A number of Trojans spoke out following Friday's 67-62 loss to Arizona in the semifinals of the Pac-10 tournament about the suspension of their coach, Kevin O'Neill. Here are some snippets of what the players had to say:
USC point guard Jio Fontan: “It’s not frustrating. KO is a grown man. I’m pretty sure he regrets the decisions he made, and I’m not let down at all. I’ll still ride with KO, regardless of what the situation was, whether he did good or bad.
“It was unfortunate, obviously. We wanted our coach to be there. We wanted our coach to enjoy this experience with us and be there and help lead us to victory, but we understand that things happen. At the end of the day, he’s our coach but he’s a human. He’s a man, and he made a mistake. Whatever the case is – I don’t know too much about it -- we all support him.
“Whether he was right or wrong, I am behind him.”
USC senior guard Marcus Simmons: "There was no anger. We have a great coaching staff behind Kevin O'Neill. So I knew moving forward our coaches would help us out a lot. Coach Cantu did a great job tonight helping us out. So I just wanted to come out there and play. I hope it's not my last game. NIT, NCAA, either or, I mean we'll do great in either tournament."
USC junior forward Nikola Vucevic: "I was disappointed he wasn’t gonna be able to coach us. I was shocked. I didn’t expect that to happen. He’s our head coach, we all love him. It’s disappointing that he wasn’t able to coach us."
"It was different. When KO's there, he yells a lot, and we didn't hear a lot of yelling today. I have to say that our coaching staff did a great job of preparing us. They didn't have a lot of time to get together and do it, but they did a great job. And Coach Cantu did a great job of controlling the game. It was his first time, I think was it it was his first time, and the rest of the guys, the coaches were great. It was tough for them, probably, to do it because they're not used to it. They did a great job preparing us. So it was different, but I think with them we still did a good job."