April (1) 2022 Candygrams

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Thursday, April 14, 2022---USC Men’s Basketball Banquet

Trojan Candy and my husband Jim arrived at the USC Hotel Grand Ballroom almost an hour before the Men’s Basketball Banquet was scheduled to start. I wanted to interview as many players that I could, since COVID-19 took away two basketball seasons.

1735When my sister Patti arrived, she told me that Drew Peterson was walking up the stairs behind her. Trojan Candy jumped into action. As soon as Drew arrived, I essentially “grabbed him.” Why? Because of two reasons. Drew transferred to USC from Rice University. The second reason is that my father, whose name was Charlie Chan, was the first minority to graduate from Rice Institute (the original name of Rice University) in 1941. My dad was accepted into Rice on a basketball scholarship! He majored in Architecture. Drew and I had quite a conversation about Rice. Then he let me interview him. Drew is from Libertyville, Illinois. His older brother played basketball at Xavier. At Rice, Drew majored in Economics. At USC, he is majoring in Business. More personally. Drew’s favorite food is sushi. His favorite music is hip-hop and R & B. I asked Drew if he likes to dance...He said, “I’m not too good of a dancer.” When I asked him what is his favorite book, Drew said, “I’m not too much of a reader.” But Drew’s hobby is watching movies. His favorite movie is the Wolf of Wall Street. So glad to meet you, Drew! FIGHT ON, Drew!

1737Next, Trojan Candy boldly walked up to several players and chose Kobe Johnson to interview next because his dad was standing next to him. Here are Kobe and his dad Rod. I asked Rod if he named Kobe after Kobe Bryant. He said that he did. 1739Then, Kobe’s mother Stacy joined Kobe and Rod for a picture.

Next, Kobe let me interview him. Kobe, who is from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, just finished his freshman year. He is majoring in Communication and minoring in Real Estate. When asked why he chose USC, Kobe said, “Being from the mid-west, he loves the weather in Los Angeles, and he had so much trust in the coaches.” More personally, Kobe’s favorite food is steak. He likes R & B music the most. For hobbies, Kobe likes to play video games and to draw. Then I asked him what he likes to draw. Kobe replied, “anything.” His favorite movie is any Marvel movie. Then he said that Avengers movies are his favorites. In addition to playing basketball, Kobe also likes to play football and baseball. So nice to meet you, Kobe! FIGHT ON, Kobe!

1740Nearby, Trojan Candy spotted senior Amar Ross. Amar, who is from Long Beach, is a graduate transfer from Bethesda University, who majored in Psychology at USC. He has been on the team since October 2020. His mother has worked at USC for 32 years in the Admission Office. More personally, Amar’s favorite food is medium cooked steak and potatoes. He likes R & B and Rap music the best. His hobby is investing. Amar’s favorite television show is HBO’s Winning Time: The Rise of the Laker’s Dynasty. So nice to meet you, Amar! FIGHT ON, Amar!

1742Trojan Candy took this picture of a large group of players next. In the front are Kobe Johnson, Amar Ross, Ethan Anderson (11/9/2019), and Max Agbonkpolo (11/7/2019). Behind are Reese Dixon-Waters, Malik Thomas, and Joshua Morgan. Trojan Candy has known Ethan and Max since 2019 when I interviewed both of them. Meet Ethan and Max by clicking/tapping on their names for their interviews.

1746Trojan Candy asked Joshua Morgan if I could interview him next. Yes, at 6’11", he is that tall! Josh, who is from Sacramento, came to USC from Long Beach State. In addition to basketball, Joshua likes to play football and run track. What an athlete! More personally, Joshua’s favorite food is catfish. His favorite music is Rap and R & B. He doesn’t like any country music. His favorite artist is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, and record producer, J. Cole. 101 Essays Change the Way You Think is his favorite book. For his hobby, Josh likes to paint. Trojan Candy would love to see some of his paintings. So nice to meet you and interview you, Joshua! FIGHT ON, Joshua!

1748Trojan Candy was so grateful that the entire team was so cooperative and let me interview them one by one. Reese Dixon-Waters was the next player I was able to interview. I asked Reese, who is from Long Beach, why he chose USC. Reese told me that USC was close to home so he came to USC games. He also built a relationship with the USC Coaches. Reese is majoring in Psychology. He likes to write, draw and read. Right now Reese is in the process of writing a book about an inner city kid in Los Angeles, who is trying to figure out who he is. Outstanding! He likes to draw Anime Characters. More personally, Reese’s favorite food is sandwiches. His favorite music is Rap. As for sports, in addition to playing basketball, Reese told me that he plays volleyball, soccer, football and baseball. Reese told me that he is really good at football and soccer. That is not bragging, that is the truth! Perhaps he will be a three-sport star at USC! So nice to meet you and interview you, Reese! FIGHT ON, Reese!

1752Nearby was Boogie Ellis. At first Trojan Candy didn’t recognize Boogie because his hat was covering his hair. Trojan Candy essentially grabbed him away from the gentleman he was talking with. Boogie, who is from San Diego, transferred to USC from Memphis. He is majoring in Communication. More personally, Boogie’s favorite food is Filipino food. Drake is his favorite entertainer. For fun, Boogie likes to play basketball, football and quarterback games. Fortnite Battle Royale is his favorite video game. So nice to meet you and interview you, Boogie! FIGHT ON, Boogie!

1755Thank goodness that the players stayed together so close. Trojan Candy could just walk over so easily and get another player to interview. Max Agbonkpolo was the next player I was able to interview. [It turns out that it is the second time that I would interview him. Go to the group picture above and click/tap his name to read his first interview.] Yes, he is also that tall...just like Joshua. Max held up the newspaper article I gave him that included his picture. Max, who is from Laguna Niguel, California, told me that soccer was his favorite sport, and he played soccer until he was 12 or 13. Then he had to stop playing soccer because he grew too tall. So he started playing basketball. More personally, Max’s favorite food is sushi. His favorite music is Hip Hop. As for a favorite movie, Max likes Marvel movies. He likes to play video games, especially NBA 2K and FIFA. His favorite television shows are Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad. So nice to interview you for a second time, Max. FIGHT ON, Max!

video 2080Just after Trojan Candy finished interviewing Max, I heard the Spirit of Troy. The band led all the guests into the dining room. Then, the Spirit of Troy played Fight On! for our entertainment.

Once inside, my sister Pat, brother-in-law Dudley Poon, my friend Kent Hollenbeck, Jim and I sat down at Table 4. Then I immediately started walking around to take more pictures of players.

1757Nearby were three players. Harrison Hornery, Isaiah Mobley (11/7/2019), and Ethan Anderson. Trojan Candy has also known Isaiah since 2019 when I interviewed him. Meet Isaiah even more personally! Click/tap on his name for his interview. FIGHT ON, Harrison! FIGHT ON, Isaiah! FIGHT ON, Ethan!

1759At the next table, Reese Dixon-Waters sat with a friend and Jelany White.

1762Trojan Candy walked to the table next to the wall. I took a picture of the family of Malik Thomas. Standing were Malik’s brother Kameron and Malik. Sitting were his brother, Dad Stanley and Mother Niema. So nice to meet you and your family, Malik! FIGHT ON, Malik!

Unfortunately, senior Isaiah White, his wife Jazmine, daughter and son were not able to come to the banquet because there was a family illness. A tremendously tall USC basketball player joined us in Isaiah’s place. Boubacar Coulibaly, who is 6’10”, is from Bamako, Mali. In America, he attended the San Gabriel Academy in Pasadena before becoming a Trojan. Naturally, Trojan Candy interviewed him. Boubacar is a sophomore and is majoring in International Relations. He started playing basketball when he was fourteen years old, and he also played soccer. Boubacar has two older brothers and a younger sister and brother. More personally, Boubacar speaks three languages. He told us that he actually spoke French first. Then a Bambarra dialect. And now, English. His favorite food is Benihana’s filet mignon. Boubacar’s favorite movie is Blood and Tears. He likes to play the Tekken video game series. It is so nice to meet you, Boubacar, and to get to interview you! FIGHT ON, Boubacar!

Trojan Candy took this picture of Boubacar with my friend Kent Hollenbeck.
Earlier, I had taken a picture of Kent with Reese Dixon-Waters.
Here is Kent Hollenbeck with Boogie Ellis.

Trojan Candy always sits with Kent at every Men’s Basketball Banquet we have attended. FIGHT ON, Kent!

After dinner, the program started. My husband Jim took videos of all of the proceedings and I snapped pictures.

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In the first program video, Coach Enfield talked about Trojans who are currently playing in the NBA.
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Now, the Awards Presentation began.
Dr. James H. Zumberge Academic Award for the Highest G.P.A. (3.97 GPA): Reggie Parris
Bill Sharman Award (Best Free Throw Percentage 86.4%): Reese Dixon-Waters
Bob Boyd Award (Top Rebounder): Isaiah Mobley
John Rudometkin Award (110% Effort): Chevez Goodwin
Forrest F. Twogood Memorial Award (Best Defensive Player): Kobe Johnson
Harold Jones Memorial Award (Most Improved Player): Drew Peterson
Ryan Francis Scholarship Award (Underclassman who made an impression through example): Harrison Hornery
Ernie Holbrook Memorial Award (Most Inspirational Play): Chevez Goodwin and Isaiah White (absent)
Sam Barry Award (Most Valuable Player): Isaiah Mobley
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After the Awards Presentation was over, this video about our 2022 season was shown on the screen.
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The program ended with a short “heart felt” speech by Chevez Goodwin.
Then every guest started taking pictures. Trojan Candy took these two pictures of the team.

1782Trojan Candy managed to take this picture of Chevez Goodwin and ask him a few questions. Chevez told me that he chose to come to USC for a new experience. More personally, his favorite music is Hip Hop. Unfortunately, I couldn’t read my own handwriting because I wrote his other answers so quickly. What a short interview! FIGHT ON, Chevez!

1783Here is a picture of Chevez with the Spirit of Troy and fellow players Boogie Ellis, Ethan Anderson, Isaiah Mobley, and Max Agbonkpolo. Coach Eric Mobley is at the right of my picture.

Here is a candid shot of some of the team.
Another candid shot of some of the team.
Harrison Hornery and Drew Peterson posed with my sister Patti Poon.
Then I took this picture of Ethan Anderson with my brother-in-law Dudley and my sister Patti.

1797Coach Enfield came over to say, “Hello.” Then I took a picture of him with my husband Jim.

1794I started my blog article with a picture of Drew Peterson and will end my blog with a picture of him with his award.

What a memorable 2022 Men’s Basketball Banquet!

FIGHT ON, USC Men’s Basketball!

Wednesday, April 13, 2022---USC Men’s Tennis Senior Salute

My husband Jim and I attended the tennis match between the USC Men's team and the team from the University of San Diego. Today was Senior Salute Day. USC Men’s tennis Head Coach Brett Masi allowed my husband Jim and me to go onto the courts to take pictures of the Senior Salute. Thank you, Coach Masi!

The team formed two lines by the entry door before the ceremony started.
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The Team Manager Rohan Kota was honored first.
Here is Rohan with Tennis Administrator Paul Perrier, Athletic Director Mike Bohn, Assistant Coach Rich Bonfiglio, and Coach Brett Masi.

1717Now the Senior tennis players were introduced. The first Senior was Paul Barretto. Unfortunately, my camera malfunctioned, and I took just a few seconds of video of Paul. Sorry, Paul! I did take your picture with Paul Perrier, Mike Bohn, Coach Bonfiglio, and Coach Masi.

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The second Senior was Jake Sands.
Jake posed with Paul Perrier, Mike Bohn, Coach Bonfiglio, and Coach Masi.
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The third Senior was Mor Bulis who is now a Student Assistant Coach.
Then, Mor posed with Paul Perrier, Mike Bohn, Coach Bonfiglio, and Coach Masi.

1724Our three Seniors posed together with their commemorative pictures.

1726Coach Masi and Coach Bonfiglio joined our three Seniors.

What a memorable Senior Salute for Paul, Jake, and Mor!

As our team started the Doubles, Trojan Candy was still busy taking pictures and interviewing two of the Seniors. Senior Mor Bulis was fulfilling his duty as a Student Assistant Coach on the court. FIGHT ON, Mor!

1731I took this picture of Jake Sands with his mother Katherine and his father Howard. Jake majored in Business Administration. His older brother played tennis at U. Penn. Jake’s dad played tennis at Harvard, and he also played professionally. More personally, Jake’s favorite food is pasta, then sushi. His favorite music is Rap, and he also likes house music. Entourage is Jake’s favorite television show. As for hobbies, Jake enjoys playing sports and golf. He likes to surf and listen to music. It was so nice to interview you, Jake. FIGHT ON, Jake!

1733Trojan Candy was so happy to also interview Graduate Student Paul Barretto. Paul transferred to USC from Cal. At Cal he majored in Political Science and Political Economics. At USC he earned his Master’s degree in the Study of Law and in the Commercial Real Estate Field. More personally, Paul’s favorite food is cheese. That is a first for Trojan Candy. No other USC athlete whom I have interviewed since 2008 has told me that their favorite food is cheese. As for music, Paul likes Oldies music. His favorite “Oldies” performers are the Beatles! As for hobbies, Paul loves playing all sports, especially tennis and golf. He likes to go to movies. His favorite movie is the Life of Pi. Paul also likes to read. Open by Andre Agassi and The Catcher in the Rye are his favorites. It was so nice to interview Paul. FIGHT ON, Paul!

Our men beat San Diego 4-0. What a great evening!

Saturday, April 2, 2022---Meet Women of Troy Tennis Alumnae

My husband Jim and I arrived early to the Women of Troy tennis match versus Washington. It was also "Legends Day" for honoring Women of Troy legends. Our friend and Director of Tennis Operations Philip Siordia invited us to a scrumptious lunch where we met several Women of Troy tennis alumnae.

15291523The first famous Women of Troy Tennis alumna we met was Gretchen Galt Miller. She played tennis at USC in 1973-1977. The 1977 team won USC's first national championship in Women's tennis and she was an All-American. She majored in Business and now lives in Laguna Beach. Gretchen started playing tennis when she was seven years old. For fun, Gretchen likes to play beach volleyball, pickle ball and golf. More personally, Gretchen’s favorite food is salads. Her favorite music is any current music. Gretchen brought her mother Patricia as her guest. FIGHT ON, Gretchen!

1530The next famous Women of Troy Tennis alumna whom Trojan Candy interviewed was Barbara Hallquist DeGroot. Barbara was the first female to sign for an athletic scholarship at USC and played tennis at USC in 1975-1979. Her USC women's tennis team won national championships in 1977, 1978 and 1979! [The Women's team also won the national championship in 1980.] She was a four-time All-American and twice national singles champion. After the 1979 season she played professional tennis. Barbara was inducted into the USC Hall of Fame in 2012. 1537 Here is the picture I took of her plaque. She started playing tennis when she was ten years old. Barbara loved to run, so she liked track, softball and basketball. She married John in 1983 and has a son Matthew who played eight-man football, lacrosse, and basketball at Cate High School in Carpinteria. He was the “co-best male athlete” at his high school. More personally, Barbara likes Indian, Mexican and Italian food without meat. Motown and Beatles music is her favorite. FIGHT ON, Barbara!

1524The third famous Women of Troy Tennis alumna whom we met was Diane Desfor Stalder. She played at USC in 1973-1977 as Gretchen's teammate and was a three-time All-American. Diane’s dad started her when she was seven years old to play tennis. She earned her Psychology degree at USC in 1977, and then her U.S. Law degree in 1991. She is retired now but is currently serving on the Orange County Civil Grand Jury for a one year term. Diane has a daughter Samantha (27) and a son Reese (25) who is playing professional tennis now. Like mother....like son! Diane’s husband Curt played tennis at UC Irvine and is a tennis umpire now. 1524 Her mother Jan played with Barbara Hallquist in the professional circuit for four years. More personally, Diane’s favorite food is chocolate and sushi. Her hobbies are hiking and reading historical fiction. FIGHT ON, Diane! FIGHT ON, Jan!

1534Trojan Candy interviewed a special USC Senior who passed out the beautiful black t-shirts to every fan today. Maya “Danny” Mendez, who is from Hawaii, transferred from the University of Hawaii in Manoa to USC. She is majoring in Communication. Danny loves sports, just like yours truly. She wants to start a blog, just like yours truly. Her other aspirations are to do a lot of café hopping, and then start her own coffee shops. More personally, Danny loves talking, running and surfing! Her favorite food is pastry, croissants, and desserts. Ymmm! FIGHT ON, Danny!

1536Trojan Candy saw a very familiar face! Giuliana Olmos said, “Hi.” I interviewed Giu Giu in Heritage Hall when she was a freshman at USC in 2012. CLICK HERE to read her interview (3/23/2012). Giu Giu is playing professionally now and doing very well! It was so nice to see Giu Giu again! KEEP FIGHTING ON, Giu Giu!

1966Yes, all this time, the Women of Troy tennis match was going on. Our women defeated #24 Washington 4-1! Here is the victory scoreboard.

Congratulations Women of Troy Tennis!

1971All of the Women of Troy Tennis Alumnae took a picture with our current team on the court.

What a momentous day and victory!