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Houston point guard Collins visiting Bulls

18

February

USF coach Stan Heath will have all three of his point guards from this season back next year, but he's still actively working to upgrade the position, with a high school recruit from Houston coming to Tampa on Saturday for an official campus visit.

Anthony Collins, a 6-foot, 172-pound point guard from Houston's Westbury Christian School, said he's excited about visiting USF and has the Bulls as one of his top two schools, along with Baylor.

"I like how they push the ball, and how they have athletic wings I can get the ball to," Collins said Thursday night. "It's a nice place with nice weather, the coaching staff seems real nice, and I love the Big East. And they're in need of a point guard."

Heath has relied almost entirely on junior Anthony Crater in Big East play, with two first-year backups, junior Shedrick Haynes and freshman LaVonte Dority, playing sparse minutes in Big East play. USF has all of its scholarships spoken for next season based on all players returning, so Heath is anticipating at least one player not returning. Haynes has totaled just 12 minutes of playing time in the last 10 games, with no assists and six turnovers in Big East play; Dority has played 51 minutes in the last 10 games, with four assists in 17 minutes in a lopsided loss to Notre Dame.

Collins knows the Big East well -- his brother, J.D., played at West Virginia under John Beilein, totaling more than 400 assists in four season from 2002-06. Westbury has produced its share of talent -- the Timberwolves drafted forward Ndubi Ebi in the first round in 2003 directly from Westbury, and the school has sent players to Tennessee and Washington in the past decade. Coach Russell Carr said USF has been recruiting Collins since December, with Heath watching him play in person during a tournament in Nashville.

"He's definitely a pass-first point guard. Very, very quick, can really handle the ball. A very unselfish player," Carr said. "He's our all-time assists leader here, a four-year starter, and he can score and shoot, too. I think USF is in a good place with him right now."

Collins, who has watched USF "four or five times" on TV this season, said he plans to visit Baylor before making his college decision, but said he's not concerned about leaving the state of Texas and has been to Florida several times for summer basketball tournaments. He has other solid suitors -- Texas Tech, TCU, Wichita State, Nebraska, Minnesota and Tulsa, so USF stands out geographically from his choices.

"I distribute the ball well. I have a nice midrange game, I like to play defense, and I'm like a coach on the floor," said Collins, asked for his strengths as a player.

For USF to add another scholarship player, the Bulls would need a current player to not return, be it a little-used reserve like Haynes or guard Mike Burwell, or a key contributor like power forward Augustus Gilchrist, who was touted among the Big East's best draft prospects before what has been an underwhelming junior season. In addition to Collins, the Bulls are also pursuing another point guard in Sam Grooms, a top junior college recruit from Chipola College who is now drawing interest from schools like North Carolina and Louisville.

[Last modified: Friday, February 18, 2011 10:38am]

    

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