USF hoops coaches out visiting top recruits
USF's basketball recruiting efforts shift to another gear today, as it's the first day NCAA coaches can make personal visits to see recruits this school year. Bulls coach Stan Heath took full advantage of the window, posting on Twitter.com that he intended to make visits the very first minute he could.
"Bulls coaches getting ready for 1st home/school visit tonight at 12:01a.m.," he wrote Tuesday.
Where are the Bulls coaches today? We can confirm a few familiar names and add a few new ones to the pool of potential future Bulls.
-- Assistant coach Reggie Hanson was in Tallahassee this morning to see junior college forward Marvell Waithe, the 6-foot-8 recruit said, and he expected USF and other schools like Arkansas and Alabama to watch him work out in the gym on Wednesday night.
-- USF is in the final four schools for Trae Golden, a 6-foot-2 combo guard from the Atlanta suburb of Powder Springs, Ga., according to Powder Springs coach Mike Thompson. Thompson said his other final schools are Tennessee, Georgia and Virginia -- Vols coaches had just left the Powder Springs campus when I reached Thompson on Wednesday afternoon, and Golden is expected to visit Tennessee's campus this weekend. USF is working to lineup a visit, Thompson said, adding that Bulls coaches are due to visit Golden on Tuesday.
-- We told you last month about 6-foot-10 center Waverly Austin, but he won't be playing at Maine Central Institute this fall, instead enrolling at Heat Academy, a prep school in Martinsville, Va. USF is looking at another player at MCI, 6-7 small forward Tyshawn Bell, who said he will be visiting USF's campus on the weekend of Sept. 19. Bell has an offer from USF and has the Bulls in his final four, along with Georgetown, Oklahoma State and Siena. He said he'll likely visit Georgetown and Oklahoma State before making a decision. Bell, who is from Delaware, played on the same AAU team as Austin and knows Bulls assistant Eric Skeeters, who recruited him as an assistant at Towson last year.
MCI coach Dave Campbell said USF had asked about visiting Bell early this morning. "They wanted to do that here," he said. "I'm not getting up at 12:01. That's overboard. That's overkill for me."
-- Austin, by the way, texted Wednesday to say he's down to USF and Cincinnati as his final two schools.
-- USF had been in the mix for Justin Jackson, a 6-foot-8 forward from Orlando's Montverde Academy, but he's since transferred to Jacksonville's Arlington Country Day school and has also committed to Cincinnati. USF has a "high interest" in another player at Montverde, according to coach Kevin Sutton. His name is Haukur Palsson, and he's a 6-foot-6 guard from Iceland. That first name is pronounced HUGH-ker, and Sutton said Skeeters is recruiting him for USF. He played on Iceland's national basketball team and is good enough to show up on Eurobasket.com -- Sutton said it's still very early in the recruiting process for Palsson, who has drawn interest from West Virginia, Florida State and Central Florida as well.
-- One more name to share: Cleveland Melvin, a 6-7 forward from Notre Dame Prep in Fitchburg, Mass., where former Bulls guard Gaby Belardo prepped and point guard Chris Howard briefly attended. Notre Dame coach Ryan Hurd said USF is in the mix for Melvin, who he calls "a big wing that attacks the rim" and is drawing interest from USF, Connecticut, Seton Hall, TCU and Missouri. Melvin is from Baltimore, so he's another guy with good ties to Skeeters -- Hurd said he expects USF to visit "in the near future."
Lots of names and lots of offers here, and we'll continue to sort out USF's recruiting board and who the priorities might be for Heath's three available scholarships.