Heath, Bulls again recruiting big man Austin
USF men's basketball coach Stan Heath can shift his recruiting focus now to Class of 2012 prospects, and with four scholarships available for the upcoming class, the Bulls are making moves to position themselves for recruits still a year away from arriving on campus.
One of those new names is actually an old one -- 6-foot-11 center Waverly Austin, who signed with USF a year ago out of prep school but did not qualify academically. Austin spent this past season at Palm Beach State College and put up strong numbers -- a team-best 18.3 points and 10.3 rebounds, as well as an average of 3.8 blocks per game, which ranked fourth nationally in Division I junior college basketball.
Having signed Austin in 2009-10, Heath has a natural advantage over schools who are now recruiting Austin for the first time. Austin said that Heath made a personal visit to him on Wednesday, with assistants Jeremy Cox and Eric Skeeters joining him as well. Austin has a scholarship offer from USF again, but his strong play this past season has other top schools recruiting him -- he mentioned Texas, Washington, Kansas, Memphis, Arizona State and West Virginia on Thursday. Austin said Thursday he is "wide-open," but with a new practice facility being completed and major renovations coming to the Sun Dome this year, you could argue that USF is more attractive to recruits than it was when Austin first chose the Bulls.
Austin's stock could continue to rise between now and the early signing period this fall -- he's been invited to participate in the Jerry Mullen Junior College Camp, which will bring many of the top juco recruits to St. Louis in July.
The frontcourt will be addressed in USF's 2012 recruiting efforts -- the Bulls signed two centers this year in incoming junior Andre Jackson and freshman Jordan Omogbehin, but the Bulls will lose their top returning post players in seniors Augustus Gilchrist and Ron Anderson, as well as small forward Hugh Robertson. Having added two point guards this spring, it makes sense now that USF's recruiting focus will be mostly on wings and frontcourt players.