Bibby Calls Recruit ‘Program-Changer’

Times Staff Writer

USC announced its three-man recruiting class -- 7-foot, 230-pound center Robert Swift from Bakersfield; 6-3, 160-pound guard Gabriel Pruitt of Westchester High, and 6-8, 220-pound forward Emanuel Willis from Mendenhall, Miss. -- for the fall signing period on Tuesday, and if they all get into school, the Trojans have the makings of a national top-10 class.

Especially intriguing is Swift, who has been ruled ineligible to play this season by the CIF after transferring high schools but is seen as a potential NBA draft pick.

“If you can get Robert Swift, you’re talking about an impact player, a program-changer,” Coach Henry Bibby said. “I’ve said he was the next Bill Walton.”

And as such, Bibby is willing to gamble on offering Swift a scholarship, even if he stays at USC for only a year. Bibby can point to another one-and-done college player in Syracuse’s Carmelo Anthony, who led the Orangemen to the national title last season.



Having a shaved head is nothing new to senior guard Desmon Farmer, junior forward Nick Curtis or even Bibby.

But to junior guard Errick Craven, the team-wide decision, which included coaches and staff, to go clean up top, was an unnerving one. So much so that Craven vowed to keep his hair.

“When I was a freshman, Sam [Clancy] and Dave [Bluthenthal] told me to shave my head and if I didn’t do it then, why would I do it now?” Craven said with a laugh.


“I’m like Samson,” he said, “my hair is my strength.”

Apparently, it did not keep him strong enough. Craven was sheared by assistant Marvin Menzies.