner Jack Sock, won the Bronze Medal in Men's Tennis Doubles in the 2016 Olympics. While at USC, Steve had a 72 match winning streak as the #1 Singles. He led his team to four NCAA Championships in four years in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012!

8848When Trojan Candy volunteered at Heritage Hall, I was able to interview Steve on April 26, 2012. Click on his picture to read my interview. My husband Jim and I were able to watch Steve compete for four years at USC. FIGHT ON, Steve!

21Next A.D. Bohn introduced Amy Rodriquez. Amy starred in the 2007 NCAA National Championship game that the Women of Troy won. She scored 31 career goals, 12 were winning goals and 17 assists while at USC. Amy won two Gold Medals in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

25114223Trojan Candy met Amy at Heritage Hall on October 31, 2008, when she was the "star" on the Women's Soccer Team. I met her again on August 19, 2012, at a USC State of Troy event. There she showed me her Olympic Gold Medal. Then in 2015 Amy was on the USA Women's Soccer Team that won the World Cup. I wrote a BLOG ABOUT IT HERE. FIGHT ON, Amy!

14Last, but not least, A.D. Bohn asked the host Cynthia Cooper, "What was your favorite Olympic moment?" Cynthia said that her favorite moment was on September 29, 1988, at the Seoul Olympics. Her team had just won the Gold Medal in Women's Basketball. It was her Mom's birthday, and she was able to give her mom the Gold Medal for her birthday gift.

Trojan Candy watched Cynthia win two back-to-back Women Basketball NCAA National Titles when she played at USC. This was in 1983 and 1984. I saw my women win their second title in person when they beat Louisiana Tech first in the semi-final, and then when they beat Tennessee by 12 points in the final.

14On February 26, 2020, at the Premiere of the Women of Troy HBO movie on campus, I was able to take pictures and a video of the members of the Championship teams. Here is my picture of the entire 1984 NCAA Championship Team. Click on the picture to go to the blog and see more pictures. The 25th picture is a link to a video. FIGHT ON, Cynthia!

To start her questions, Cynthia asked the other three Olympians the same question that A.D. Bohn asked her. "What is your favorite Olympic moment?"

Janet Evans answered first. She said that she came to USC the last four years of her career. She became a Trojan and married a Trojan. The USC Support Staff helped her stay calm under pressure and revved up her career.

Steve Johnson spoke up next. His favorite 2016 Olympic moment was seeing his USC friends and teammates in the dining area. Some of friends he hadn't seen in eight years. It was such a blast to see how his friends were doing. Of course, winning the Bronze Medal was a thrill!

Amy recalled her favorite Olympic moment. She said that it was actually before the 2008 Olympics. Amy kicked the last goal in the NCAA Championship game versus Florida. USC beat Florida 2-0 and won its first NCAA Soccer Championship! Unbeknownst to Amy, there was an Olympic scout in the stands. His scout report led to a spot on the Olympic roster for Amy.

Cynthia asked two more questions to the three Olympians. Cynthia's next question was, "How did USC prepare you for life?" Steve spoke first. He said that it took him a good year to mature. His coach Peter Smith "got me to believe in myself and develop the qualities of who a Trojan is."

Amy said at USC she was surrounded by elite students, coaches and athletes. She was encouraged to strive better because she was around better athletes.

Janet was advised that there is life after sport. She is giving this same advice to her children. USC taught her to just want to take the journey and to enjoy the journey.

The last Zoom question came from USC Olympian swimmer John Naber. Cynthia read, "What does it take to win?"

Steve answered first. He said that there is some luck involved. The three things are as follows: Stay healthy and be willing to go at the biggest moment. It is a collective effort. How much do you want to sacrifice and dedicate to miss other aspects of your life?

Amy's three winning keys were pushing, sacrifice and prioritizing. She sure is succinct!

Janet agreed with Amy, then she gave her three winning keys. They were to stay calm, stay cool and remember what you learned in practice.

What good advice and what an educating Zoom!

Thank you Cynthia, Janet, Steve and Amy!

FIGHT ON, USC Olympians!