Ambles returns to practice

Markeith Ambles returned to the practice field Tuesday ­— sort of.

The wide receiver spent the morning practice running and doing disciplinary drills in what was just the latest in a string of punishments for the sophomore.

Ambles missed Saturday’s practice at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and offered no excuse at the time.

“He made a mistake,” USC coach Lane Kiffin said Tuesday. “We hope that he continues to learn and grow from his mistakes.”

Ambles confessed he was angry with his coaches last week, although he now defines this conflict as a misunderstanding.

“I felt like they didn’t understand, because on Wednesday night I had a wisdom tooth [removed], and they didn’t know about it and I didn’t tell them, so that was the whole problem,” Ambles said.

Last Wednesday, Ambles missed a weightlifting session. He was forced to run during Thursday’s practice and ended up leaving halfway through.

Ambles entered USC last year as one of the most highly regarded receivers in his class. But so far, it has been his off-the-field actions that have largely defined his college career. Last October, he was suspended from the team for two weeks. He left the team the following month, but returned in January after deciding not to transfer.

Ambles has been punished on numerous occasions for showing up late to team functions or skipping them entirely.

—Eleni Press

McDonald named candidate for Lott Impact trophy

Junior safety T.J. McDonald has been added to the 2011 Lott Trophy watch list. The Lott IMPACT Trophy honors the top collegiate defensive player in the nation.

McDonald led the Trojans defense in 2010 with 89 tackles and also reeled in three interceptions.

The list of 42, Lott’s number as a player, includes players from all positions on the defensive side of the ball. Eleven of the Lott nominees were awarded All-American honors last year and 10 received academic honors within their respective conferences.

Ronnie Lott announced the list at a Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation luncheon in Newport Beach, Calif.

—Josh Selbe

USC student-athletes honored

Senior Nia Ali of the women’s track team, junior pitcher Austin Wood of the baseball team and freshman Jeffrey Kang of the men’s golf team were all recognized for their athletic performances last week.

Ali performed exceptionally well at the Texas Relays last weekend. She had an official mark of 13.0 seconds in the 100-meter hurdles semi-finals, third fastest all-time at USC. After achieving this time — the best that USC has seen since 2007 — in the semis, Ali also placed second in the final with a time of 12.74 seconds.

Wood was honored for his contribution to the baseball team’s victory over No. 11 Stanford. The junior allowed one unearned run in eight innings Saturday and struck out a career-high eight batters. The Trojans defeated Stanford 3-1, and captured their first conference series win.

Kang was honored for leading the USC men’s golf team to its first tournament win since 2009. The Trojans won the 39th annual ASU Thunderbird Invitational by 14 strokes Saturday, but not without the help of Kang. The freshman ended the tourney with a 5-under 208 (71, 69, 68) — a season best. He has had five under-60 rounds so far this season.

—Maheen Sahoo

NCAA issues warning before NFL draft

The NCAA wrote a letter to collegiate underclassmen warning them of the consequences that could accompany attending draft parties on NFL draft day, according to

NCAA rules state players who are not eligible for this year’s draft are unable to receive free transportation, housing or food if they attend the draft parties of their former teammates.

Dena Garner, the director of Player Security Services for the NCAA, reiterated this point by instructing the athletes to “not jeopardize the NCAA eligibility of … friends or former teammates.”

The NFL draft is set to take place April 28-30 in New York City, with many draft day parties scheduled for the days leading up to the event.

—Ross Dautel