Sanford and son: Bulls pursuing Kentucky guard
Despite having four guards already set to join his team next season, USF coach Stan Heath continues to work to upgrade his backcourt, and the latest name to share is Lexington (Ky.) combo guard Vee Sanford, whose father, Vince, played three seasons at USF from 1984-87.
"He is wide-open. He hasn't narrowed down anything yet," said Brandon Salsman, his coach at Lexington Catholic, one of eight teams remaining in Kentucky's single-class state basketball tournament.
Heath attended Thursday night's game in Lexington, and assistant Reggie Hanson has seen Sanford twice this season. Having worked in Lexington before joining USF's staff two years ago, Hanson might have seen Sanford as many as 10 times in all, by Salsman's count.
"They've worked hard on him. He gets more mail from them than anybody else," Salsman said. "The fact that there's a family connection there helps."
Vince Sanford was a runner-up for Mr. Basketball in Kentucky and signed with the hometown Wildcats but transferred before playing a game, Salsman said. Sanford played three seasons at USF, with 11 starts and an average of 7.1 points per game as a junior in 1985-86. One of his teammates his first two seasons was guard Tommy Tonelli, now USF's director of basketball operations. Sanford is now an assistant coach for Lexington Catholic.
Vee -- short for Vince Jr. -- is a 6-foot-3, 165-pound guard who was a junior starter last season when Lexington Catholic went 32-4 and was ranked as high as No. 9 in the country. After averaging 13 points on a senior-laden team last year, he's now averaging 24 and leading the team in assists and steals while second in rebounding.
Among the schools chasing him right now: USF, Georgetown, Marquette, Kentucky, Indiana, Virginia, Baylor, Nebraska and "all of Conference USA except Memphis," Salsman said. All but Kentucky, Indiana and Marquette have offered, and Kentucky has offered him a scholarship in 2010 after a year in prep school; Sanford is fully qualified and intends to sign with a school this spring, Salsman said.
Salsman said 17 schools were in attendance last night as Sanford scored his team's final nine points in regulation to force overtime, then scored seven of nine points in overtime to seal the win, finishing with 28. That link also has a two-minute highlight video from the game from Kentucky.com -- Sanford wears jersey No. 11 for Lexington Catholic. He scores with a mix of outside shots and slashing, with a floater that has worked well for him this season.
-- As requested, I have an update on Waverly Austin, a 6-foot-10, 230-pound center from humbly named God's Academy in Texas. Talked with God's Academy coach Tim Miller on Friday, and he said he expects to see coaches from USF next week, when Austin will start setting up visits after their season wraps up this weekend. USF has not offered a scholarship yet, but Miller lists USF among Austin's favorites, along with Central Florida, TCU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Auburn. He's more of a defensive center, a solid shot-blocker who can rebound and run the floor well. Miller said he's averaging about 10 points and nine rebounds per game. Could be wrong, but I'm reading him as an option behind next weekend's visitors, Jarrid Famous and Sandi Marcius, as well as CSI's Daequon Montreal.
USF is also looking at God's Academy guard Kervins Calixte (cah-LIX-tea), but Miller said he will spend another year at God's for prep school and be part of the 2010 recruiting class. Calixte has also heard from UCF, North Texas and TCU, with some interest from Kentucky.
-- USF's women's basketball team will have a rematch of last year's WNIT opener in Saturday's second-round game in Tampa. The Bulls will face Florida Gulf Coast, which advanced after edging George Washington 97-94 in two overtimes in Estero on Thursday night. FGCU, which got a crowd of 2,257 for their game, eliminated the Bulls in last year's tournament. FGCU beat Florida to open this season, but Thursday's game was just its third against an RPI top 100 team since November.