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Bulls still battling for 6-foot-11 center



Gene Swindle has not been swindled just yet.

The 6-foot-11 center from Miami Gulliver Prep has backed out of an oral commitment to USF, but is still considering the Bulls as he prepares for the second of two official visits to rival suitors.

"It's not necessarily a dead issue," said Harry Gordon, Swindle's coach at Gulliver. "He's still considering USF, and they're not giving up."

Gordon said Bulls coach Stan Heath is scheduled to visit Swindle in Miami on Monday or Tuesday next week, trying to convince Swindle to stay close to home and play in the Big East. Swindle made an official visit to Penn State last weekend and liked it, Gordon said, and he's scheduled to visit Virginia Tech and former USF coach Seth Greenberg next weekend.

"Virginia Tech had told him they were recruiting two other kids, and they didn't get them," Gordon said. "They'd always been up front about that, and when they called, he opened things back up again."

One USF commitment that isn't going away is Eladio Espinosa, a 6-foot-8, 212-pound forward from Norlina, N.C., who chose the Bulls last week.

"I want to come in and do something special, to start a new tradition," said Espinosa, who will play this season at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia. "I like playing against the best, and I know the Big East has that."

Espinosa -- pronounce his first name el-LOD-ee-oh -- said he was recruited heavily by Cincinnati and strongly considered an offer from Marshall, which beat USF for his Hargrave teammate, point guard Damier Pitts. He can play both forward positions, either as a tall three or a skinny four.

"I can jump out of the gym," said Espinosa, who was born in Summit, N.J., but lives in Norlina, north of Raleigh and just south of the Virginia border.

I talked last week with Stan Kowalewski, who coached Espinosa with the N.C. Gaters AAU team, and he had this to say: "He's a tremendous athlete. Extremely long, fantastic vertical. He really played above the rim this past summer. He's an inside/outside threat, and if you can get him the ball within five feet of the basket, he's dunking it."

-- One more update: As I'd suspected, 6-foot-11 center Mohamed Esseghir didn't play in Wednesday's exhibition because USF hasn't heard back from the NCAA about a waiver to have him eligible this fall (instead of having to wait until mid-December). Esseghir said he hopes to hear back before next week's opener against Cleveland State and is optimistic about being able to suit up for that game. Again, with Kentrell Gransberry suspended for the opener, Esseghir would be a big boost to USF's post depth.

[Last modified: Thursday, May 27, 2010 11:47am]


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