Without McCoy, who transferred to Texas after he was enrolled in classes for less than three weeks, USC does not have a five-star in the fold for its recruiting class for the first time since 2000, when recruiting services began ranking the top high school players.,Over more recent years, the Trojans have faced more difficulty reeling in five-star talent, largely the prospects from outside California, at times leaving them over-reliant on top players from their own backyard.,The Trojans finished 5-7 last year, their first losing season since 2000, prompting calls from fans for Helton to be fired following his third full season before the embattled coach was retained by Athletic Director Lynn Swann.,But even in the initial seasons under Helton, while the Trojans made consecutive New Year’s Six bowl games, they were unable to pluck five-star recruits from other regions of the country and poach prospects from other blue-blood schools that have had a better recent track record of producing NFL draft picks, especially among offensive linemen.,Gorney and other analysts reasoned that the Trojans have had enough talent in recent seasons to contend for Pac-12 championships, and they won the conference crown in their second season under Helton in 2017.

Firing Steve Alford was the easy part.Finding a marquee replacement for a once-proud program that has become ignored and irrelevant is going to be the hard part.UCLA axed its embattled basketball coach in a rare midseason change Monday, two days after a 15-point loss to Liberty in front of fans who filled Pauley Pavilion with boos.,While the move mercifully ended Alfords five-plus year tenure, one marked by consistent underachievement despite three Sweet 16 appearances, the Bruins real challenge lies ahead.They have to convince a worthy candidate they can provide an environment that will empower him to restore glory to a championship culture that has clearly lost its way.I never thought I would write this, but the stark reality is that coaching the UCLA mens basketball team is not a great job.Your bosses seem to care more about football.,The schools support of the program has lagged such that when the Bruins traveled to Dayton, Ohio, for an NCAA Tournament play-in game last March, the pep band didnt even make the trip.In ways that stretch far beyond the current 23-year national championship drought the longest since before Wooden stepped on campus the reality is as chilling as the malaise that often runs through Pauley when the team occupies the floor.UCLA basketball is no longer UCLA basketball.The most important, yet trickiest, task of Dan Guerreros tenure as UCLA athletic director will be to find somebody with the coaching chops and public charisma to change all that.They need a John Calipari type, but they dont operate in John Caliparis neighborhood.,Then you need to pay Chip Kelly prices, offer Chip Kelly-style control, and install Chip Kelly-style bells and whistles.In hiring Kelly, Guerrero took the kind of big swing he had never taken before, broadening his vision with the nudging of booster Casey Wasserman and former Bruins quarterback Troy Aikman.In this new hire, which UCLA says will be conducted with the help of another former Bruin, Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers, Guerrero needs to swing with the same launch angle.In other words, he cant hire a coach from New Mexico who, in 18 years of Division I coaching, had reached the Sweet 16 only once.That was Steve Alford, and, lets face it, his biggest problem was that he never should have been hired in the first place.From his messy opening news conference in 2013, during which he made comments about a rape charge against one of his former players at Iowa for which he later apologized, Alford never seemed comfortable here.It was like he took the job not because he wanted it, but because he felt he couldnt turn it down.,He never sold the program through either entertaining regular seasons or deep tournament runs.I supported him in this space because of his and his staffs great recruiting they had seven NBA first-round draft picks and because of those three Sweet 16 appearances in five years, an underrated and difficult task.But in each of those Sweet 16 games they were badly outclassed, losing by double digits.