Junior college wing Poland has USF in final 3
The late signing period for basketball is just two weeks away, and USF coach Stan Heath is in the mix for another top junior college recruit -- Jawanza Poland, a 6-foot-4 guard/forward from Wichita who is rated as one of the top wing in all of junior college basketball.
Poland, who is at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas this season, has an advantage on most junior college recruits because he'll have three years of eligibility -- he redshirted this past season at Hutchinson, unable to play after transferring from Cowley College. Poland made an official visit to USF two weekends ago, and said Wednesday he has USF in his final three schools, along with Oklahoma and hometown Wichita State.
"They have a good team coming back -- they'll be pretty good in the Big East next year," said Poland, who plans to visit Oklahoma next week before making his decision. "My visit to USF was pretty good -- I liked the facilities, the academics there, and it seems like a nice place to live."
Poland averaged 13.5 points a game as a freshman at Cowley and was named Freshman of the Year in the Jayhawk Conference's East division. One of USF's biggest needs this off-season is finding consistent outside shooters, and that's a strength of Poland, who hit 38 percent of his 3-point attempts at Cowley.
"Probably my best strength is that I'm a good outside shooter," said the 205-pound Poland. "I believe I can get to the goal any time I want to, so I have a good inside drive game."
USF and Oklahoma have both been recruiting him since early in basketball season, and assistant Jeremy Cox has been his primary recruiter for the Bulls.
USF already has two spring commitments from the junior college ranks, from guard Shedrick Haynes of Lackawanna (Pa.) College and wing Hugh Robertson of Tallahassee Community College. Robertson and Poland were ranked as the nation's No. 2 and 3 junior college prospects at the shooting guard/small forward position, according to Mike Mitchell's Midwest Scouting Service, a well-respected recruiting service that pays close attention to the junior college ranks.
USF's coaching staff will be at the Final Four in Indianapolis this weekend, but they'll have more official visits the following weekend, including Robertson. Stay tuned for more on Heath's recruiting efforts as he looks to add to his four-player incoming class ...
(Thanks to Cowley College for the photo of Poland, taken during the 2008-09 season.)