Tom Grimm plays integral role as short-stick defensive midfielder after being recruited as offensive weapon

first_img Published on March 31, 2015 at 11:29 pm Contact Matt: | @matt_schneidman Facebook Twitter Google+ Tom Grimm wanted to be next.He grew up idolizing Mike Powell, a fellow product of Carthage (New York) High School and a four-time first-team All-American and NCAA attack of the year at Syracuse.“I think it was every little kid’s dream from Carthage, growing up in that program,” Grimm said. “They want to be the next Mikey Powell.”Grimm was rated the No. 7 attack and No. 15 overall player in the high school Class of 2011 by Inside Lacrosse. He was recruited by SU to be an offensive weapon, but that never materialized since the Orange’s offense was crowded and Grimm just wanted to get on the field.Now, the junior short-stick defensive midfielder has embraced his less glamorous role. Grimm is given more freedom as a defensive midfielder since he comes from a primarily offensive background, and takes significant stock in the piece he fits to the puzzle for No. 2 Syracuse (7-1, 2-1 Atlantic Coast).AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“He’s definitely accepted it,” assistant coach Lelan Rogers said. “Once they buy into that role and they understand it, their opportunity to get some goals here and there and just play more comes maybe through the defensive side of the field.”When Grimm first came to Syracuse, he wasn’t physically ready. He arrived weighing only 155 pounds and redshirted his first year.He put on 20 pounds that year, crediting his dining hall meal swipes and open buffet 2–3 times each day to his weight gain. In high school Grimm didn’t lift weights at all, he said, so having a structured program at Syracuse helped as well.But a year passed, the Orange’s midfield and attack were still crowded and Grimm just wanted to step on the field.“So they said my best bet would probably be to switch to defensive middie,” Grimm said.At Carthage, Grimm played some long-pole midfield in addition to attack, Rogers said. That eased the transition to more of a defensive-minded player since he already had some of those philosophies ingrained.Grimm’s older brother, Jamie, played defense and his oldest brother, Rob, was on offense. The youngest of the three said he got the best of both worlds, which basically defines the role he has now.“What everyone wants is a two-way middie,” Rogers said. “And Tom can do both. We could leave him out there offensively if we wanted to.”Rogers added that the secret to finding the best defensive midfielders is finding ones who take it to heart when they get beat one-on-one. From years of being beat in basketball, football and video games by his older brothers, and even seeing video game controllers break in competition, Grimm has molded himself into exactly what Syracuse is looking for at the position. “I’m very competitive; if they beat me, you get upset, you get mad about it,” Grimm said of his brothers. “That’s the same thing with defense, if a guy beats you, you take it personally, it’s a one-on-one battle.”And now that Grimm has embraced the nitty-gritty position he’s found himself at, he’s no longer the offensive machine that had 245 goals and 245 assists in high school. His first goal just came a month ago against Virginia, and that was almost 32 games into his career.“It felt like high school all over again,” Grimm joked.He knows it’s not a position that produces goals and assists. He knows that his job is to sprint the length of the field. And he knows not much about his role is flashy.Grimm even smiled and said he trusts his attacks way more than himself to shoot the ball, so he doesn’t even tend to revert to a part of his game that once defined him.But for him, that’s all right.“If anything, I think he’s embraced the role,” head coach John Desko said. “I just think he’s playing his best lacrosse of his career right now.” Commentslast_img read more

Men’s basketball recruit de-commits after scandal

first_imgAndy Enfield photographed by Brian Chin | Daily TrojanMen’s basketball recruit J’Raan Brooks announced his decision to decommit from USC and reopen his commitment on Twitter last Friday afternoon. “Due to unforeseen circumstances stemming from the recent news that has come to light in regards to the Trojan basketball program — I have decided to reopen my commitment to examine other available options,” Brooks said in his tweet. “While USC is still very much a possibility, the uncertainty of their situation has led me to believe I should reassess my own.” Brooks, a 6-foot-8 forward from Seattle, becomes the first of head coach Andy Enfield’s three 2018 recruits to decommit from the program just three weeks after news broke of an FBI investigation of assistant coach Tony Bland and multiple other Power Five basketball schools.While Brooks is staying away from USC for the time being, the Trojans are still an option for the four-star recruit in the future — if Enfield and the rest of his staff escape NCAA sanctions.“I have nothing but the utmost respect for Coach Enfield, the rest of the staff, the school and fans of the program,” Brooks said. “However, I need to make sure what I do is best for my future, and ensure I am making an informed decision, while seeing how this process transpires.”Brooks has been quiet regarding potential schools of interest since his announcement last weekend. Washington, a school just three miles north of where Brooks played high school ball at Garfield High, is in the hunt for Brooks, along with Pac-12 rivals Cal, Stanford and Washington State.The rest of the 2018 class, four-star recruits Taeshon Cherry and Kevin Porter, remain committed to USC for the time being despite the allegations surrounding Bland, the Trojans’ head basketball recruiter.Cherry, a 6-foot-8 forward from San Diego’s Saint Augustine High, decided to come to USC due to his close relationship with Bland.“I have a good relationship with Tony and Enfield,” Cherry said in an interview “Their style of play really fits my style of play, and it’s a perfect fit for me.” Cherry is listed as ESPN’s 22nd-best player in the 2018 class and announced his commitment just days after Brooks.Fellow Seattle resident Porter, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard from local Rainier Beach, remains committed to USC despite offers from UCLA, Memphis and Washington, among others.For now, Enfield brings back most of his 2016-17 roster, along with three top 2017 recruits in Charles O’Bannon, Jr., Victor Uyaelunmo and Jordan Usher. But questions still remain for the Trojans come 2018 and beyond. Along with senior guards Jordan McLaughlin, Kurt Karis and Elijah Stewart, starting junior forwards Bennie Boatwright and Chimezie Metu are expected to leave school early to try their luck in next year’s NBA Draft.With starting jobs up for grabs in 2018, USC could potentially land another recruit in Brooks’ place if he decides to forgo Enfield’s offer. Of ESPN’s top 100 recruits for 2018, just three have signed letters of intent. Along with local five-star center Bol Bol, USC is still in the hunt for No. 1 overall prospect R.J. Barrett and four-star prospects Elijah Weaver, Khavon Moore and Kamaka Hepa. Considering both Bol and Barrett have fielded offers from top-flight programs like Kentucky and Arizona, USC would be more likely to land Weaver, Moore and Hepa if Brooks elects to sign with another team.If those targets aren’t interested, Enfield and company could potentially save that scholarship for a top player in the loaded 2019 class. While top overall recruit James Wiseman is likely to stay put in the southeast,11th-ranked shooting guard Cassius Stanley from Sierra Canyon or 16th-ranked forward Onyeka Okongwu from Chino Hills could be drifting toward USC. Regardless of undecided recruits in 2018 and 2019, USC awaits the verdicts in the FBI investigations with fingers crossed. The Trojans open their season at home against Cal State Fullerton on Nov. 10.last_img read more

Kliff Kingsbury leaves USC for NFL job

first_imgGoing pro· Former Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury was briefly hired as a USC offensive coordinator. (Photo from Bleacher Report/Twitter)USC offensive coordinator  and quarterbacks coach Kliff Kingsbury is leaving the team to take the head coach position with the Arizona Cardinals, according to Fox Sports. Kingsbury, who was hired on Dec. 5, will depart without coaching a single game for the Trojans.Kingsbury replaced Tee Martin as offensive coordinator 10 days after being fired from his position as head coach at Texas Tech, Kingsbury’s alma mater. The 39-year-old coach accepted the position at USC despite reports of significant interest from NFL teams.However, in the last week, Kingsbury’s future with the program was subjected to serious doubt. Reports that NFL teams wanted to interview Kingsbury for their head coaching positions resurfaced, but Athletic Director Lynn Swann blocked the Cardinals and New York Jets from interviewing Kingsbury, ESPN reported. NBC’s Pro Football Talk reported Saturday that Kingsbury could use the small buyout in his contract to leave the program and be free to interview with NFL teams. However, Swann then modified his stance and allowed NFL teams to talk to Kingsbury.Kingsbury interviewed with the Jets on Monday, according to The Athletic. NFL Network subsequently reported that Kingsbury was being interviewed by the Cardinals Tuesday morning — hours later, Kingsbury made the jump to the NFL, leaving USC’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach positions vacant once more.Although Kingsbury’s Red Raider teams struggled on the defensive end, he was widely pegged as the perfect candidate to improve a Trojan offense that underachieved in 2018. His sudden departure might be hard to fathom in the moment, but Swann and Helton will need to resume their search for a new talented offensive mind.Utah State offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach David Yost is a potential candidate. The Aggies rode a prolific offense to a 10-2 record in 2018, as their 47.5 points per game ranked second in the nation. At USC, Yost would fill the same role as at Utah State while making an upward move to one of the blue-blood football programs in the country. Fans may question Yost’s accomplishments because they came at the expense of non-Power 5 opponents, but Utah State was competitive in matchups with ranked teams Michigan State and Boise State. In addition, the performance of Aggies sophomore quarterback Jordan Love would be encouraging for USC fans looking for growth from freshman signal-caller JT Daniels.Fresno State offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Kalen DeBoer is another possible solution because of his ability to improve struggling offenses. When DeBoer took over at Eastern Michigan in 2014, the Eagles ranked No. 124 in total offense. By DeBoer’s final season in 2016, the Eagles ranked No. 35. Similarly, Fresno State ranked No. 127 in offensive efficiency in 2016, the year before DeBoer arrived, but it finished last season at No. 35.last_img read more