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Now that the 2022 season is officially in the books it's time to look at look back on how USC's young Trojans i.e. the freshmen fared. This is the second part of my two-part installment as we wrap up with the true freshmen of USC's 2022 class, a last-minute push from Lincoln Riley after taking over the USC job. Overall, the 2022 class played a nice role this season with some bright futures.The true freshmen are broken up into three categories: The Injured, Time to Sit and Learn, Kid, and The Future. You can check out ...
Now that the 2022 season is officially in the books it's time to look at look back on how USC's young Trojans i.e. the freshmen fared. This is the second part of my two-part installment as we wrap up with the true freshmen of USC's 2022 class, a last-minute push from Lincoln Riley after taking over the USC job. Overall, the 2022 class played a nice role this season with some bright futures.
The true freshmen are broken up into three categories: The Injured, Time to Sit and Learn, Kid, and The Future. You can check out Part 1 of the installment here.
*All snaps counts are based on Shotgun Spratling's extensive tracking from throughout the season. All stats are taken from USC's official stats.
Participation: Zero Games
Overview: The two-way athlete prospect out of Utah was a late high school signee for USC's 2022 class, a Utah early enrollee that sought transfer after spring camp with the Utes. Tabaracci would've been a nice depth piece, but he battled an undisclosed injury once he arrived and rehabbed the entire season. Tabaracci is still learning the linebacker position, so we expect the 2023 season to be a developmental season where he can grow on scout team and potentially contribute on special teams. There might even been some special offensive packages given his talent as an H-back out of high school.
Participation: Zero Games
Overview: The national safety signee should've been firmly among The Future section of this list, but a severe knee injury in summer workouts required surgery and sidelined the talented freshman all year. Branch was deemed ahead of schedule in his recovery midway through the season, even suiting up on a couple of gamedays and lightly participating in team warmups, but the staff played the cautious route and held him out. It's more than likely Branch would've played for USC's defense in 2022 if he had been healthy, a big athletic safety that could've helped improve some weaknesses. He will be brought along slowly but expect Branch to compete for snaps in the secondary in 2023.
Participation: Zero Games
Overview: One of USC's late high school signees was the speedy Georgia linebacker Madden. The three-star prospect is a project as didn't start playing football until his junior season, so there is a lot to learn at the position. Madden's track speed makes him a unique defender in the middle of the field, but he also needs to add weight to his 6-foot-2 frame. If Madden sees gains to his body this offseason he should be in the mix to potentially play on special teams. USC's linebacker room is filled with veterans at the top so 2023 will likely be another year of development.
Participation: 1 game (2 snaps)
Overview: For those that followed Thompkins' recruitment, it shouldn't come as a surprise that he took a redshirt in 2022. The former basketball star turned football player only played one season of high school football, showing enough to earn multiple Power 5 offers. Despite virtually no action in 2022, Thompkins has already started generating buzz for 2023 given USC's need for interior defensive lineman. Thompkins was listed as an EDGE when he signed, but at 6-foot-6 he was seen working with the defensive line in practice. His development last season will dictate his play next fall, but he is a big one to watch going into spring camp.
Participation: 3 games (15 snaps)
Overview: The four-star signee out of Bishop Gorman was going to be hard pressed to find playing time among a deep secondary with multiple veterans returning at safety, so the redshirt season isn't a surprise. All of his snaps came on special teams, which is where he could be a major contributor for next season. But I would also consider Ross a dark horse to earn some decent defensive snaps next fall and push for the rotation. The upcoming spring camp could be a nice little springboard going into the summer for No. 26.
Stats: 4 receptions for 34 yards
Participation: 11 games (58 snaps)
Overview: The former Mater Dei standout and four-star receiver enrolled at USC in the spring but was limited due to a nagging injury. Williams appeared to be coming around in the fall with several big plays, earning praise from head coach Lincoln Riley. He played a bit early but couldn't crack the rotation of a very talented USC wide receiver unit. He would be listed in The Future section, but Williams opted to enter the NCAA Transfer Portal in January. He was quickly scooped up by Wisconsin and is already enrolled.
Stats: 2 tackles, pass breakup
Participation: 7 games (65 snaps)
Overview: The former five-star signee Jackson, the gem of the high school class, touched on all three categories as he missed most of spring camp with injury and multiple stretches of the season as well. He also didn't redshirt the year but played less than 100 snaps on the season. In the end he flashed all the potential that made him a five-star prospect and earned some key snaps in key games. Fans certainly wanted to see more of Jackson, especially late in the season after drawing buzz for his bowl practices. Jackson will be firmly in the mix to win a starting job next season if he's healthy.
Stats: 42 carries, 238 yards (5.4 ypc), 3 TDs; 16 receptions, 175 yards, 3 TDs
Participation: 14 games (181 snaps)
Overview: The biggest clear-cut star of the 2022 class was the dynamic running back Brown, who flirted with 200 snaps on the year. He got off the season to a hot start, including a Heisman pose after his first career TD. But an ankle injury kept him less than 100 percent early in the year and limited his snaps. Brown still managed plenty of highlight plays, including six total TDs, one of five skill players with at least six scores. Brown ended on a high note with a career-high 61 rushing yards and a score in the Cotton Bowl loss. USC has two veteran running backs for next season, but Brown figures to see his role expand even more in 2023. It could very well be the breakout season for No. 14 in 2023.
Oregon defensive line transfer Keanu Williams unofficially visited UCLA Saturday and verbally committed.4s up ?? pic.twitter.com/xfvgDbe3bT— K D U B (@1k_kdub7) January 29, ...
Oregon defensive line transfer Keanu Williams unofficially visited UCLA Saturday and verbally committed.
4s up ?? pic.twitter.com/xfvgDbe3bT— K D U B (@1k_kdub7) January 29, 2023
Williams entered the transfer portal a couple of weeks ago and UCLA was immediately on him aggressively. He reportedly officially visited Ole Miss last weekend, but the feeling from the moment he entered the portal was that the former Clovis (Calif.) prospect wanted to return to California for the rest of his college career, and UCLA specifically.
The 6-4, 300-pound Williams was a four-star prospect out of high school in 2021, and redshirted his first year in Eugene. He didn't see much playing time this last season as a redshirt freshman, appearing in six games and getting just two tackles and one pass break-up, but the feeling in Oregon is that Williams flashed some upside. He played a good portion of Oregon's game against Cal and reportedly was very effective at putting pressure on the Cal quarterback, showing athleticism and nice technique.
UCLA recruited Williams aggressively out of high school, probably coming in second for Williams' services. UCLA edge coach Ikaika Malloe recruited Williams when he was with Washington, so there was familiarity there.
247Sports' Brandon Huffman said this about Williams as a high school prospect: "Has a quick first step and plays with leverage, using his length to get to the ball carrier and quarterback. Can get caught overpursuing but shows ability to get to the play quickly. Good at dipping and ripping, showing a variety of moves but also using his strength and physicality to overpower blockers. Plays with consistency, shows a good motor and routinely makes impact plays. Projects as a Power 5 starter and third day NFL pick."
Position-wise Williams will fit UCLA's need at defensive line -- more of a three-technique than a nose.
He'll be a redshirt sophomore for the 2023 season.
Williams is UCLA's 28th commitment overall for the 2023 class, and the 14th transfer (that includes one JC transfer). For a look at the UCLA 2023 class, GO HERE.
Lee Edward Colston II is difficult to neatly define, and that’s by design. A former prison guard and MMA fighter who graduated from Juilliard’s inaugural acting MFA program in 2016, Colston has since pivoted to being an actor, writer, director and teacher. Now his play The First Deep Breath, a family drama set in Philadelphia that explores grief and the winding path toward healing, is making its West Coast debut Feb. 1 at the ...
Lee Edward Colston II is difficult to neatly define, and that’s by design. A former prison guard and MMA fighter who graduated from Juilliard’s inaugural acting MFA program in 2016, Colston has since pivoted to being an actor, writer, director and teacher. Now his play The First Deep Breath, a family drama set in Philadelphia that explores grief and the winding path toward healing, is making its West Coast debut Feb. 1 at the Geffen Playhouse.
The inspiration for the play — a drama about a Baptist pastor and his family — was a true story he read about: A family in Philadelphia, some 12 years ago, was plagued by tragedy during the holidays when a firearm the son had purchased for his father as a gift accidentally went off, killing the son. “At the time, I started asking questions like, ‘What creates the conditions for something like that to occur?’ ” Colston says. “My journey with this piece [which premiered in Chicago in 2019] is if you cannot foster empathy for people who look like you, for people who come from the same house you come from and who are literally sharing your DNA, how are you going to build empathy with people who don’t look like you, who don’t come from your community? I feel like the family unit is the foundation of our politics.”
For the Black, queer playwright, the production marks a return to the theater. Colston — who also performs in The First Deep Breath — is a co-producer on Ryan Murphy’s upcoming American Sports Story: Gladiator and in the process of developing a series with The Handmaid’s Tale producer Warren Littlefield. He previously wrote on FX’s Fargo (THR named his episode, “East/West,” one of the top TV episodes of 2020). “Because COVID separated us and segregated us, I’m just now starting to find my way back into the American theater,” he says. “L.A. seems like the perfect place to find my footing in this new world. I’m more interested in the connectivity that the play is offering than anything else, really. It’s just creating the space for human beings to share stories with each other.”
Colston, who grew up in North Philadelphia, had his first theater experience in high school when a teacher took him to see For colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf. The then-17-year-old, enraptured by the play, told his parents that day, “I’m going to be an artist.” He wrote his first play, Solitary, a few years later, inspired by his time working in a prison in Philadelphia and by the men he met there.
“I approach storytelling through the lens of an actor, but it also just so happens to be through the lens of someone who’s able to wear multiple hats,” says Colston. “At the end of the day, the spine that connects all of these things is story. And if you understand story, you can unlock the world — not even just in an artistic sense, but as human beings.
“One of the significant motivating factors for me and my work is that I prioritize creating art that amplifies, edifies and examines the magic and mess of Black people,” he continues, “but what I find is that the deeper that I go into that, the more universal the stories become. Because when you zero in on the specific, the universal blooms.”
This story first appeared in the Jan. 27 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.
On Saturday, the Los Angeles Lakers will be kicking off a five-game road trip in the most noteworthy of fashions against the Boston Celtics.As LeBron James continues to chase Kareem Abdul-Jabbar ...
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It’s “Rivals Week” in the NBA, and although most of the games this week seemed like the league forcing these “rivalries” onto the general public, there’s nothing forced about this one as there are generations on generations of bad blood between these two fanbases.
And although the fire between these two current iterations of the franchise could use a little stoking, that diminished state of the rivalry won’t keep the competitiveness on Saturday a low point. Both teams could really use a win with the Lakers hoping to win their first real game with Anthony Davis back (after playing on a minutes restriction in Wednesday’s win vs. the Spurs), and the Celtics currently dealing with a three-game losing streak for just the second time this season.
Will the reinforced Lakers find a way to start their road trip in an exhilarting way by giving the Celtics their first four-game losing streak of the year?
Speaking of reinforcements, that leads us straight into the rest of our preview.
Other than Anthony Davis’s return on Wednesday, Lakers fans had another breath of fresh air in the form of the newly acquired Rui Hachimura. He made his purple-and-gold debut after the Washington Wizards traded him to the team earlier in the week.
With Davis and Hachimura entering the rotation, head coach Darvin Ham received a massive boost in size. Before the game, this seemingly was going to help him play less-and-less guard-heavy lineups that did have not functioned well on either end this season.
Well, that was then. And this is now.
Even with the injection of size, Ham still played some three-guard rotations featuring Russell Westbrook, Dennis Schroder, and Patrick Beverley. I’ll allow the reader to decide who’s the small forward in that group because I’m having issues doing so.
That group was a -9 in 12 minutes on Wednesday vs. the Spurs in a game where the Lakers won by 9. On the season as a whole, that trio has played 120 minutes together resulting in a -3.7 net rating which is highlighted by a putrid 117.8 defensive rating.
Breaking news... it’s easier to score over smaller players.
Wenyen Gabriel was the biggest victim of Hachimura’s arrival and Ham’s continued love for heavy-guard lineups, as he only played a few seconds of garbage time at the end of the game.
To absolve Ham a bit, Davis was on a minutes restriction while Hachimura probably felt lost more often than not out there after only arriving with the team the day before. However, Hachimura will have a little bit more comfortability on Saturday while Davis seemingly looked good enough to maybe get rid of that minutes restriction entirely.
Again the long-and-lengthy Celtics, will Ham continue to rely on those three-guard lineups? If so, the Lakers’ ability to steal a win in Boston will be even harder than it should be.
The Lakers and Celtics will tip off at 5:30 p.m. PT. The game will be exclusively televised on ABC.
The Clippers' offense has been firing on all cylinders of late but a stingy Cavaliers defense at home in addition to some stars potentially sitting out makes the Under a play worth targeting. Read more in our NBA betting picks below.Sunday’s short NBA slate is headlined by a non-conference clash between the Los Angeles Clippers and Cleveland Cavaliers.Los Angeles plays the second stop of a six-game Eastern road trip and the second of a back-to-back test after edging Atlanta on Saturday night. That was the Clippers’ ...
The Clippers' offense has been firing on all cylinders of late but a stingy Cavaliers defense at home in addition to some stars potentially sitting out makes the Under a play worth targeting. Read more in our NBA betting picks below.
Sunday’s short NBA slate is headlined by a non-conference clash between the Los Angeles Clippers and Cleveland Cavaliers.
Los Angeles plays the second stop of a six-game Eastern road trip and the second of a back-to-back test after edging Atlanta on Saturday night. That was the Clippers’ fifth straight victory and fourth straight cover against the spread with a 4-1 ATS mark in that span.
A banged-up Cleveland squad is struggling with consistency heading into Sunday, boasting a 2-4 SU record and a 3-3 ATS count in its last six outings.
The Cavaliers are coming off a tough stretch of schedule in which they played three straight road games and Sunday’s contest is just their fourth home stand in the past 13 games, going back to January 6.
I run down the spread and total for this East-versus-West encounter and give my best NBA picks and predictions for Clippers at Cavaliers on January 29.
As it stands – and that means squat in NBA betting – the Los Angeles Clippers are expected to have their big guns on the floor in Cleveland tonight. The risk of L.A. sitting the likes of Paul George or Kawhi Leonard is very real, considering this is the second of back-to-back outings. But we’re working with what we’ve got.
That pair has very much been the beating heart of this recent hot streak from L.A., fueling an offense that has averaged close to 127 points per game during this five-game run. And while there’s no denying the star power of the pair, the Clippers have also benefited from some soft opponents in the past five games.
Los Angeles has scored two wins over San Antonio (30th in defensive rating), Atlanta (19th), Dallas (23rd), and the L.A. Lakers (20th), shooting a collective 56.2% from the floor, including a white-hot 48.5% clip from beyond the arc.
This matchup with Cleveland is an abrupt change of scenery in terms of defensive opposition. The Cavaliers are No. 2 in defensive rating on the year, giving up only 106.1 points per home game while limiting those foes to 46% shooting.
The Cavaliers also play a much slower tempo on offense compared to some of the Clippers’ recent foes, with the likes of the Lakers, Hawks, and Spurs all ranking out Top 10 in pace rating. Cleveland, on the other hand, is the slowest tempo in the Association (96.14) which does jibe with L.A.’s methodical pace with sits 25th in pace.
The last time the Clips took on a tempo similar to their own was the January 22 matchup with Dallas, which ranks 29th in pace rating. That 112-98 final score (210 points) finished well below the closing total of 222 points and the matchup owned an overall pace rating of 90.50. It was the lone Under in L.A.’s current five-game winning run.
Cleveland’s pick-and-roll heavy offense not only runs a slower tempo, but the Cavaliers are a far better defensive team than the Mavs, with one of the toughest interior defenses in the NBA. The Cavs give up the third-fewest points in the paint, clean the glass, and take care of the ball, limiting opponents to any second-chance buckets.
Cleveland has shown some weakness to perimeter shooting, allowing foes to fire at a 37.3% rate from beyond the arc. But while Los Angeles is shooting well from distance during this run, the back-to-back setup and road-heavy sked could have its legs feeling heavy as Sunday’s game plays out.
The Clippers were a strong outside shooting team before this streak, knocking down 37% of their looks from downtown, but regression is bound to rear its ugly head in Cleveland tonight.
While this total ticks down, the spread for the Cavs is climbing (from -4.5 to -6.5). Cleveland isn't looking to get into a shootout with L.A. anytime soon, meaning the market is calling for a classic Cavs grinder of a game.
We’re going to go Under the total in this non-conference clash, which should also give us a solid number if the Clips do sit some starters and the Cavs stars are out of action once again.
My best bet: Under 215.5 (-110 at 888sport)
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Tracking NBA spreads is a headache these days, with so many top talents opting to sit out games. This non-conference contest is no exception. Cleveland opened as a 4.5-point home favorite late Saturday night following L.A.’s win at Atlanta and that spread has jumped to as high as -6.5.
The line movement would indicate potential positive news around Cavs superstar Donovan Mitchell, who has missed the past two games with a groin injury and is tabbed as questionable for Sunday. Veteran forward Kevin Love is also questionable after sitting out two straight games with back pain.
The market move could also be attempting to get ahead of any injury news from the Clippers, who could possibly rest some key players on the second game of back-to-back outings. As of this writing, there are no injury designations for guys like Paul George or Kawhi Leonard, but if you’ve been betting on NBA for the past few years, you know that doesn’t mean squat.
It is a bit of a puzzling spread considering the real injuries for Cleveland and the recent form from Los Angeles, but the Cavaliers are a very sound team on their home court with an average margin of +7.8 as hosts – fourth highest in the league. That’s made for an NBA-best 16-8-1 ATS record inside Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
The Clippers’ recent winning streak has been a windfall for L.A. backers and has proven this team is a real contender with both Leonard and George in the lineup. Los Angeles, which is 4-6 ATS on zero rest this season, has been electric on offense over that five-game span, averaging 126.8 points on better than 56% shooting from the floor.
On the year, the Clippers own a 14-13 ATS mark on the road, but it’s tough to put much weight in season-long stats for this squad considering the talents coming in and out of the lineup since the start of the season. As it stands, L.A. is head and shoulders above the rest of the league in net rating during this winning streak.
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The Over/Under total for Clippers-Cavaliers hit the board at 215.5 points and hasn’t strayed too far from that mark, with some books dealing the total as low as 214.5.
With Leonard and George on the floor, Los Angeles is a tough team to stop offensively and is currently operating at a very efficient rate, boasting a skyrocketing advanced offensive rating. Los Angeles has gone Over the total in four of the past five games, including just topping the 231-point total with a 120-113 win over Atlanta last night.
Cleveland will put that scoring surge to the test. The Cavs are one of the best defensive teams in the land, sitting No. 2 in defensive rating and limiting foes to just 106.1 points per game at home. The Cavaliers are extremely long inside and even with Mitchell and Love potentially missing again, Cleveland can still lean into its defense to keep contests close.
Both of these offenses do play a slow tempo, with Cleveland ranked out dead last in pace rating and the Clippers sitting 25th in tempo. Los Angeles is 22-30 O/U on the season but 17-10 O/U away from home – thanks in part to this recent run. Cleveland boasts a 23-28 O/U record, including a 12-13 O/U count as a host.
Cleveland is 3-7 Over/Under in its 10 games hosting Western Conference competition this season. Find more NBA betting trends for Clippers vs. Cavaliers.
|Location:||Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, Cleveland, OH|
|Date:||Sunday, January 29, 2023|
|Tip-off:||7:00 p.m. ET|
|TV:||Bally Sports West, Bally Sports Ohio|