Taj Ma-Heath? Coach excited about new facility
Ah, the joys of being a college writer in June. There's not much difference between "sports reporter" and "court reporter" just from the transcribing I'm doing this morning. But just moments after Skip Holtz was on 620, USF men's basketball coach Stan Heath was on 1010 AM, talking with Mike Pepper and Jim Lighthall. I really do have actual stories in the works ...
-- On the nearly-completed Muma Center practice facility and renovations starting on the Sun Dome: "The campus is just totally changing. I do believe I have a Taj Mahal on my hands. This is a special place. The Pam and Les Muma Center is probably the best basketball center in the country, and I'm extremely proud to be the coach that gets to work with our young men in that building. ... The Sun Dome renovation was so needed. The building was tired and needed to be fixed. I really don't know how much longer the Sun Dome could have lasted if we hadn't have done something. It was almost imperative. Thank goodness for our President and our Board of Trustees and the people behind the scenes that made this happen. When you put the combination of the Sun Dome and the practice center, those two facilities on campus really change the face of USF basketball."
-- On the impact those two changes can have on recruiting: "Kids like visual things. When they come to a campus and see a practice center, place to work out 24/7, strength and conditioning, offices, locker rooms, lounges, all those different things, then you go to another school and they have two baskets and bleachers falling apart, things like that. If kids are making a decision and everything else is equal, you're going to lose, and finishing second in this business in recruiting doesn't do you any good."
-- On the incoming recruiting class, which arrives on campus June 23: "I'm really excited about this class coming in. I actually just came back from Phoenix last night, spent some time academically with (point guard) Blake Nash, making sure he was where he needed to be, and he is. He's an exciting little guard, a second-team junior college All-American. He's going to have three years with us, almost like Jawanza Poland. To get that extra year is huge. This kid can play. In the regional finals at Hutch (Hutchinson, Kansas) which is the Elite 8 national championship tournament for junior colleges, he played a really good team, Southeast Iowa, which I think was ranked fifth or sixth in the country. His team lost, but he only had 38, just to give you an idea. This guy is pretty good. Anthony Collins is another really good guard, from Houston, Texas. Can really pass the ball. Uncanny vision and ball skills. I think our point guard will really be solid and strong this year.
"Those two giants, who knows. Andre (Jackson) has the talent to do whatever he wants to do. I have to get him in a little better shape. But his skills and toughness and physique at 6-10, 300, is huge. I've got to get him down to about 280. The other kid, Jordan Omogbehin, is 7-foot-3, 290 pounds. This will be the biggest human being I think anybody's ever seen in person. Just wait til you see this kid. He's not just a project. He's got some work to do, but when a kid's that size and can move on the court. He's got hands. He's got feet. He's a very intelligent player, too. The sky is the limit for a kid with this size. You can't teach that kind of size out there on the court."
-- On doing the "Around the Horns" tour with Skip Holtz, Doug Woolard and other coaches: "Island Way Grill in Clearwater is our next stop (Monday). It'll be fun. It's always fun to meet people who support your program. ... I get up there and talk for about 30 seconds. Coach Holtz, he goes for about 30 minutes. It's fun to be with him. I was a big fan of his father growing up because he's such a motivational speaker. Skip can just go, and he's so entertaining. He strikes a chord in the heart of Bulls fans."