Not Too Early To Worry About SC

Kila Kaaihue

Kila Kaaihue. AP photo

It’s now fewer than 100 days until kickoff for UH and USC at the Los Angeles Coliseum, and already any number of bloggers are pointing to the game as one to watch, largely because USC is rated a top three team with a real chance at the national title.

Most experts think it will be the Trojans’ last chance for a while, as sanctions will begin to hurt the depth, and the margin for error in security will evaporate.

Add to that the graduation of QB Matt Berkley and the near certain departure of wide receiver Robert Woods, and SC will have its work cut out in the future.

But not all that glitters is garnet and gold, and Norm Chow’s return to the Coliseum makes for a nice sidebar. Think Trojan head coach Lane Kiffen will lighten up if the score tilts heavily in USC’s favor? Most observers believe he’d score 100 if he could.

So the Warriors will have to show up with passion and intensity. The good news for Hawaii might be that with significant losses on both sides of the ball and brand new systems, opponent expectations may allow the Warriors to sneak up on some folks.

* Time for Lakers fans to brace for significant changes. After being bounced in five games by the Thunder, many expect one of the marquee players to be moved, most settling on Pau Gasol as likely trade bait.

I might choose to deal Andrew Bynum instead. He has far more market value, and a hulking post presence is not needed to win an NBA title.

Throw in Bynum’s maddening inconsistency and career-long maturity issues as well as a reluctance or inability to step up in critical situations, and I’d be inclined to see what I could get for him. And while some keep repeating “he’s only 24 and had a 30-point/rebound game,” I’d remind them about the 10-point, four-rebound performance in an elimination game with OKC.

Four boards from a 7-foot, 270-pound man who is the biggest, strongest player on the court? Sorry, L.A., that’s not gonna cut it.

* It’s particularly fun to follow the performances of former Hawaii athletes like the Angels’ Jerome Williams and Kila Kaaihue of the A’s. Williams resurrected a career by playing in Taiwan and redis-covering his work ethic. He’s been fabulous as the Angels’ fifth starter.

And Kaaihue could have been down and out after being demoted by the Royals in favor of its top prospect Eric Hosmer, but he hung in and is now getting a lot of work at both first base and designated hitter with Oakland. Both players are a great testimony to perseverance in the face of adversity.

* Notre Dame All-America linebacker Manti Te’o will be the featured speaker May 29 at the Downtown Athletic Club meeting. It begins at 5.30 p.m. at The Hukilau on Bishop Street. Call 523-3460.