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USF men’s basketball signs 3 players

By Joey Knight
USF men's basketball coach Brian Gregory has signed a trio of three-star recruits from the Class of 2018. (OCTAVIO JONES | Times)

The Bulls men's basketball team formally announced the signing of three Class of 2018 recruits Thursday, one day after the commencement of the NCAA's early signing period.

PG Xavier Castaneda (Chicago), C Michael Durr (Atlanta) and G Rashun Williams (Edison, Ga.) all are deemed three-star recruits by Rivals.com, which ranks USF's class third in the American Athletic Conference behind Wichita State and Connecticut.

"One of the things that is so important to us is bringing in players who understand what it takes to win championships, a unique characteristic of all three of these players," Bulls first-year coach Brian Gregory said in a school news release.

"They have all won state championships at the high school level, have all played at the highest level on the AAU circuit and had great success, and are really driven to become better as players and as students as well. They will all fit into our system and what we are trying to build at (USF)."

Castaneda (6-foot, 180 pounds), ranked as Illinois' sixth-best prospect by 247Sports, led Chicago's Whitney Young High to the Class 4A state title as a junior. He averaged 8.5 points and 4.9 assists for the Mean Streets AAU team of the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL).

Durr (6-11, 230) currently attends Bradenton's Victory Rock Prep, but averaged 12.4 points and 9.6 rebounds last season at Oldsmar Christian, helping produce a Sunshine Independent Athletic Association title. This past summer, he averaged 5.1 points and 4.2 boards for the Atlanta Xpress on the Under Armour circuit.

Williams (6-6, 180), the first of the trio to verbally commit, helped Calhoun County (Ga.) to a Class 1-A state title as a freshmen, and led it to the state title game again as a junior. He's rated the No. 8 prospect in Georgia by Hoopseen, one spot ahead of Durr.