Gransberry named USF hoops MVP
Junior center Kentrell Gransberry, who led the Big East in rebounding in his first year of major-college basketball, was honored as USF's MVP at the team's postseason banquet Sunday night at Tampa Palms Golf & Country Club.
Gransberry, who averaged 15.6 points and 11.4 rebounds per game, was also named as USF's "Chairman of the Boards," given to the team's top rebounder, and was honored with the Wittcoff Family Endowed Scholarship. Other awards given out Sunday night:
-- Senior forward McHugh Mattis, who set USF's single-season blocked record was named as the team's Defensive Player of the Year, as well as the Most Improved Player.
-- Freshman guard Solomon Bozeman, who ranked second in the Big East with 88.4 percent shooting at the free-throw line, was given the Free Throw Award.
-- Freshman forward Amu Saaka took home the "Bulls Pride Award," given to the player who "best exemplifies the responsibilities associated with being a student-athlete at USF, on and off the court."
-- Former walk-on Chris Capko, who graduated in December with a 3.28 grade-point average and a degree in communications, was honored with the team's Academic Award.
-- Redshirt freshman Chris Howard, who returned to the court after multiple knee surgeries during a two-and-a-half-year absence, earned the Bill Jones Scholarship Award, named for the former USF season-ticket holder who lost his battle with cancer. The award honors Jones' best qualities: leadership, determination, a fighting spirit, courage and passion.
-- The team awards were chosen by former coach Robert McCullum, who was fired last month with two years left on his original six-year contract. He was not expected to attend Sunday's banquet, and new coach Stan Heath was expected to make comments about the team and next season's expectations.
It's notable that senior guard Melvin Buckley, the team's leading scorer for most of the season with a final average of 14.8 points per game, did not receive any postseason honors. Buckley played a team-high 35.7 minutes per game and hit a team-best 34.6 percent on 3-point attempts. He, Capko and Mattis were honored as the team's departing seniors, as was forward Melvyn Richardson, who couldn't attend Sunday's banquet.
Check back later tonight for news on USF players signing NFL contracts as undrafted free agents ...