Catching up on Monday's leftover news ...
Monday was truly an overloaded day for USF news, with a national developing story on former USF football players Will Bleakley and Nick Schuyler lost at sea and Schuyler's amazing rescue; with more updates on USF's coaching search, women's basketball's enormous last-minute win at Villanova and men's basketball picking up a commitment from New Jersey guard Mike Burwell.
So in all that, there's a few things that I didn't get to, knowing they'd be lost in everything else going on. Today could very well be another day of news on Bleakley and Schuyler, if not the coaching search as well, but I'll get to a few things this morning before things get going. Here's a link to video from Tuesday's Good Morning America, recapping Monday's news of the search for Bleakley and former Bucs players Corey Smith and Marquis Cooper.
-- Good story in the Cleveland Plain Dealer on Schuyler, who went to high school in Ohio before coming to USF. This blog is one of the few places that referenced Schuyler during his time at USF -- I know USFnation.com took a photo of him at practice once -- but there's still a lot we don't know about him.
-- Football season is still more than six months away, but it's time to crank up the 2010 Watch List Watch List. Loyal blog readers remember the WLWL from years past, and this year's starts with USF defensive end George Selvie being one of 48 players on the preliminary Watch List for the Lombardi Award, which has the most nebulous of positional jurisdictions: "limited to down linemen, end-to-end, either on offense or defense, who set up no farther than 10 yards to the left or right of the ball, or linebackers who set up no farther than 5 yards deep from the line of scrimmage." Don't forget your tape measures this fall!
Selvie is one of three 2009 semifinalists on the 2010 watch list, along with Florida linebacker Brandon Spikes and Missouri linebacker Sean Weatherspoon. Only two other Big East players made the list: Syracuse defensive tackle Arthur Jones and Pittsburgh tight end Nate Byham, whose numbers last year weren't exactly Lombardi-esque: 20 catches for 260 yards and one touchdown. Spikes and Florida State guard Rodney Hudson were the other players from Florida schools.
I question the Byham inclusion just becasue there are only three tight ends on the list -- one of them is former South Carolina star Jared Cook, who will be in the NFL this fall and really shouldn't be on any college watch lists, and the other is Arizona's Rob Gronkowski. I don't think Byham is one of the two best tight ends in college football this fall.
-- Tonight is men's basketball's final home game, and coach Stan Heath brought up an interesting name Monday in discussing possible solutions at shooting guard, where freshman Justin Leemow has struggled since filling in for injured senior Jesus Verdejo in the past four games. Verdejo won't play by the way, but will be recognized with fellow seniors B.J. Ajayi (also injured) and Aris Williams, who played well Saturday against West Virginia.
Back to the guards: Leemow is 0-for-20 in the last seven games, dropping his season shooting percentage to 17 percent from the field. Leemow has handled the ball extremely well -- five turnovers in the past five games -- but just isn't the scoring threat USF needs. Toward that end, Heath said he's going to give a long look to walk-on guard Ryan Kardok. Kardok has played just 16 minutes all season, missing the only shot he took in November against High Point, but he's impressed Heath in practice when simulating opposing guards on the scout team, regularly able to hit 3-pointers when guarded by some of USF's top defenders.
Heath acknowledged that Kardok isn't as solid defensively as Leemow, but he's just looking for an offensive spark. It's somewhat telling that Heath is looking to a walk-on and not to freshman Gaby Belardo, a scholarship player, or freshman guard/quarterback B.J. Daniels, who averaged 27 points a game last season in high school. Belardo and Daniels are both 3-for-14 from the field this season, though Belardo does have two 3-pointers.
Heath isn't looking for a huge game, just a big shot here or there to keep defenses from ignoring one of the guards defensively. We'll see whether Leemow or one of the other options can step up ...