QB Daniels can join hoops team Dec. 7
Freshman quarterback B.J. Daniels, unlikely to play the rest of this football season, will be allowed to join Stan Heath's men's basketball team after USF's regular-season finale at West Virginia, coach Jim Leavitt said Thursday.
Leavitt had previously said that Daniels could join the team after the end of football season -- presumably meaning after a bowl game. By allowing him to start practicing Dec. 7, Daniels would have four weeks of practice before the Bulls begin play in the Big East. Daniels, a 6-foot-1 guard who averaged 27 points per game as a senior in Tallahassee, has said one of the reasons he chose USF was the chance to play in both sports.
Daniels, a first-team all-state selection in both sports, has played in two football games as a true freshman, but is unlikely to play again due to a wrist injury. Leavitt said USF intends to apply for a medical redshirt, which would give him four more years of football eligibility. He is in line to be the top backup next season to returning starter Matt Grothe, who would be a senior in 2009.
USF has good depth at guard, with four veterans -- Dominique Jones, Jesus Verdejo, Chris Howard and Mike Mercer -- along with true freshmen Justin Leemow and Gaby Belardo. The Bulls are already getting a boost in mid-December as Mercer and freshman forward Gus Gilchrist will be eligible starting with USF's Dec. 14 game against Niagara, which would also be the first game Daniels could play in.
All Heath has promised Daniels is a spot on the roster, so it remains to be seen how quickly he can learn his system and prove himself to be in basketball shape. This season might be Daniels' best chance to play basketball, however, as his obligations to the football team are likely to increase in upcoming seasons.