Big East media trip leaves Bulls optimistic
There's only so much excitement to be taken from being picked 14th in a 16-team league, but USF coach Stan Heath sees progress in the Big East coaches' preseason poll, released Wednesday.
"It's not where we want to be, but it's a sign we're moving in the right direction," Heath said by phone from New York, where the league's 16 coaches and top players met for the league's preseason media gathering at Madison Square Garden. "I think the players and myself definitely have a better vibe about our team. We really feel like we're a competitive team in this league. I think we're better than projected."
Heath brought senior guard Chris Howard and junior guard Dominique Jones to represent the Bulls for the annual event. The Bulls had been picked last in each of their four previous Big East preseason polls, but finished ahead of Rutgers and DePaul, as they did in last year's final standings, with a 4-14 conference record.
As for Jones being picked to the second-team preseason all-conference team, Heath said it's a reflection of USF's place in the league standings more than it is of Jones' talent level.
"I think if our record from last season was better, there's no doubt he's a first-team guy," Heath said. "The coaches in this league know he's a dangerous player you have to respect. He knows what matters is at the end of the year, and this will motivate him to lead our team to more wins this season."
The Bulls have had only five practices and the start of the season is still three weeks off, but we'll ask you guys for your expectations: How many Big East wins would constitute an impressive level of progress for the Bulls this season?