Heath wave: Wait, there's more
I don't want to bump down the news of the night -- former Arkansas coach Stan Heath spoke with Doug Woolard on Wednesday and plans to meet with him in Atlanta, perhaps as early as today -- but there's an interesting side note, and an update that's not going to make USF fans like Gregg Marshall any more.
The school that gets Heath -- who strongly hinted he will talk with other schools while in Atlanta this weekend -- could also get Arkansas guard Patrick Beverley, the SEC's Freshman of the Year after averaging 13.9 points this past season under Heath. Beverley told his hometown paper, the Chicago Tribune, that he would consider transferring to follow Heath, based on where he goes and who Arkansas hires on as his successor. I talked with Beverley's coach at Chicago's Marshall High (too many Marshalls this week) and he said such a transfer was a strong possibility, that the main reason Beverley chose Arkansas was the chance to play for Heath.
One more: Heath had gotten a verbal commitment this spring from Jenirro Bush, a 6-foot-7 small forward from Crawford, Miss., who has since re-opened his commitment after Heath's firing. So there's the possibility that Bush could follow Heath wherever he lands, without any obstacles like being released from letters of intent or any of that. He can sign wherever he wants when the spring signing period opens April 12. Bush averaged nearly 30 points per game in leading his high school to Mississippi's Class A state championship.
And just as gravy, I'll mention that Winthrop coach Gregg Marshall, who visited USF's campus on Friday only to tell the Bulls two days later that he wasn't pursuing their opening, was expected back in Tampa on Wednesday. His visit has nothing to do with USF, unless you count trying to beat the Bulls out for a local recruit who's in limbo as he waits for USF to name its coach. Marshall's trying to land Ejike Hart, a sophomore power forward at Hillsborough Community College who has been strongly considering USF since the fall signing period. (His close friend and teammate, Kenie Freeman, who had also strongly considered signing with USF, collapsed and died last fall during a team practice in Ohio) HCC coach Derrick Worrels, who says Hart wants very much to stay in Tampa, said he'll wait until USF hires a coach before making any decisions about where he'll sign. Marshall, who was recruiting Hart long before Robert McCullum was fired, isn't the only coach making a push -- new New Mexico coach Steve Alford's also joining in and trying to sign Hart as well.
I know, I still haven't gotten in a good spring football update, but basketball's been driving the news, so it's hard to bump it down, even for Tyrone McKenzie, Mike Ford, and other promising new Bulls. If you have a football question, or more basketball thoughts, drop them in here or e-mail me at [email protected].
I'll mention that I caught one inning of Wednesday's USF-Florida A&M tilt. Got there with USF losing to a 1-26 team 5-1 in the sixth, then saw the Bulls rally for seven runs, including five runs scored with two outs without a ball being put into play. (!) Three different Rattlers pitchers combined for this two-out bases-loaded gem: hit batsmen, walk, hit batsmen, walk, walk. Bulls still nearly lost the game, prevailing 11-10. Most impressive baseball stat I've heard? USF is 9-2 against teams from last year's NCAA regionals, which bodes well for Lelo Prado's first season carrying on a bit longer than the last few have for the Bulls ...