The opinions that didn’t make it, part three

Not every opinion I had made it into its own column.

USC baseball holds a 17-18 overall record following five consecutive losses to begin the season. With the Pac-12 Tournament less than a month away, the Trojans will need to find a spark to make a competitive push. (Bryce Dechert / Daily Trojan)

I’m sad to say it, but it seems the end of the semester is practically here. No more scorching hot takes or poorly thought-out opinions — at least for a few more months. It always creeps up, and I swear this one went by in the blink of an eye. 

As per tradition with “The Great Debate,” it’s time for a little bit of reminiscing about all those opinions that just barely missed the cut for their own edition. Whether I ran out of time, the idea wasn’t timely enough or I just forgot about them, these are a few of the ones that got away. 

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USC baseball will have a down year

The Trojans were coming off their best season in nearly a decade after finishing 34-23-1 and seemed poised to duplicate that success this season. In all honesty, it wasn’t well thought- out on my end as to why I felt this way; sometimes, you just have a gut feeling. However, it did have some part to do with the fact that the team didn’t have a true home field for the season.

With Dedeaux Field getting upgraded, USC is being forced to split time between stadiums in Irvine and Westchester. Twenty- six of the Trojans’ 34 wins last season were at Dedeaux; it seemed like a recipe for disaster. At the beginning of the season, my gut feeling looked pretty good, with USC putting up a measly 5-13 record in the first month of the season. But it seems Head Coach Andy Stankiewicz’s club has started to find its groove, going 11-5 since then. With plenty of season left, the Trojans still have time to prove me wrong.

It’s time for Andy Enfield to part ways with USC

Assistant sports editor Thomas Johnson and USC Athletics beat me to it.

Court storming needs to stay in college basketball

This was a big debate in the sports world at the beginning of the year. The discourse began when Duke sophomore center Kyle Filipowski was injured by a Wake Forest fan storming the court after the Demon Deacons upset the Blue Devils. This had been brewing for a while and was just the most recent incident over the age-old fan practice. Some pundits and former players, mainly Jay Bilas, wanted to eliminate the practice altogether and even cite or arrest students for going on the court.

I think my position on this issue changed a few times, and I see many good points on both sides. At the end of the day, the court is nowhere for a fan to be. But part of what makes sports so great is the fans. Countless iconic moments in college sports happened because of court storming. Let’s not arrest college kids for enjoying their college experience. But there’s also no need for fans to court storms every time their team gets a home win against a big rival. Court storming should only happen when it’s almost a one-in-a-million upset, but let’s not get rid of it completely.  

Jalen Brunson deserves to make First Team All-NBA

I can’t think of just one adjective to describe New York Knicks point guard Jalen Brunson. He’s everything you could want in a basketball player. Even my girlfriend is enamored with him and will watch Knicks games with me because of him. 

He’s led the Knicks to heights I haven’t seen in my lifetime. The Knicks are the sole arbiter of my happiness, and with Brunson on the team, I’ve been very exuberant these past two seasons. While I usually limit myself to discussing only USC, Los Angeles or big sports events in this column, I typically like to save some exceptions for this special edition. 

Brunson has led the Knicks team to 50 wins and the second seed in the Eastern Conference, despite starters Julius Randle, OG Anunoby and Mitchell Robinson all missing 25 games or more. He averaged the fourth-most points in the entire league with 28.7, dished out the 13th most assists per game with 6.7, shot just under 48% from the field and shot 40% from beyond the arc on almost seven attempts per game. Only three players in NBA history have averaged more than 28 points per game, more than 6 assists per game, shot better than 40% from three and played more than 77 games: Larry Bird in 1985 when he won MVP, Stephen Curry in 2016 when he was a unanimous MVP and Jalen Brunson this season.

This season’s talent has been off the charts, so Brunson won’t win MVP. He probably won’t even finish within the top four of MVP voting, but it would truly be a travesty to leave him off of First Team All-NBA. Give the man his flowers.

And just like that, my column is again put to rest until the next semester begins. Hopefully, my USCard will still work at the Daily Trojan newsroom, and they will let me back in to continue this column. So, until I sit down to write another edition, we’ll just have to see if my bold claims will stand the test of time — or something along those lines.

Stefano Fendrich is a junior writing about his opinions on some of sport’s biggest debates in his column, “The Great Debate,” which runs every other Wednesday.

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