Bulls hope 6-foot-11 Swindle is a big steal
USF men's basketball coach Stan Heath's first commitment for 2008 is a big one -- 6-foot-11, 260-pound center Gene Swindle from Miami's Gulliver Prep. With senior Kentrell Gransberry set to graduate after this season, he looks to be the Bulls' center of the future.
"I thought it was the best fit for me," said Swindle, who committed Monday night. "It's close to home, and I love the Big East, being from Miami. I think it's one of the better basketball conferences in college basketball."
Swindle, rated a two-star recruit by both Scout.com and Rivals.com, drew interest from Virginia, Virginia Tech and Penn State and had turned down offers from Nebraska and Old Dominion. He was impressed that USF brought him in for a campus visit last month on the first weekend visits were allowed, making him feel like a priority in their recruiting.
"They've been with me since they could first bring me in, and told me I was their top recruit at the time," said Swindle, who averaged about 13 points and eight rebounds a game as a junior.
His weight has fluctuated quite a bit -- he said he weighed as much as 310 pounds his sophomore year, then made it a goal to get in shape last season and dropped down to 237 before getting into the weight room and adding muscle to his frame. He said 260 is "a comfortable weight" and one he'd like to play at as a college freshman.
The Bulls lost out on forward Ken Gabriel, who committed Monday to Auburn, but remain in the hunt for Charlotte (N.C.) point guard Damier Pitts, who will visit Marshall this weekend. Check back for more basketball updates ...