Three hoops recruits to visit USF next weekend
Stan Heath already has four guards joining his roster next season, and USF's men's basketball coach could take a big step toward completing his recruiting class next weekend, when three top Bulls targets will come to Tampa for official campus visits.
Centers Jarrid Famous and Sandi Marcius will visit USF on March 27, as well as Akeem Richmond, a 6-foot-1 guard who just finished his career as the No. 2 all-time scorer in North Carolina high school history.
"They're excited to bring him in, and he's excited about the visit," said Richmond's father, Eric, who will accompany him on the trip.
Richmond finished his four years at Southern Lee High in Sanford, N.C., with 2,846 career points, unofficially second only to former Oklahoma State star JamesOn Curry in N.C. history. Richmond is also considering Boston College and Rhode Island, his father said, and may also take visits to N.C. State and Kentucky.
Famous is a 6-11 center from Westchester Community College, where USF assistant Byron Samuels made a personal visit on Wednesday. Westchester assistant coach Tyrone Mushatt said Wednesday that USF is his only scheduled visit right now -- he's already visited Missouri and Seton Hall, and is also considering Louisville, Villanova, St. John's, Xavier and Fordham.
Marcius, a 6-10 center from Croatia who attends LaLumiere Academy in LaPorte, Ind., will also visit next weekend. Marcius is reportedly visiting SMU this weekend, and lists N.C. State, Purdue and Boston College among schools he's also considering.
And if you're doing the math, Heath has only two available scholarships, but is bringing in three recruits with standing scholarship offers, which suggests he is anticipating a current scholarship player transferring from USF. Heath won't start doing postseason interviews with players until next week, when the Bulls return from spring break, but you have to think the most likely to leave is freshman guard Gaby Belardo, whose AAU coach said in November he was considering a transfer.
Belardo stuck around for this season, but played only sparingly, scoring a total of five points in 32 minutes of Big East playing time and going 1-for-9 from the field. Heath has since added a transfer point guard in Anthony Crater and has picked up a commitment from a fourth incoming guard in New Jersey's Mike Burwell. Add in incoming freshmen Jordan Dumars and Shaun Noriega, and Belardo isn't likely to see much more playing time, even with the graduation of senior Jesus Verdejo.
Heath isn't likely to have anywhere near the offseason turnover he had after his first season, when five scholarship reserves were granted releases and transferred elsewhere. Two other freshmen on scholarship this past season, forward Eladio Espinosa and point guard Justin Leemow, averaged just 1.4 and 0.9 points per game in Big East play, but played key roles, averaging about 15 minutes per game and combined for 12 starts. There's little reason to think either would seek a transfer elsewhere.