DEGI forced to drop £249m portfolio sale

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

Klaipedos Nafta Bags USD 148 Mn Loan for Its LNG Terminal

first_imgLithuanian LNG and oil terminal operator AB Klaipedos Nafta (KN) has signed a EUR 134.1 million (USD 148 million) loan with the Nordic Investment Bank (NIB) to finance the rent payable for the Floating Storage and Regasification Unit (FSRU) Independence.The FSRU used for LNG import to Lithuania is chartered from Norwegian Höegh LNG on a ten-year arrangement that expires in 2024. The LNG terminal was inaugurated in 2014 with the aim of diversifying natural gas supply.KN Board has expressed interest to acquire LNG storage unit Independence or another floating liquefied natural gas storage unit by 2024 and optimize current costs of the LNG terminal infrastructure.“Through this loan agreement we are continuing to support Lithuania´s security of energy supply, a strategically important objective for our member country,” says Henrik Normann, NIB President & CEO.The Lithuanian energy company said that NIB’s funding will cover around EUR 26.8 million of the payments each year during the period 2020–2024, providing an opportunity to reduce the cost of LNG terminal infrastructure for consumers. As explained, the 25-year maturity loan would enable equalized tariff levels to be maintained throughout the full lifetime of the terminal, both before and after an FSRU is acquired.“International energy experts confirm that the use of natural gas and LNG as the cleanest fossil fuel for power generation and heavy-duty road transport will play an important role in the transition for the EU to become a climate-neutral economy by 2050. Therefore, it is important for us to find the most cost-effective and sustainable solutions to the reduction of the security supplement of gas supply to ensure the competitiveness of LNG over other forms of energy and fuels,” says Darius Šilenskis, KN CEO.This is NIB’s third loan agreement related to LNG infrastructure developments in Lithuania; the first two loans with Klaipedos Nafta AB were signed in 2014 and 2017, respectively.As of the beginning of 2019, the LNG terminal has carried out  57 LNG loading and reloading operations, and the regasification rate for January-November 2019 is more than double the amount for January-November of 2018, with a total of 17.4 TWh of gas re-gasified by the end of November, KN said.According to Arūnas Molis, the director of KN Klaipėda LNG office, the terminal has handled more loading operations than over the last four years combined and attracted two users of the terminal from Estonia- Eesti Energia and Elenger.last_img read more

Rivers Hoopers coach confident of advancing to knock out phase

first_imgRivers Hoopers’ head coach Ogoh Odaudu has expressed confidence in his team’s chances of making it to the single-elimination playoffs of the Basketball Africa League (BAL) in Kigali, Rwanda. Loading… “I feel very confident we can pick one or two games also coupled with the fact that we are going to be playing two of our home games in front of our fans so it gives us an added advantage. Hopefully, we can sneak our way into the knock out stages.” Rivers Hoopers have been training in Port Harcourt since February 1, 2020 which Odaudu believes will put his team in good stead. “So far we have been doing a lot of work practicing morning and evening getting fit, doing a lot of ball work and working on our plays. I think we are going to do well we are just going to fine-tune a lot of other stuff and we will be ready for the championship.” FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 Promoted Content5 Of The World’s Most Unique Theme Parks7 Worst Things To Do To Your PhoneWho Is The Most Powerful Woman On Earth?12 Marvel Superheroes When They Were Kids9 Facts You Should Know Before Getting A TattooIt Looks Like An Ordinary Doughnut, But It Glows In The Dark!2020 Tattoo Trends: Here’s What You’ll See This Year8 Things To Expect If An Asteroid Hits Our PlanetWhich Country Is The Most Romantic In The World?You’ve Only Seen Such Colorful Hairdos In A Handful Of AnimeBest & Worst Celebrity Endorsed Games Ever Made10 Phones That Can Work For Weeks Without Recharging Hoopers were drawn alongside Patriots, Ferroviario de Maputo, US Monastir, Forces Armees et Police Basketball (FAP) and Zamalek in the Nile Conference of the BAL. Reacting to the draw, Odaudu said: “It is a very difficult Conference, as a matter of fact, there is no Conference that is easy. Every game is going to be competitive. Everybody has to do their work extra there is no team you would say is a write-off.”Advertisementlast_img read more

Jamual John cops LonLam 3rd Cycling Classic in Linden

first_imgTEAM Coco’s wheelsman Jamual John rode away with the Seniors title at the 3rd edition of the LonLam Cycling Classic in Linden on Thursday.Starting in a field of over 30 cyclists, John got back to winning ways in the 25-lap feature event. However, he was robustly challenged by second-place finisher Michael Anthony and Briton John who grabbed the third podium spot.Meanwhile Christopher ‘Chicken Legs’ Griffith and Christopher Cornelius were fourth and fifth respectively. Of the five sprint prizes up for grabs, Jamual John and Anthony had two apiece while Marcus Keiler had one.Nigel London was the top Veterans cyclist while Andy Spencer and Desmond Patterson finished second and third respectively.Elisha Rutherford won the Juniors title ahead of Anphany Munroe and Julian Gordon who placed second and third respectively.The LonLam Classic is the brainchild of the London and Lambert family and was sponsored by GWI, Gideon Consulting and General Construction, TGI Cakes, Michael Williams Foundation, David McDougall Scholarship, Omadelli Catering, MNS Studios, Queen T Events, R&N Consultancy, COTS Foods and Bissoon & Son.last_img read more

Trojans survive rain to best Cal, Stanford

first_imgRevenge tasted sweet as the USC men’s tennis team was determined, rain or shine, to bounce back and show No. 8 Stanford that it would not keel under pressure in a dominant 5-1 win Saturday.Return to action · Freshman Ray Sarmiento came back from injury on to help overtake the same Cardinal team that beat USC last weekend. – Mannat Saini | Daily Trojan The second of a double-header match went smoothly for the No. 9 Trojans, who were looking to regain their footing after a less-than-perfect ITA Indoor National Championships performance.USC was slated to play California on Friday, but only made it through half of the singles matches before rain forced the teams to call it quits early.The Trojans, who started with singles play in anticipation of the rain, looked shaky against the Golden Bears, but their match against Stanford that would prove to be more meaningful.“From our entire team we were so prepared and confident, it was like we were a completely different team,” said junior Steve Johnson.During USC’s abbreviated match against the Cardinal on Saturday, freshman Michael Grant was the only Trojan to lose, taking it to three sets against Stanford’s Matt Kandath 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.Freshman Ray Sarmiento was back in the lineup, after missing the trip to Seattle and sitting out against Cal due with a wrist injury.Johnson, as Sarmiento’s doubles partner, was happy to see him back in action.“He’s a big part of our team,” Johnson said. “He’s a big talent and he gives a big lift to our team.”Captains Johnson and senior Jaak Poldma, both given Pac-10 Players of the Week honors this season, continued their dominant play, winning against Bradley Klahn and Alex Clayton 6-2, 6-3 and 6-4, 6-1, respectively.Johnson’s victory marks his second against Klahn this season.The pair’s overall season record is 2-1.Freshman Emilio Gomez came out strong against Stanford’s Greg Hirshman, winning 7-6 (7-5), 6-1.Junior Daniel Nguyen struggled to seal the deal in two sets, but beat his opponent Ryan Thacher in a tiebreak 6-3, 7-6, 10-7. Nguyen played Tacher in the ITA Indoors last weekend but fell, 6-4, 6-4, in the Trojans’ 4-3 loss to the Cardinal.“We got a big statement win,” Johnson said. “To come out and win 5-1, pretty handily? We bounced back.”USC will host crosstown rival UCLA on Wednesday.last_img read more

Trojans host three teams at ITA Kick-Off Weekend

first_imgAfter winning four consecutive national championships from 2009-2012, the USC men’s tennis team might consider their 2013 season a disappointment. The Trojans fell in the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament, unable to pull off an unprecedented five-peat.Back at it · Senior Ray Sarmiento recovered from a foot injury just in time for the Trojans’ 2014 home opener against unranked Santa Clara. – Ralf Cheung | Daily TrojanThis season, the No. 4 Trojans hope to return to national prominence and will begin this quest this weekend as they host the ITA Kick-Off Weekend at Marks Stadium.The men’s tennis team will host the No. 63 Wichita State Shockers, the No. 64 Georgia State Panthers and the unranked Santa Clara Broncos in the tournament, which begins on Saturday.Should the Trojans come out on top, they will earn a spot in the ITA National Team Indoor Championships next month in Houston, Tex.Sixty-four teams are competing in similar qualifiers to make it into the ITA Indoors. Last year, the Trojans came out on top of their Kick-Off Weekend tournament, and headed to Seattle for the Indoor Championships.  The Trojans advanced to the finals, falling in the title match to eventual national champion Virginia. This season, they hope to have similar, if not better, results to open up the season.“Whoever gets through this weekend qualifies for the top 16 teams,” head coach Peter Smith said. “They all meet in Houston in [three weeks]. That’s important for us, that we’re a part of that mix.”The Trojans are highly motivated to start the season off right with a win this weekend, but ultimately they hope to strengthen their players, new and old, and make each match a learning experience.“For me, I’m the type of coach that just wants good, hard, tough experiences to make my players better,” Smith said.The Trojans will aim to remain grounded to the court, and an all-too-familiar one at that. This will be the fifth consecutive ITA Kick-Off weekend held at USC’s Marks Stadium, which the Trojans will try not to take for granted.“You always want to play in your own living room,” Smith said. “You can get a lot more confidence because you’re used to the conditions here, the way the wind blows, where the sun is [and] the speed of the courts.”Junior Jonny Wang, ranked No. 67 in the country in singles, is looking to match his accomplishments from the fall season. In October, Wang flexed his muscle in an upset of the then-third-ranked player in the nation — Ohio State’s Peter Kobelt.Wang insists he and his teammates have maintained an intense workout since then.“[The] biggest goal is to always improve and get better,” Wang said. “I think we’ve just got to be grounded and focus on improvement.”Senior Ray Sarmiento and junior Yannick Hanfmann will see their first action of the spring season this weekend after being sidelined by lingering injuries.Sarmiento is ranked No. 10 in the nation in singles and will play in the top slot in singles throughout the tournament. Hanfmann is the next-highest ranked Trojan singles player at No. 32 in the nation and will play at the two-spot for USC. Sarmiento and Hanfmann will pair up for the top doubles slot as well.Junior Roberto Quiroz, ranked No. 113 in the nation in singles, will play at the third singles spot for the Trojans and freshman spring enrollee Connor Farren will play at No. 4. Rounding out the singles lineup will be No. 70 Michael Grant and sophomore Max de Vroome.Following their success early in the spring season, Quiroz and Farren will play at the No. 2 doubles spot. Junior Eric Johnson and sophomore Max de Vroome, who won the ITA Southwest Regional doubles championship last fall, will complete the doubles rotation.Georgia State and Wichita State will face off Saturday at 8 a.m. at Marks Stadium. Then, USC will battle Santa Clara at 11 a.m. The losers of each match will play at 10 a.m. on Sunday, while the championship match will be held afterward at 1 p.m.last_img read more

Poll: What do you think about Syracuse basketball attempting 32 3-pointers per game?

first_img Related Stories Syracuse hoists 32 3-pointers in 97-58 win over Le Moyne in exhibitionPoll: Grade Syracuse’s performance against Le Moyne and pick the player of the gameMalachi Richardson leads SU freshmen trio in exhibition win over Le Moyne Published on November 5, 2015 at 12:40 am In its first preseason exhibition against Le Moyne, Syracuse jacked 32 3-pointers, eight more than in any single game last season. It’s a part of the new offense that Jim Boeheim said will live more behind the arc.What do you think of Boeheim’s new scheme? Let us know below and leave a comment.What do you think about Syracuse attempting 32 3-pointers per game?Too many!Too few.Just right.VoteView ResultsCrowdsignal.comWhat do you think about Syracuse attempting 32 3-pointers per game? Commentscenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Jim Boeheim and Gonzaga head coach Mark Few have relationship far beyond basketball

first_imgCHICAGO – Jim Boeheim and Mark Few will be on opposite sidelines, each vying for a spot in the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight, but their relationship extends far beyond the face value of Friday night’s competition.Boeheim and Few, the Gonzaga (28-7, 15-3 West Coast) head coach, met almost 20 years ago on a Nike coaches’ retreat and have stayed close ever since. Through involvement with USA basketball, fishing trips and charity foundations, the two head coaches have been integral parts in each others’ lives both on and off the court.“He’s a really, really good friend, and he’s a mentor,” Few said. “He’s meant a lot to my career. If you think of all the icons and kind of the legends in our game currently, think about how Coach Boeheim has stayed at Syracuse the whole time.”The Syracuse (21-13, 9-9 Atlantic Coast) head coach began assisting Mike Krzyzewski on the U.S. National Team in 2006 and helped Few assimilate to his head coaching job with the U.S. Pan-American Men’s Basketball team that he took in 2015.“He’s helped me obviously so much with USA Basketball,” Few said. “… I definitely owe him for that.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textMORE COVERAGE:Gallery: Syracuse prepares to face Gonzaga in Sweet 16 of NCAA TournamentSyracuse’s walk-ons enjoy NCAA Tournament run from separated vantage pointGonzaga poses threat to Syracuse with versatile tandem of Kyle Wiltjer and Domantas SabonisNCAA Tournament: On the Beat previews Syracuse-Gonzaga basketball Sweet 16 game from the United CenterSyracuse’s practice time thrown out of whack by late game Few also said that the idea for his Coaches vs. Cancer foundation that he jumpstarted with his wife in Spokane, Washington was inspired by discussions with the Boeheims. This April, the Jim and Juli Boeheim Foundation will hold its 17th annual Basket Ball and Few’s wife, Marcy, and Juli Boeheim became close after Few and Boeheim met on one of the Nike coaches’ trips.On one of those trips, Few joined in on a card game a group of coaches were playing. It didn’t go so well for him.“He jumped into our card game and got his butt kicked, and he took it well,” Boeheim said. “He took his beating like a man.”Boeheim said the two have been friends ever since.They even share fishing trips and Boeheim called Few a world-class fisherman. Few classified Boeheim as average with the rod, but noted there’s room for improvement in Boeheim’s fishing game if he can be pried off the golf course.“I can’t hold a candle to him fishing-wise,” Boeheim said. “He’s really good.”Boeheim will call Few, who’s three hours behind on the West Coast most of the time, and simply share his thoughts about a particular game or basketball in general. It’s on those phone calls that Few said Boeheim is who others don’t see him as, especially the media that’s exposed to his demeanor in a basketball setting.But in the relationship the two have developed since meeting almost two decades ago, Few has grown to know Boeheim as far more than what will show on Friday night.“He’s not the surly curmudgeon you all think he is,” Few said. “He’s a really, really good guy.” Comments Published on March 24, 2016 at 7:21 pm Contact Matt: | @matt_schneidman Related Stories With tight rotations abound in NCAA Tournament, importance placed on deep bench minimizedGonzaga poses threat to Syracuse with versatile tandem of Kyle Wiltjer and Domantas SabonisSyracuse’s practice time thrown out of whack by late gameSyracuse basketball players vote for best and worst dancers on team before ‘Big Dance’ Sweet 16Syracuse basketball predictions for Sweet 16 matchup with Gonzaga Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Syracuse picks up crucial road win, downs Louisville, 78-73

first_img Published on February 5, 2018 at 9:25 pm Contact Sam: | @Sam4TR Facebook Twitter Google+ LOUISVILLE, Ky. — In the midst of all the chaos, Frank Howard glimpsed something out of the corner of his eyes.He was on the left wing, a step behind the arc, with Louisville’s Quentin Snider in his grill.Eleven minutes remained and Syracuse was doing what it hadn’t all season: Stiff-arm a hard-charging Atlantic Coast Conference opponent to maintain a lead on the road. But now, Louisville had cut the lead from 12 to five. The KFC Yum! Center crowd sensed the Orange about to collapse, and thundered the loudest it had all night over the speakers blasting Wolfmother’s “The Joker & The Thief” at full volume.Then, there, across the court and on the end of the bench, Howard spied a 5-foot-8, 150-pound walk-on stand up. Ray Featherston flashed his right hand in air, with his middle, ring and pinky fingers extended. Featherston wanted a 3.Howard didn’t hesitate. After the shot swished, a Louisville student, who had been jeering all night, ripped off his snapback hat in frustration and bellowed, “That man is pure ice!” Howard held up his own right hand, putting his index finger up to his lips as he stared into the crowd.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“I did the little shush,” Howard said. “When you on the road, you got to tell the crowd to calm down.”If anyone wanted a reason to believe in this Syracuse team, they got it on Monday night.Syracuse (16-8, 5-6 ACC) moved the ball on offense as well as it has in conference play and battled through foul trouble and a lack of depth to stave off Louisville (16-8, 6-5), 78-73, for its most important victory of the season. The first ACC road victory over a team not named Pittsburgh came on ESPN’s Big Monday, in front of a national TV audience the Orange has seldom played in front of this season. The Cardinals’ strength, and its strength at home, made this a win the Orange can star on its NCAA Tournament resume come March.“This is our best win in a long time,” Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said. “… It’s a lot easier to win a game when you score more than 50 points.”The difference in SU’s offense against Louisville compared to the Orange’s past four games was that the Orange hit shots Monday night. SU’s 47.2 percent shooting from the field (25-for-53) and 46.2 percent from the 3-point line (6-for-13) are its second-best marks of this calendar year. The team defied expectations just by being in the game and nearly entered halftime with as many points (39) as it finished with on Saturday against Virginia (44).Those makes worked in tandem with secondary drives to soften and stretch a defense that ranks 15th in the nation for defensive efficiency. Syracuse sinking outside shots forced defenders to respect the jumper, said guard Tyus Battle, and that created more spaces inside to drive, because they had to also worry about the kick-out. This eliminated the pack-the-paint scheme that drove Syracuse to its worst offensive performances of the season in the last three games.When asked if Syracuse had more room to operate in the paint than in its past few games, Howard almost laughed and said, “No question.”He added: “We go through stretches where we go through fatigue, take plays off. Tonight, we moved the ball very well, created a lot of space for one another. … When you’re predictable, teams can shorten the court on you and the last three or four games, that’s what happened. We forced tough jump shots and leave all five guys to hang in the paint. We spaced ’em out today.”The Orange also capitalized on a sloppy Louisville unit that turned the ball over nine times in the first half and 11 times overall. In total, SU scored 20 points off turnovers compared to UofL’s nine.One of the Orange’s biggest turnovers came just before halftime, partly the product of a short bench that forced players into situations they haven’t been in all season.About 10 minutes into the game, each of the three forwards and center Paschal Chukwu — Syracuse’s only available big man because freshman Bourama Sidibe again sat because of lingering left knee tendinitis — picked up two fouls. Then, with under a minute to go in the half, Marek Dolezaj was whistled for his third.Boeheim subbed in junior transfer guard Braedon Bayer, who started the season without a scholarship and has played three minutes this season after transferring from Division III Grinnell College. On his first offensive possession, Syracuse held for the final shot and, as it has all season, the Orange put the ball into Battle’s hands at the top of the key and cleared out.Battle drove, then in the middle of shooting a floater from the left of the free-throw line, flipped it out to Bayer, who tried to drive until a whistle stopped him. The referee called a travel.Seconds later, the Cardinals’ Darius Perry hit a buzzer-beating 3 just beyond the halfcourt line to knock the wind out of the Orange headed into the break. Bayer never re-entered.The dearth of depth strained Syracuse, which played the entire second half with six players available — half of whom picked up their fourth fouls with at least six minutes to go. Boeheim avoided forward Matt Moyer and rode with his five, even after they made costly turnovers or took shots that made him put his hands on his head. Louisville countered by attacking the interior because it knew Syracuse was in foul trouble.The Cardinals clawed, eating away at Syracuse’s lead. It was 10, then UofL cut it to eight with a tip-in. To six with a high-post jumper. To four with another. To two with a pair of free throws earned after forcing the ball inside.“Coach told us how important this game was,” forward Oshae Brissett said. “We knew it was going to be big and they were going to come at us.”On this night, at least, Syracuse was ready. The Cardinals never got closer.Inexplicably, UofL stopped going inside and settled for shots beyond the arc. None of Syracuse’s players knew why they stopped doing that, and each said the Orange did not change its defense late.Then, Battle did what he had done all game and hit a crucial jumper to give the Orange a six-point cushion with less than 90 seconds to play.“We were patient and it came down to Tyus making that jump shot in the lane to give us some space,” Boeheim said. “It was a great spot.“They got it inside, but we had just enough to hold on.” Commentslast_img read more

Against all odds

first_imgPhoto courtesy of Isaac Franco When he matriculated at USC and reconnected with high school friends Kellen Ware and David Benavides, the trio started working out together regularly. (Ware graduated from USC last fall and Benavides is a senior majoring in real estate development). But his journey there wasn’t so simple. Regardless, he was right. The next time USC played Texas in 2018, Franco was no longer in the stands — he was on the field as a walk-on player. But Helton’s response epitomizes the value of the journey for Franco. When another year of training came, Franco came down with bronchitis the day before tryouts. But true to form, he didn’t dwell on that. In fact, he was happy he had bronchitis. His journey to get this far had been so hard, the final test should be difficult, too. From dropping out of college to being cut from the team the first time he tried out, Franco’s journey to living out his dream was long and hard but he gave his all every single day. Two years into his career at Adams State, the Franco family fell on hard times and Isaac had to come home to Los Angeles and work to support his family. As broken as he was to be leaving college, Franco took initiative and was hired at LA Fitness. After just one year, he became the club manager, and his franchise rose to No. 1 in sales nationwide. Overall, Franco said all his sacrifices were worth it. He didn’t get too caught up in the pageantry of the sport — he just cared about football, but he cannot explain the feeling of running out the tunnel onto the Coliseum field. His lofty aspirations were no secret, either. He told people about it on purpose because he wanted them to hold him accountable. The fact that everyone who knew him also knew about this goal provided extra pressure that he thrived under. Franco started his college career playing lacrosse at Adams State University in Colorado. When he got there, he received a major wake-up call. Skill meant very little at the college level, and just being good at lacrosse wasn’t enough; he needed to be a well-rounded athlete. This is when Franco’s story really begins. Ware and Benavides joked that they should try to walk on to the football team, but the minute they said it aloud, it was no longer a joke in Franco’s mind. When the 2018 season ended that night with a loss to Notre Dame, Franco approached head coach Clay Helton to shake his hand and thank him for the opportunity to play in Cardinal and Gold. He also apologized for not being able to contribute more and help on the field because he felt he had let himself and his teammates down. But at the end of the day, Franco wasn’t pursuing football for anyone but himself. He told himself he was going to do it, so he had to go through with it. He had to be relentless, put in the hours and make the sacrifices. Franco said that a true athlete has to be built a certain way, that they have a quality of always giving their all and an inherent drive to be at the top. However, Franco left thinking not about what he did wrong, but what he could do better next time. He told himself that if he tried one more time, he would make it. “I don’t believe in embarrassing myself. What’s the worst that happens? I don’t make it. Nobody was going to put us on Sports Center and laugh at us,” he said. “I didn’t want to be here in 20 years and think, ‘I could’ve tried out for football but didn’t.’ I’d rather make the team and not play a single down than not try at all.” Ware, who is also Franco’s “big” in their fraternity, Pi Kappa Alpha, said he never saw Franco as a football player, but rather purely as a lacrosse guy. In high school, Franco was the punter and in one game even had negative punting yards, Ware said, laughing. Noone on their high school team would have thought that Franco would be a lineman at USC. But once Ware saw Franco was so dedicated to their dream, he and Benavides really started to buy in: Franco made them believe in themselves. When Franco was able to return to school, he had to be dragged away. He was making serious money at LA Fitness, and it was mentally difficult for him to transition back to school. But it was important to his mom that he finish his degree because she hadn’t been able to finish hers. So he applied to USC as a human biology major with an emphasis on human performance. For someone who has never met Franco, this comment may sound smug. But those around him knew that he was on a meaningful journey. He would never say that out of arrogance, but simply out of confidence, with a sense of believing in himself and his capabilities. For the next six months, Franco spent three hours a day in the weight room. He put on 35 pounds. He had played football in high school, but lacrosse had always been his focus, so he used his savings to hire a coach to help him with fieldwork. He would sneak into the McKay Center and find ways to “coincidentally” run into then-head strength and conditioning coach Ivan Lewis. Franco did all this while commuting to campus from home every day. After his time away from school, he needed something to keep him mentally grounded at USC, and this was it. Ware said the best part of his day was those three hours in the gym with Franco and Benavides. It was hard work, but the three shared a competitive spirit and were motivated by their friendship. On Senior Night at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum, Franco chose his parents, Ware and Benavides to appear on the field with him for the pre-game ceremony. He said he is forever indebted to his two friends because without their support, he never could have achieved his dream. Sometimes they didn’t want to work out and stick to the plan as much as Franco did, but they still showed up to the gym every day for their friend because they knew it was important to him. Two years ago, Isaac Franco was in the stands of the sold-out L.A. Memorial Coliseum watching USC face Texas. “Who knows, next year you could be cheering for me out there,” he said at one point during the game. That was when the real work started. He gave it his best every day, even approaching senior linebacker Porter Gustin and asking if he could join in on his famous midnight workouts with other starters. He learned as much as he could and tried to be a good teammate, making the people around him better. Franco said Helton probably doesn’t even remember the conversation, but that his words meant a lot. But then, he was cut in the final round of tryouts his junior year. “No,” the head coach said. “The stuff you did in practice, the stuff you brought every day … for that, you’ll always be a Trojan.” “I took a second to embrace it, but my intention was never to be able to say I played USC football,” he said. “That’s a cool perk, but I wanted to accomplish something.” When he made the team, that was only the beginning for Franco. It was the greatest year of his life, Franco said, even though playing for USC last season was difficult for him. He suffered a torn labrum and a broken toe, which hampered his ability to compete. In the end, he didn’t get the playing time he had wanted, which he says wasn’t unfair at all, that sometimes your best just isn’t good enough. “It’s funny going to a school with the motto ‘Fight On,’” Franco said. “Everything I’ve done was just another challenge, and that made me the person I am today.”last_img read more