Heath adds point guard Leemow to class
After losing three signees to academic problems this summer, USF coach Stan Heath made a late addition to his recruiting class Tuesday, signing point guard Justin Leemow of Brooklyn, N.Y., to a grant-in-aid.
"He's a very competitive kid, and he believes he can play at this level," Heath said. "This late in the year, with school getting ready to start and us needing a little more help, it's a good fit. I know he's going to work hard and develop himself as a player."
Leemow, 6 foot 1 and 175 pounds, played last season at Mount Zion Christian Academy, a prep school in North Carolina. He averaged 13.5 points and four assists per game on the school's post-graduate team. He played two seasons at Xaverian High School in New York, then two more at The Patterson School in North Carolina.
"That's my dream right there, to play in the Big East," said Leemow (rhymes with "see now"), who made a campus visit two weeks ago.
USF found out about Leemow through forward Gus Gilchrist, who played AAU basketball with him with the D.C. Assault. Leemow had talked with small schools like LaSalle, Maryland-Baltimore County and Central Connecticut State, but said he was hoping for something at a major-conference school. He said N.C. State was interested but did not have a scholarship available.
"I just played my cards right and was very blessed to have this work out," Leemow said.
Leemow has played with Big East players before -- he was a teammate of Pittsburgh's Levance Fields and Providence's Brian McKenzie at Xaverian, and played with Seton Hall's Jeremy Hazell at Patterson, along with future Maryland point guard Bobby Maze.
He joins the Bulls after three signees were lost to academic problems, including point guard Dwan McMillan, also from Brooklyn. Leemow said he's confident that he has the academic requirements he'll need to attend and play at USF.
It's not often you see scholarships given out in August to players who have finished four years of high school and a year of prep school. You won't find Leemow on many recruiting lists -- back in '05, Hoopscooponline.com had him ranked as the No. 110 prospect in New York City in his class.
The Bulls have four experienced guards returning in Chris Howard, Dominique Jones, Jesus Verdejo and Mike Mercer, so there's a possibility that one of the true freshman guards, Gaby Belardo or Leemow, could redshirt this season.
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