Bulls in top two for forward Flowers
Stan Heath has one scholarship remaining for another piece in his incoming recruiting class, and the Bulls are among the favorites for two talented junior college forwards who are working to put previous off-court problems in their past.
The Times had a feature last week on Hillsborough Community College forward Keith Brumbaugh, who is being recruited hard by the Bulls despite a well-documented past that includes six arrests. HCC coach Derrick Worrels has gone out of his way to vouch for Brumbaugh, saying he's done everything asked on and off the court. Now we can confirm that the Bulls are recruiting another highly touted forward once headed to Oklahoma State: Gary Flowers, a 6-foot-8 standout currently playing at Chipola College in the Panhandle.
Chipola coach Greg Heiar said Tuesday that USF and Seton Hall are the top two schools for Flowers, who was dismissed from Oklahoma State last fall for a violation of team rules and was arrested on a possession of marijuana charge. As with Brumbaugh, Heiar said Flowers has had no problems since enrolling at Chipola in January.
"He's a changed human being. You have to see it to believe it, but he's been a very good person off the court, a great teammate," Heiar said. "He's done everything we've asked him to do without a problem."
Flowers and his Chipola teammates were able to watch part of USF's home victory against UAB on Saturday night after playing a game in St. Petersburg. Heiar said other major programs such as Connecticut, Arizona, Indiana and Cincinnati have tried to jump in on Flowers' recruiting, but USF and Seton Hall are ahead of the rest. Flowers will be at Chipola through the end of next summer, but he can sign this spring and will have three years of eligibility. For more about him, there's a good writeup on him here at a basketball blog called Zagsblog.
I incorrectly stated here previously that USF has used its full allotment of scholarships for the upcoming season. To set things straight: Heath has one scholarship at his disposal for the spring signing period, with forward Eladio Espinosa signed in the early signing period and Pensacola Junior College guard Lasha Parghalava committed. Parghalava was unable to get a national letter of intent signed by his parents in eastern Europe before the fall signing period ended. He's committed to USF and can sign in the spring; if he does so and no other scholarship players transfer out, the Bulls would have one additional scholarship available.
One player -- redshirt freshman guard Dante Curry -- has already indicated he'll transfer this month, and as the season progresses and players' roles are more defined, others could follow, as is often the case in the transition to a new coach and new system.
-- One unrelated note, but something I wanted to get posted, is what USF's defensive secondary might look like this spring. Losing cornerbacks Mike Jenkins and Trae Williams and backup Ryan Gilliam means a major reshuffling at cornerback, and coach Jim Leavitt addressed the possibilities Monday. All players are identified using their 2008 class.
For now, pencil in senior Tyller Roberts and junior Jerome Murphy as starting cornerbacks, with sophomore Dylan Douglas and redshirt freshman Quenton Washington as the top backups. All the safeties are back, so junior Nate Allen would likely start at free safety, with senior Danny Verpaele and redshirt freshman Jerrell Young competing as backups; senior Carlton Williams returns at strong safety, with another senior, Louis Gachette, as his top backup. Verpaele and Young would likely compete for the nickel defensive back spot. Obviously a top-flight recruit could immediately step into the two-deep, and the Bulls will also get 2007 signee Charlton Sinclair in January, though he'd be eligible to redshirt next season.
-- One more thing: we'd mentioned last month that tackle Jared Carnes would seek another year of eligibility by exploring a medical hardship, and he might wind up not being the only offensive lineman to do so. Left guard Ryan Schmidt, listed as a junior this fall, could end up with two years of remaining eligibility because he missed the 2005 season at Kansas State with an injury after redshirting in 2004. As would be the case for quarterback Grant Gregory, a school cannot petition the NCAA for a medical redshirt and an extra year of eligibility until a player's regular eligibility has expired, which would be after the 2008 season for Schmidt.
-- Be sure to check out this week's USF notebook for news on Gilliam's history with Oregon, a new position for freshman Tyson Butler and how often Heath's team will be flying by charter on the road this season.