Competition at campus basketball courts draws local residents, students

first_imgWhile fans cheered on the USC basketball team Tuesday night at the Galen Center, across the street, players stole the spotlight on a different set of courts.The courts there are a little more dingy, with tattered nets and a thin layer of sand covering the cement. There is no scoreboard and no announcer, and players compete under the yellow wash of lights mounted on the adjoining parking garage.Hoops · Local residents frequently play basketball at the courts across from the Galen Center. The courts are used almost every night, but often remain vacant during the day. – Carlo Acenas | Daily TrojanBut even though these courts aren’t nearly as ornate or well-kept as the Galen Center — or even the courts in the Lyon Center, for that matter — the games they host might be more important for USC’s image than those in either of the other venues.The two basketball courts located on the edge of campus — nestled between Gate 3, Figueroa Street and Parking Structure X — have become a mecca of sorts for basketball enthusiasts over the years. Though the courts are close to the freshmen dorms and sometimes attract USC students, a different crowd comes out to play at night: people who live in the neighborhood.“You get a good workout up here,” said 19-year-old Wayne McIntyre, who lives near campus. “I come here because I [see] the homies and I like playing basketball.”McIntyre and his friends play basketball on the courts regularly — he said he comes to campus “every other day.” There’s always someone on the courts in the evenings, he said, especially on the weekends.“There’s always competition,” he said.But competition marks every basketball court. What sets these courts apart, players said, is that here — unlike elsewhere in South Los Angeles — the competition doesn’t get out of hand.“Elsewhere people are getting mad regularly,” said Clifford Warrn, a 20-year-old who plays on the USC courts daily. “Not so much here. There’s really no arguing — nobody’s causing trouble.”“You can’t say the same thing about other courts,” McIntyre said.There’s something else uncommon about the outdoor courts: Although they are on campus and near many freshmen dorms, they are usually vacant during the day. They don’t come alive until 6 or 7 p.m., when the lights on the parking garage flicker on and players trickle in from different directions — mostly from outside of USC’s gates. Many students say they go elsewhere on campus to play basketball and rarely think about these courts.Anand Abraham, a sophomore majoring in biological sciences, said he has never played basketball on the outdoor courts. He usually plays at Cardinal Gardens or at the Lyon Center, even though he said the latter is “always crowded.”“They’re just closer to me,” Abraham said.Though Daryl Trotter, a junior majoring in architecture, has played basketball on the courts with his friends from the surrounding neighborhood for the past three and a half years, he said he doesn’t see too many other students around. Still, Trotter said, it would not be a problem if students were to visit the courts more often.“People over here wouldn’t even care,” Trotter said. “I think it’d actually be cool.”Bruce Morrissette, a sophomore majoring in business administration, said he used the courts last year and most of the other players were not USC students. Although some students might have negative misconceptions about the neighborhood surrounding USC and the people who live near the university, Morrissette said he had no problems playing basketball with players who weren’t students.“I always thought it was fine,” he said. “I really didn’t see any problems. People got a little into it sometimes, but that’s just competition.”For Trotter, the courts are the place where his friends in the neighborhood can feel like they’re part of the USC community.“A lot of people also come here because it’s up at ’SC. People who are fans of ’SC sports like to come here and ball and play sports at the ’SC courts,” he said. “It makes them feel at home.”Still, some of the regulars said it’s not about the relationship between USC and the neighborhood, and it doesn’t matter who shows up to the courts.“If they can play, they can play,” Warrn said. “It doesn’t matter.”last_img

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