Howard leaves USF legacy for perseverance
USF held its men's basketball postseason banquet at the Embassy Suites on campus Monday night, and Stan Heath had a nice touch in handing out the team awards, announcing that he will name the team's Perseverance Award after senior point guard Chris Howard.
Howard, who battled back from two ACL surgeries to finish his career with 105 starts, is certainly deserving of the honor -- "that guy is USF basketball," Heath said in introducing him. Junior guard Dominique Jones of course took home the team MVP, and got a standing ovation as he said goodbye to the Bulls, leaving a year early for the NBA draft.
Other awards? Howard also earned the Defensive Player of the Year award, Jarrid Famous got the "Chairman of the Boards" award, Alex Rivas got the Bulls Pride award, Toarlyn Fitzpatrick earned Most Improved honors, Gus Gilchrist won the team's Free Throw award as its top shooter and walk-on Ryan Kardok, a finance major, earned the Academic Achievement Award.
I'll have more from basketball in the morning, but it stood out to me Monday night just how much turnover Heath will have by the time next year's team arrives. With Jones gone, he'll have just seven returning players, and five of them joined the program this past season. The only 2010-11 Bulls player who actually played in 2008-09 will be Gilchrist, with Anthony Crater as the next most tenured player, having arrived in January 2009.
Monday's big news was the commitment of junior college guard Jawanza Poland, and USF could get more good news Wednesday. That's when Virginia center Davante Gardner is expected to announce his decision between the Bulls and Marquette -- things are looking good for him to become the next part of Heath's recruiting class, adding depth to the Bulls' post next season.