Tough hill to climb for Trojan basketball

first_imgThey happened five months and more than 6,000 miles apart.First, there was the late March press conference at the Galen Center in Los Angeles where first-team All-Pac-10 center Nikola Vucevic declared he was skipping his senior season at USC to enter the NBA draft.Just last week, in a nondescript gymnasium outside Sao Paulo, star senior guard Jio Fontan landed awkwardly after being hit on a drive to the basket late in the first half of USC’s preseason game against a Brazilian professional team, tearing a ligament in his left knee and ending his season before it started.USC’s 2011-2012 basketball season doesn’t tip off until mid-November, yet its two defining moments have already taken place.The Trojans record is still unblemished at 0-0, but it feels like they’ve already lost so much.Now, let’s spare the doom and gloom and refrain from calling this a lost season for USC basketball.It is still only August and the Trojans have some intriguing young talent.USC’s group of freshmen and transfers could end up gelling very well together.A return trip to the NCAA tournament isn’t out of the question.The season that will be, however, is overshadowed by what could have been.With Vucevic and Fontan in the lineup alongside guard Maurice Jones, the Trojans would have returned their top three scorers from a season ago.Instead, USC now only boasts two players on its roster that scored in a game for the Trojans last year — Jones and sophomore forward Garrett Jackson.Newcomers Aaron Fuller and Dewayne Dedmon would have been expected to fill their roles solidly, not spectacularly.Now, they will be counted on to shoulder a good portion of the offensive load.The leftover effects of the O.J. Mayo scandal won’t help the team cope with the losses of Vucevic and Fontan, either.“Right now, this third year, especially with Jio getting hurt, that’s when you get hit with the remnant of these sanctions where we lost two recruiting classes,” USC coach Kevin O’Neill said. “We have a bunch of inexperienced guys that have never played. They’re going to get a lot of experience early and hopefully they respond well and turn themselves into a really good postseason team.”This could have been a banner season for recently rejuvenated USC basketball.After making only six NCAA tournament appearances from 1962 to 2000, the Trojans have qualified six times in the last 11 seasons.USC’s runs to the Elite Eight in 2001 and the Sweet 16 in 2007 marked the first time the program had made it past the second round of the Big Dance since 1954.“Our only goal is to make the NCAA tournament and try to win the Pac-12 title,” O’Neill said. “Those are our goals and I don’t think we should change those goals.”Fontan’s injury was an especially cruel blow to the Trojans, with his teammates forced to watch their leader stretchered off the floor.“In my career, I’ve never felt worse for a player than I feel for him,” O’Neill said. “The first two and a half games [of the Brazil trip], he was playing at a first-round-NBA-draft-pick level. I feel bad for him that way and bad for our team that he can’t be there to lead us and do all the things that a guy of his caliber would do.”Freshman Alexis Moore, from Long Beach Poly High, will be tasked with stepping into Fontan’s spot in the starting lineup.“He’s going to have to be a guy that doesn’t play like a freshman,” O’Neill said. “And even then, it’s going to be very difficult for a guy his age to step into his role that requires a ton of leadership, especially for what is a very young and inexperienced team now.”The schedule will do the Trojans no favors, either.With non-conference games against Kansas, San Diego State and Georgia, a potential tournament date with North Carolina in Las Vegas and a challenging Pac-12 slate, USC’s young players will be tested early and often.This season, however, will not make or break USC basketball.The gains the Trojans have made over the last decade have been substantial. The program weathered the storm of NCAA sanctions while enjoying its greatest run of success in recent history.The future remains bright for the Trojans — a talented and youthful roster, an experienced head coach and a recruiting foothold in the Southern California basketball market are all long-term assets.The short term gains of the 2011-2012 year, however, don’t look nearly as promising as how they were projected six months ago. “Sellin’ the Sizzle” runs Wednesdays. To comment on this article, visit dailytrojan.com or email Jonathan at [email protected]last_img read more


Liberian Forests: the Blessings Remain

first_imgLiberia is one very blessed country! Why we are not among the most highly developed in our sub-Region is hard to answer.One manifestation of these blessing is our forests. After all these years of logging, Liberia is, according to Forestry Development Authority (FDA) Managing Director Harrison Karnwea, still the only country in the sub-Region with 43 percent of its forests intact. Intensive logging in Liberia began during the Tubman administration. Some Liberians remember filmmaker Bill Alexander’s famous documentary on Liberian forests, “Wealth in Wood.” It was produced in collaboration with the then Department of Information and Cultural Affairs (DICA), headed by Secretary E. Reginald Townsend. He commissioned many other documentaries on Liberia and, along with cultural icon Bai T. Moore, created the National Cultural Center at Kindejah and the National Cultural Troupe, which won worldwide acclaim. Townsend was also part of the decision making that created the Ducor Intercontinental Hotel, West Africa’s first five-star hotel. The Ducor was supposed to have spearheaded the launching of tourism in Liberia and West Africa—but. He also initiated the creation of the Liberian Broadcasting System, the training of scores of Liberian media and artistic personnel and the production of numerous books on Liberia. But both of these men were mistreated by the Liberian government. Bai T. was summarily removed from his job as Deputy Secretary for Culture, without even a pension. But Mr. Townsend got the worst of it—he was executed by firing squad following the 1980 coup d’état!Sometimes these diversions are necessary for historical purposes. Now back to Liberia’s forests.Last week President Pro Tempore of the Liberian Senate, Armah Jallah, expressed concern that Liberian logging activities had “ceased,” leading to interruption in related development activities such as jobs and the construction and maintenance of roads. The Senator made his comments when he received a visiting Montana State Legislator, Dave Hagstrom, who offered to introduce hydro-electric power in Gbarpolu County. Mr. Hagstrom said in his native State of Montana, people purchase electricity at only 9 cents, compared to 53 cents per kilowatt in Liberia.It was not clear why Senator Jallah, during that conversation, jumped from cheap electricity to logging. Was Mr. Hagstrom interested in logging?Mr. hagstrom’s push for mini hydros is one of this newspaper’s constant themes. In Monday’s editorial we wondered why Liberia was not using its many rivers to produce cheap electricity. So far there is only one up-country town producing hydro-electricity— in Yandehun, Kolahun District, and Lofa County. President Sirleaf dedicated it early last year. Our Correspondent Alaskai Johnson, who coveredVice President Boakai’s Lofa visit last week, also visited Yandehum where Alaskai observed that the town was enjoying electricity “24-7.”We hope Mr. Hagstrom will fulfill his Gbarpolu plan. This will encourage government to exploit our rivers and extend cheap power throughout the country.FDA’s Managing Director was quick to react to Pro Temp Jallah’s concern of alleged cessation of logging in Liberia. Far from it, said Mr. Karnwea, logging is ongoing. In interviews with this newspaper, he named several logging companies engaged in Liberia. The Daily Observer then asked what was the status of GOL’s agreement with Norway. It is due to take effect this year, with Liberia standing to gain US$150 million for preserving its forestry reserves and promoting the campaign against carbon omissions. That agreement is on course and comes into effect this year. Mr. Karnwea then gave some details on the country’s forestry reserves. The largest is the SAPO National Reserve; then the East Nimba, between Nimba and Gedeh Counties; Lake Piso in Grand Cape Mount; and the Gola Forest between Grand Cape Mount and Gbarpolu.Mr. Karnwea further stated that the FDA is working on legislation for other forest reserves—the Wani Gizi in Lofa, the Grebo Forest in Grand Gedeh and River Gee Counties, the Kpelleh Forest between Gbarpolu and Bong Counties and the Sanquin in Grand Kru and Sinoe Counties, etc. It is a fact that Liberia is rich in forest reserves, which are thankfully in place. Several of them still have elephants and other wildlife, enhancing Liberia’s vast tourism potential. Hopefully soon, the President will find someone who can successfully organize tourism and Liberia would finally be on its way to reap its long delayed tourism bonanza. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more


Parties working together to modernize health professions regulation

first_imgFor more information, you can visit the Province’s website. British Columbians can participate in an online survey or through written feedback. VICTORIA, B.C. – The Provincial Ministry of Health says a steering committee, with representatives from all three parties in the legislature, has worked together on a proposal to modernize the province’s health professions regulatory system. – Advertisement -The Province is now seeking public input on the proposed changes. Some of the proposed changes include ensuring regulatory colleges put the public interest and patient safety ahead of professional interests, and simplify and increase transparency in the public complaints and professional disciplinary process. The consultation period runs until January 10, 2020. Advertisement According to the Government, the proposal has a focus on increasing transparency and patient safety.last_img read more


Go back to the enewsletter The Regional Managing D

first_imgGo back to the enewsletterThe Regional Managing Director of Abercrombie & Kent has called on travel advisors to ensure clients are aware of a valuable proposition the luxury travel company offers to prospective clients.Speaking in Sydney earlier this month to 80 top-selling agents during the company’s Australian roadshow, Sujata Raman said “don’t let clients think A&K is expensive”.Raman’s comments referred to the extent of inclusions offered in Abercrombie & Kent’s extensive selection of independent and escorted itineraries around the world, many of which cost up to tens-of-thousands of dollars, with some exclusive tours priced in the hundreds-of-thousands.“I don’t think agents need to be convinced about the level of inclusion A&K provides. They know the standard, they know the reputation, they know the brand.” “People will often say to me that they know A&K, they love A&K and there’s this notion that it’s just an aspirational brand. Comments like ‘You’re the best. One of these days I’ll do your trips’, are common. “We say to agents that they’ve got to encourage their clients to actually look at the pricing and compare it. Look at the inclusions because people have to get value for money. It doesn’t matter what end of the market, you need to get value and then when I hear the kind of holidays that they are doing, they could have done an A&K holiday for that sort of money,” Raman explained to LATTE.Indeed, some Abercrombie & Kent packages are under $600 per person per day, such as the South India and Sri Lanka journey which are $599; a Croatia itinerary, slightly higher at $692; or Egypt for $811.Separately, Raman also raised the topic of “luxury disruptors” in the deals space, such as Luxury Escapes.“I think they’ve created a lot of conversation around luxury. Because I do think it’s a commodification of luxury. I say to guests, if you want to have three or four nights at a luxury hotel, I can’t add any value to that. Go with Luxury Escapes, absolutely.”“But if you want the best expertise around your lifestyle holiday to Africa, then you come to someone like A&K or to one of the many other tour operators there are. “There are different kinds of tour operators with all levels of service. But I think that adds a layer that a deals site cannot do. I’m not picking on a particular deals site as they do a great job, but it’s just a different model.”Go back to the enewsletterlast_img read more