USC basketball: Kevin O’Neill revisits ‘Hoop Dreams’ documentary

With the NCAA basketball tournament about to turn up the madness for the second weekend, here’s a suggestion especially for USC fans:

Find and watch"Hoop Dreams.”


The outstanding 1994 documentary followed two inner-city Chicago kids, William Gates and Arthur Agee, from their recruitment to suburban St. Joseph High through their first year of college. The real-life twists and dramatic turns are as compelling today as they were 18 years ago.

And USC basketball CoachKevin O’Neillplays a prominent role.

O’Neill was coaching at Marquette at the time and recruited Gates. The viewer sees and hears O’Neill at an all-star camp in New Jersey, during Gates’ recruiting trip to campus and also when O’Neill makes his scholarship offer in the player’s home.

Today, filming the campus visit and home visit would be considered a violation of NCAA rules.

“All that stuff has changed,” O’Neill said.

Gates, who suffered a knee injury in high school, signed with Marquette

“He was a good player, a solid player,” O’Neill said. “He never became the star everyone thought he would be but he was a good kid.”

O’Neill is back on the recruiting trail after USC’s 6-26 season.


The Trojans’ roster has already been reduced by three players who requested releases from their scholarships.

O’Neill wrote a letter to fans about the 2012-13 season, which will include a trip to Hawaii for the Maui Classic and nonconference games against San Diego State, New Mexico, Long Beach State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Georgia, and Dayton.

“I can assure you,” O’Neill wrote, “that you won’t hear any of the pundits criticizing our strength of schedule on Selection Sunday!”


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USC basketball: Kevin O’Neill revisits ‘Hoop Dreams’ documentary