OK, here's your basketball update ...
I shouldn't tease you guys. Busy day with lots of football -- I'll have more on that Monday -- but I do want to get to the basketball recruiting update I'd mentioned a few posts back.
We know that USF is in prime position to get IMG Academy center Teeng Akol, but that probably won't happen until June or so. Stan Heath wants at least one more big man for his frontcourt next season, and it looks like that recruit may be someone we mentioned on the blog here once last month: Alejandro "Alex" Rivas-Sanchez, a 6-foot-10, 230-pound center from Pratt Community College in Kansas.
"They've shown significant interest in the last couple of weeks," Pratt coach Trevor Rolfs said of USF. "He's got a lot of schools after him, but South Florida is intriguing because it's close to home."
Rivas-Sanchez is from the Dominican Republic, and played for Florida's Team Breakdown AAU team. He averaged 8.7 points, 12.1 rebounds and 3.1 blocks at Pratt this season, earning second-team all-conference honors. Rolfs listed several schools also recruiting Rivas-Sanchez, including West Virginia, Nebraska, Texas A&M, SMU and James Madison. He said USF has not formally offered, but is expected to do so.
I talked Saturday with Kenny Gillion from Team Breakdown, and he was more optimistic about USF's chances: "They're the front-runners for sure," he said, naming Baylor and Nebraska as the closest rivals to the Bulls for his services. Gillion said Rivas-Sanchez is familiar enough with USF that he won't need a campus visit to sign with the Bulls.
One interesting tie between Rivas-Sanchez and USF is Roodly Prophete, who was a walk-on guard on the Bulls' roster in 2005-06, logging 47 minutes in the first Big East season. Prophete is involved with Team Breakdown and has spoken highly about USF with Rivas-Sanchez; he might return to the team in some capacity next season.
Gillion said the Bulls have talked with another Breakdown player, an unsigned recruit from this class named Frank Barnes, a 6-foot-9, 250-pound senior at Westlake Prep in Fort Lauderdale. Haven't been able to reach Barnes to gauge how serious the interest is, but the Bulls have already offered a 2009 recruit on the Breakdown roster, forward Keith Clanton of Orlando.
-- As anticipated, the Jeremie Simmons sweepstakes is over, with the talented guard from Mott Community College committing to Ohio State on Saturday night. Again, seems like USF saw this coming, as they were moving quickly on Gaby Belardo, the 6-foot-3 combo guard from Puerto Rico who will make a campus visit next weekend and has a good chance of signing.
-- Is USF assistant Dan Hipsher officially in the running for the Florida Atlantic job? Hipsher has expressed interest in the job, but last I'd checked with him, there hadn't been any contact from the Owls. Hipsher's name came up in a story in the Reporter-Times of Indiana, about a speaking engagement from coaching legend Bobby Knight, in this paragraph:
"Knight still showed a knack for doing the unexpected. In the middle of the program, he took a cell phone call from somebody named “Craig” asking for his opinion of Dan Hipsher, the up-and-coming coach at South Florida. Knight gave Hipsher a solid recommendation right on the spot."
Who is Craig? Certainly makes sense that it could be FAU athletic director Craig Angelos, though he couldn't be reached for comment Sunday night. Hipsher, with head coaching experience from Akron and Stetson, is certainly qualified for the FAU job, which has gotten short stints from Matt Doherty and Rex Walters in the last three years.
Thoughts? Comments? We'll jump back to football notes in the morning ...