USC Guard Has Bigger Impact, Smaller Waist

SPOKANE, Wash. -- USC guard Lodrick Stewart isn't the smallest guy, but he's small enough for coach Tim Floyd.

Stewart wasn't allowed to practice with his teammates for the first 10 days of the season because he had not yet met Floyd's demand to lose 12 pounds.

"He wanted me to lose 12 pounds in probably two weeks, and I did it," Stewart said Thursday. "If I didn't do it -- (didn't) matter if I lost 11 and a half (pounds) -- he wasn't going to let me practice."

Stewart dropped the weight, thanks in part to his occasional runs with Floyd during morning workouts. As a result, the 6-foot-4, 210-pound senior should be a big load for Arkansas to deal with in tonight's first-round game in the NCAA Tournament.

Stewart is USC's second-leading scorer at 14.0 points per game, and he's the school's all-time 3-point leader. He also ranks third in the Pac-10 this season in 3-point field-goal percentage (44.4), and his average of 2.09 3-pointers per game is eighth-best in the conference.

Stewart said he's noticed a difference in his game since losing the weight. He feels quicker on the floor, and it's allowed him to be a more dangerous offensive weapon.

"He lost the weight and came back, and I thought had his best start to a season since he's been at 'SC," Floyd said. "He was able to do things other than catch and shoot."

USC's 'Little Brother'

It's no secret that USC has been perceived as a "football school."

The Trojans have been one of college football's more dominant teams over the past decade, winning a share of the national championship in 2003 and taking the title outright the following season.

But USC's basketball players admit they wouldn't mind giving their fans something else to look forward to other than football season. A run in the NCAA Tournament could help.

"It's kind of frustrating when you have people say USC is a football school and us playing basketball," Pruitt said. "It really kind of hurts us."

Guard/forward Nick Young said USC's basketball team has felt like "the little brother" to the football program. But things could be changing.

"We still love the football team. Why wouldn't we?" Young said. "They've won so many championships. We're just trying to work on ours now."

Split Down the Middle

Floyd is no stranger to coaching in Spokane. Hopefully, he brought a change of pants this time.

Floyd laughed Thursday while recalling a trip to Spokane in his first year as the University of Idaho's coach in 1986-87.

During a 76-65 win over Eastern Washington in the old Spokane Coliseum, Floyd split his pants while standing on the sidelines.

"I didn't know how head coaches are supposed to act, so I went into the catcher's crouch and split my pants -- from the zipper to the belt line," Floyd said. "I coached the rest of the game with a coat wrapped around me."

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