A Post-Deadline Look at the Big East: South Florida Bulls

South Florida is an example of a school that can't seem to get over a tradition of losing despite the amount of talent on the team. Last year South Florida underachieved yet again. The Bulls had some solid talent on their team and they showed it when they took BYU to double overtime, defeated Villanova in the Big East Tournament and did what many could not and beat VCU. Despite having one of the better front courts in the Big East last year, South Florida remained mired in mediocrity. This is a team that had Dominque Jones returned to school would've fininshed in the top 8 of the Big East, but instead they returned to their normal losing ways finishing with a 4-16 record against BE teams (including the BET) and a 10-23 overall record.

Can the Bulls get it together long enough for sustained success?

Key Loses:

Graduating: Jarrid Famous(8.7pts, 5.4rbds)

Early Entry: None

Transferring: Shendrick Haynes(1.1pts, 0.7asts), Mike Burwell(1.7pts, 0.8rbds)

Dismissed from the Team: Anthony Crater(3.9pts, 4.6asts, 2.3rbds)

Key Returns:

Seniors: Ron Anderson Jr(7.0pts, 6.4rbds), Augustus Gilchrist(13.4pts, 6.0rbds), Hugh Robertson(8.3pts, 4.3rbds)

Juniors: Jawanza Poland(9.1pts, 2.6rbds, 1.9asts), Shaun Noriega(6.4pts, 0.9rbds), Toarlyn Fitzpatrick(4.3pts, 4.1rbds)

Sophomores: LaVonte Dority(0.7pts, 0.4asts), Victor Rudd(Transfer from Arizona State Sat out last year averaged 2.1pts, 1.1rbds as a sun devil)

Incoming Recruits:

Jordan Omogbehin 7'2" C NR

Anthony Collins 6'1" PG NR

Andre Jackson 6'10" C #34 Junior College Transfer according to Jucorecruiting.com

Blake Nash 6'0" PG #41 Junior College Transfer according to Jucorecruiting.com

 

South Florida returns the core of their team. Besides two inconsequential transfers, their only loss to graduation is senior center Jarrid Famous and starting point guard Anthony Crater, who was recently dismissed from the team for violations of team rules. Famous was a solid Big East big man, but luckily for the Bulls, this was their strength last year and they have a ready replacement in Fitzpatrick. Crater was the starting point guard but this was the biggest position of weakness on the team last year so this very well could be a case of addition by subtraction.

The Bulls return everyone else from last years team including leading scorer Augustus Gilchrist and second leading scorer Jawanza Poland, leading rebounder Ron Anderson Jr, and their best three point shooter in Noriega. Coach Heath has a strong core of players returning. USF has a lot of experience and senior leadership. This team will again be strong in the front court and on the wings. The main question for them again will be point guard play.

The Bulls bring in a four man recruiting class composed of two true freshman and two junior college transfers. It's also composed of two point guards and two centers.  This class both addresses the large whole in this line up at point guard but strengthens their biggest asset in the post.

  • Jordan Omogbehin is a huge man standing at 7'2" and weighing around 285lbs. However he is also a huge project. He's a local kid and many Hoya fans wanted us to take a flyer on him with dreams of a another Roy Hibbert dancing in their heads. He's behind where Roy was at the same stage and it's doubtful that he'll be able to come anywhere close to Roy, who was a once in a lifetime player.
  • Anthony Collins is a quick pass first point guard. He's great at getting into the lane and creating for others. He's a gifted passer. He needs to work on his shot, but he's exactly what the bulls were lacking last year a dynamic point guard who can get others involved.
  • Andre Jackson is a junior college transfer. He'll have three years of eligibility left. He has great height and size. He has soft hands and good footwork. His main issue is conditioning and staying in game shape. He lost 40lbs last year to get down to 285lbs. He needs to stay at the weight in order to remain effective. 
  • Blake Nash is a juco point guard. He will also have three years of eligibility. He'll compete with Collins for the starting spot. Nash is a much better scorer than Collins. He has a well rounded game being able to shoot from deep, slash to the basket, and distribute the ball. Most likely he gets the nod.

South Florida looks like a very solid team on paper. However, it's yet to be seen if this will convert to wins on the court. Besides 2010, South Florida has finished int he bottom three of the conference  every year. In the same way that teams like Pittsburgh never seem to fall too far despite who they lose, teams like South Florida never seem to move up despite who they bring in. If the Bulls are going to make another splash it seems like this is the year. If the two incoming point guards can play at Big East level then the Bulls on paper have enough fire power to make a run for the top half of the Big East like in 2010. However, the games are not player on paper, so 11-13 is probably realistic for them until they prove otherwise.

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