Big East baseball tourney back to Clearwater
The Big East is expected to announce this week that its baseball tournament will be held at Bright House Networks Field in Clearwater for the next two years.
The eight-team, five-day tournament was held in Clearwater in 2006 but was played in Brooklyn, N.Y., this spring. Big East officials and local organizers were pleased with last year's attendance, though neither side would officially confirm the announcement.
"Everything went real successfully the first year we had the tournament here," said Doug Kemp, manager of special events at Bright House Networks Field, which is home to the Clearwater Threshers and the spring training home of the Philadelphia Phillies.
USF improved from eighth in the Big East in 2006 to fifth last season in their first year under coach Lelo Prado. The Bulls face the New York Yankees in a spring training exhibition at Tampa's Legends Field on Feb. 29.
DEPARTING: Freshman defensive tackle Kyle Dampier of Merritt Island, who redshirted this season, withdrew from USF after the end of the fall semester last week and is no longer on the Bulls' team, coach Jim Leavitt said.
Dampier could not be reached for comment. Leavitt declined to elaborate on his reason for leaving but said it was unrelated to football.
Defensive line continues to be a major area of focus in recruiting, as the Bulls only return two interior linemen -- sophomore Aaron Harris and freshman Terrell McClain -- with any significant playing experience.
One defensive end expected to join the Bulls in January, Pearl River Community College's Craig Marshall, will not be able to enroll at USF until after the spring semester. Marshall, a high school teammate of USF tight end Andrew Ketchel at Choctawhatchee, signed with USF in 2006 but did not meet the NCAA's initial eligibility requirements. He'll have three years of eligibility at USF starting in 2008 and is expected to contend for a starting position opposite George Selvie at defensive end.
BASKETBALL: If I thought the injury was a serious one, I'd have a headline on this, but freshman phenom Dominique Jones turned his left ankle midway through Monday's workouts and did not return. Jones had the ankle iced at courtside and was able to walk on it and put weight on the ankle, later working on a stationary bike. USF coach Stan Heath said he'd know better Tuesday but was optimistic Jones would be able to play in the Bulls' Wednesday game at Wake Forest.
More on all of this and more on Tuesday ...