Bulls basketball: Media day notebook
Three days before their formal unveiling at Hoops Fest, USF's men's and women's basketball teams staged a mini media day Tuesday. After brief interview sessions with coaches and select players, reporters were allowed to catch a little of each team's practice.
Here are some sound bites and observations:
* Women's coach Jose Fernandez reaffirmed the prevailing belief about his team: It shapes up as the deepest in program history. Thanks primarily to his eight-player signing class, Fernandez finds himself two-deep -- or deeper -- at every spot.
"Sometimes I feel we don't have enough basketballs to go around because...there's so much versatility and we have so many weapons," Fernandez said.
* Men's coach Stan Heath is excited about a concerted effort nationally to "move the rules a little bit more towards the NBA," with hopes it will increase scoring across the board.
Heath said Curtis Shaw, officiating chief of a five-conference consortium to which the American Athletic Conference belongs, recently spoke with the Bulls about a closer emphasis on perimeter checks and re-evaluation of the block-charge rule.
Translation: A charge must be a bona fide charge. If you're in the motion of going up and an opponent slides underneath, it likely will be whistled a block.
"(Anthony) Collins is fired up because he feels like he gets chucked a lot on the perimeter," Heath said. "And I think guys like Victor Rudd who like to dunk the ball, they know guys can't slide underneath and they're going to have a lot more highlight plays."
* Freshman big man John Egbunu is living up to the hype -- so far. Heath said during vertical-leap testing recently, Egbunu (6-foot-10, 230 pounds) touched the top of the backboard.
* After a two-year junior college stint, former Boca Ciega star Tamara Taylor's long-range touch remains intact. Taylor led the Pirates to three consecutive final fours and spent the past two years at Gulf Coast Community College. "I think one thing she can do is create off the bounce, she can shoot it with ease from deep range," Fernandez said.
* During a recent 30-minute men's scrimmage, senior Rudd had 26 points (10-for-19 from the floor) and Egbunu collected nine boards.
* Six-foot-7 sophomore forward Zach LeDay, who played at around 220 last season, is every bit of 245 now. "We already know from last year he liked to mix it up," Heath said. "Now, instead of being a guy who took a lot of hits, he dishes 'em out pretty good."
* Heath said the men's team is "easily" nine-deep right now.
* According to Rudd, any concerns about Heath coaching his son have been tempered so far by freshman PG Josh Heath's consistency. Josh led Tampa Prep to the Class 3A state title two winters ago.
"He's good, but we were kind of like, 'Is (Stan Heath) going to yell at him?'" Rudd said. "But Josh is so good he hasn't even had to do that yet. Josh has probably played the most consistent and the best since practice started."