More time at point guard for Dominique?
One of the intriguing personnel decisions USF coach Stan Heath will have to make this season is deciding how to rotate four talented guards -- Dominique Jones, Jesus Verdejo, Chris Howard and Mike Mercer -- through was is typically three perimeter positions on the floor.
It's hard to imagine Jones spending too much time on the bench, so you essentially have three players competing for minutes at two spots, unless the Bulls are going to utilize a four-guard look. One creative solution would be giving Jones, who played primarily at shooting guard last season, more minutes at point guard, especially when Howard is on the bench.
"I think I have to do it all -- not do everything, but spread myself out," Jones said. "I know the defense is going to be eyeing me out, so I have to get my team involved, make my teammates better."
Jones averaged 2.8 assists as a freshman, second on the team behind Howard, but said he likes the idea of being a point guard, even preferring it to his initial role as a shooting guard.
"That's what I wanted to do, before I even came here, but I had to do what I had to do," Jones said. "That's going to be real exciting playing the 1 also. (I'm a) combo guard, a 1 and a 2."
-- Mercer, who was arrested last month on a misdemeanor charge of public consumption of alcohol, has entered into a misdemeanor intervention program for first-time offenders. According to the agreement, Mercer will perform 16 hours of community service and pay $386 in fines, and if he completes a three-month probationary period without any additional problems, the charge will be dropped from his record.
-- Recruiting update: I talked Wednesday with Keith Clanton, the 6-foot-8 forward from Orlando Christian Prep who has USF among his final three choices, along with South Carolina and Central Florida. Clanton visited UCF this past weekend and said he'll make a decision in the next two weeks. He said he has no leader among the three, likes the coaches and players and style of play at all three schools. He's been a recruiting priority for Heath for some time, and would give USF a versatile scoring threat who can play either forward position. UCF gives him a chance to stay at home, to be a bigger star in a smaller conference; South Carolina would let him play in an elite conference but be farther from home, and USF would give a little of both, playing not far from home in perhaps the nation's top conference.
-- Point guard Justin Leemow was a late addition to Heath's recruiting class, joining just before fall classes started, but he was drawing praise from his coach and teammates as they met with the media Tuesday. By comparison, Heath didn't say a word about freshman guard Gaby Belardo, though that could just be an oversight.
"He's a late pickup, but definitely a guy who brings tremendous energy every single day," Heath said. "He's probably one of my better fullcourt players. He can pick up the ball, can pick your pocket, and I like that about him."