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Men's basketball: For now, all Bulls on board



He's still struggling to differentiate between Fowler and Fletcher, let alone remember the passcode to his office. New home? Orlando Antigua's only real address these days is the Muma Basketball Center.

"It's still a whirlwind," USF's new men's coach said.

Yet for now, stability presides at the center of it. Antigua may have lost his sense of direction a time or two in his new environment, but he apparently has lost no players.

That includes PG Anthony Collins. Amid speculation the Bulls' sleek veteran is pondering a transfer in the wake of former coach Stan Heath's disimissal, Antigua said Wednesday that Collins has shined in the Bulls' inaugural workouts with the new staff.

"He's been great in the workouts, going really hard, getting his conditioning better," Antigua told reporters Wednesday. "I just think he's a heck of a talent. Just hope to keep pushing him and help him keep working."

Only one player -- Heath's son, Josh -- has exited since Heath's dismissal, but even that was before Antigua was hired. While some roster turnover is conceivable once the semester ends later this month, Antigua said the handful of preliminary workouts have been encouraging.

"What I can tell you is, the last few days we've been able to work with them...they've been great," Antigua said.

"They've been energetic, they've been into everything that we're doing, and I appreciate that. So hopefully they're seeing that even in that short period of time, they've gotten better."

Collins, the lone holdover from USF's 2012 NCAA Tournament team, missed all of conference play last season due to complications from summer surgery to remove an inflamed bursa sac from his left knee.

Antigua didn't elaborate on Collins physical progress, but said, "I think he's got a bright future."

Meantime, Antigua's new assistants, younger brother Oliver and 17-year NBA veteran PG Rod Strickland, also sat down briefly with reporters Wednesday. Some highlights:

* The Antigua brothers concurred USF will try to sign at least one player during the NCAA's spring signing period, which began Wednesday. "Everything is on the table: transfers, jucos, high school kids, best available," Oliver Antigua said.

"At this point, when you get the job so late, it's very important that you don't do a knee-jerk reaction...but you try to find good pieces that can fit. So that's the hardest part." 

* Strickland, who served on John Calipari's staffs at Memphis and Kentucky following the end of his NBA career, said he was taken aback by the quality of USF's facilities.

"I don't know if I should say this but I was shocked," he said. "And just shocked because I didn't know. ... I walked in and was like, 'Wow.'

* Orlando Antigua, who spent the past five seasons as a Kentucky assistant, said any potential Wildcats-USF series is far down the line. "I'm sure somewhere down the line that may be a conversation to have," he said.

"The way (Calipari) has been with his former assistants, he doesn't like to play them if he has a choice. But if it benefits the program then he's willing to do it."

* Oliver Antigua said recruiting USF's backyard is a major priority. "Very important," he said. "Tons of talent in the next few classes. We've already reached out to the top players and the coaches. It's going to be a priority."

[Last modified: Wednesday, April 16, 2014 4:34pm]


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