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Change of scenery suits ex-Bulls

Former USF part-time starter Zach LeDay leads Virginia Tech in at least four major offensive categories in his first season with the Hokies.

Streeter Lecka | Getty Images

Former USF part-time starter Zach LeDay leads Virginia Tech in at least four major offensive categories in his first season with the Hokies.



The hearty exodus of players from USF's men's basketball program in the past two years, coinciding with the Bulls' coaching change, was expected.

The staggering success enjoyed by some at their new programs was not.

A handful of ex-Bulls not only have landed on their feet, but have swept a new set of fans off theirs. Some even appear to be in serious contention for all-conference honors in their respective new leagues.

Just how serious? Judge for yourself. Here's a closer look at how the former members of the Stan Heath regime are faring:

F Zach LeDay, R-Jr., Virginia Tech
Final season at USF (2013-14): LeDay started 16 of 32 games, averaging 3.5 points and 2.6 rebounds. His 15 minutes per game ranked ninth on the team.

Today: After sitting out the 2014-15 season, LeDay notched the first of his five double-doubles in his Virginia Tech debut (26 points, 15 rebounds against Alabama State) and hasn't cooled off. He leads the resurgent Hokies (10-6, 2-1 in ACC) in scoring (14.9 ppg), rebounds (9.4 rpg), blocks (23) and free-throw efficiency (77.1 percent), and is tied for the team lead with 13 steals. A win Wednesday at home against Wake Forest, and Virginia Tech matches last season's victory total.

G Josh Heath, Jr., Georgia Tech
Final season at USF (2013-14): Forced to relinquish his redshirt when starting PG Anthony Collins (knee) was sidelined, Heath performed admirably as a freshman. In 17 games, he averaged a team-best 3.6 assists, and his 2.2 assist/turnover ratio ranked second in the American Athletic Conference in league games.

Today: Granted immediate eligibility at Tech after his dad's dismissal at USF, Heath was solid (83 assists, 40 turnovers) in a part-time role last season, and has started every game for the 11-5 Yellow Jackets this season. His team-best 4.36 assists rank 10th in the ACC, and his 3.36 assist/turnover ratio ranks third.

C John Egbunu, R-So., Florida
Final season at USF (2013-14): An AAC All-Rookie Team pick, Egbunu set a USF freshman rebounding record, averaging 7.4 points and notching two double-doubles.

Today: After sitting out the 2014-15 season, Egbunu is evolving into a low-post force for new Gators coach Mike White. He leads the 10-5 Gators in blocked shots (23) and ranks second in both scoring (10.9 ppg) and rebounding (6.8 rpg).

PG Anthony Collins, R-Sr., Texas A&M
Final season at USF (2014-15): Making a solid comeback from the knee problems that sidelined him most of the previous season, Collins started all 32 games. He led the Bulls in steals (49) and assists (5.2) and averaged 7.1 points, but didn't appear an ideal fit for the brisker pace preferred by first-year coach Orlando Antigua.

Today: Collins, pursuing a master's degree in sports management, has started all 15 games for the 15th-ranked Aggies (13-2), boasting a 3.22 assist/turnover ratio. In Saturday's 92-88 victory against Tennessee, he had a game-high nine assists and sank two critical free throws with 45.7 seconds remaining to stay perfect (20-for-20) from the stripe this season.
G/F JaVontae Hawkins, R-Jr., Eastern Kentucky
Final season at USF (2013-14): Watched his role become minimized from his freshman year. In 29 games, he averaged 3.7 points and 1.3 rebounds, but scored 15 in a loss to Cincinnati.

Today: After sitting out last season per NCAA transfer rules, Hawkins ranks second in scoring (17.3 ppg) and rebounding (4.9 rpg) for the 11-7 Colonels.

G Dinero Mercurius, So., Texas-Rio Grande Valley: Sitting out this season per NCAA transfer rules
F Dre Clayton, R-So., Northwest Mississippi CC: Averaging 9.6 ppg, 6.9 rpg
C Jordan Omogbehin: Averaging 4.3 minutes at King University
G Musa Abdul-Aleem: Completed eligibility last year at Troy

And the coaches
Stan Heath: First season as an assistant at Boston College
Steve Roccaforte: Second season as an assistant at Virginia Tech
Mike Wells: Second season as an assistant with the Utah Jazz
Donnie Marsh: Second season as associate head coach at Texas Southern

[Last modified: Monday, January 11, 2016 7:37pm]


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