Larry Friend, a three-year starting point guard at USC in the mid-1980s who set school records for assists in a game, season and career, died of cancer Tuesday in Anaheim. He was 54.
Friend, a 5-11, 155-pounder who came to USC as an All-L.A. City guard from Jordan High School, lettered for three seasons at USC, in 1984, 1985 and 1986. Known for his quickness, passing ability and defensive prowess, he set since-broken USC assist records for a game with 14 versus Texas in 1985, season (176 in 1985) and career (409). In his career, he averaged 4.2 assists along with 3.7 points.
A three-time winner of USC’s Best Defensive Player award, he was the team’s MVP and Most Inspirational Player as a 1986 senior captain. As a 1985 junior while leading the Pac-10 in assists with 6.1, he helped USC earn a berth in the NCAA tourney after the Trojans captured a share of the Pac-10 title, the program’s last league title. He hit game-winning shots against both Stanford in 1984 and Oregon State in 1985 and free throws versus UCLA in 1986.
After USC, Friend worked for the Los Angeles Unified School District and also was an assistant basketball coach at Jordan High.
He is survived by his wife, Loiscea; daughter, Lakeisha; granddaughter, Amari Hudson; mother, Dorothy Friend; sisters Rebecca Williams, Rosie Friend, Irma Friend, Jacqueline Friend and Senolia Willingham; and brothers Winston Friend II, Jeffrey Friend Sr., Mitchell Friend Sr. and Sylvester Willingham).
Services will be held at 11 a.m. May 25 at Breath of Life Seventh-day Adventist Church, 425 S. La Brea Ave., Inglewood.