Bulls add Mercurius as 2 more depart
The roster overhaul at USF continued Saturday with the Bulls' new coaching staff adding a signee as two more letter winners departed.
Veteran guards Javontae Hawkins and Musa Abdul-Aleem have left the program, becoming the third and fourth players to depart since the dismissal of Coach Stan Heath in mid-March. Meantime, the school confirmed the signing of Faith Baptist guard Dinero Mercurius.
Hawkins, a rising junior from Flint, Mich., essentially confirmed his exit via Twitter on Saturday: Ppl try to keep you around, but they don't understand enough is enough. It's time for a new start
He appeared in 29 games last season, averaging 3.7 points with a career-high 15 in a home loss to Cincinnati. It was his only double-figure scoring effort of the year.
Abdul-Aleem, a rising senior from Atlanta, graduated in December with a degree in leadership studies. Counted on to provide a long-range threat last season, he missed 14 games for various reasons and struggled mightily from 3-point range (16-for-67).
When asked about Abdul-Aleem's struggles in early February, Heath said: "All mental, just all mental."
Hawkins and Abdul-Aleem join point guard Josh Heath -- Stan's son -- and power forward Zach LeDay on USF's departure list. With Mercurius and fall signee Troy Holston -- another shooting guard -- both on board, the Bulls' current roster now features nine scholarship players.
Mercurius, who signed at his Orlando home Thursday, joins Holston as incoming rookies projected to help the Bulls' 3-point shooting, which ranked last in Division I (25.8 percent) last season.
A native of The Bronx, he averaged 17 points -- including three games of 30 or more -- last season for Faith Baptist, a non-FHSAA program that plays a national independent schedule. From 2009-13, he played for Orlando University.
"I'm excited about both Troy and Dinero coming to USF," new Bulls coach Orlando Antigua said in a statement. "They are two great young men who are really long, active wings and can really shoot the ball and work extremely hard."