Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Q&A with new USF Bulls assistant Eric Skeeters

USF men's basketball coach Stan Heath has completed his staff with the hiring of assistants Eric Skeeters and Jeremy Cox. Times staff writer Greg Auman talked to both Monday. First is Skeeters, who comes to USF after five years at Towson, where he built a reputation as a top recruiter.

GA: For starters, just wanted to ask how this came about, how you got connected with Coach Heath?

ES: I've known Coach Heath since his days at Michigan State. His year at Kent State (one of six losses was to a Youngstown State team on which Skeeters was an assistant) … though he went on to win 22 more after that. That's when we really made a closer connection. After that game, every time I see him on the road, in recruiting, during the year, it was one of those things in the fraternity of coaches.

GA: When you were at Towson, you beat USF on a couple of kids — first a power forward named Denard Abraham in 2004, then in the last two years, guard Vernon Carr and forward Isaiah Philmore. How'd you pull that off?

ES: (Three) kids that visited USF actually signed with us. The thing about all three of those guys is they would have been great at either place. Two of the three for us were home — Philmore and Abraham (both from Maryland).

GA: What is the difference recruiting to a big conference like the Big East as opposed to how you sold kids on playing at Towson?

ES: To be honest with you: Tampa, USF, Big East. They're great things. And obviously Coach Heath has won a national championship (as an assistant). To play for a guy who's won it all, who's been to the pinnacle … he's been to three Final Fours, won a national championship, and made it to the final eight as a head coach, has been very successful in the SEC. It's just a matter of time for us to get it done here.

GA: You're a Baltimore guy, and there's a lot of basketball talent in the Baltimore area. This team has Gus Gilchrist and Chris Howard from that area …

ES: It's funny. ESPN The Magazine did an article and the most NBA players per capita were from PG (Prince George's) County, Maryland. It wasn't Chicago, wasn't Detroit, wasn't New York, wasn't L.A. That talent is so rich in that area, so fertile that you can get into those nooks and crannies, just like the state of Florida. Think about Tracy McGrady. In June 1996, he wasn't even in the top 50 in Florida. In June 1997 he was a lottery pick. There's nooks and crannies of players in this state, where if we can do a good job here in this state and be able to get into areas like Maryland, Baltimore, D.C. … This is a great place to play. We can go play at Connecticut, go into Chicago to play DePaul, to the (Madison Square) Garden in the (Big East) tournament, but we're coming back to Tampa, Florida.

GA: What are your first impressions of the players you'll have this coming season?

ES: No. 1, you've got to talk about Dominique (Jones). I've seen Gus (Gilchrist) a lot in AAU, at Maryland, and what he's done here. In talking to Coach Heath about guys sitting out, (Anthony) Crater coming from Ohio State, with all the guys on the roster, if you can keep them healthy, we have a chance to be a legitimate contender in the Big East this year. You put things together — Gus staying healthy, Chris (Howard) having a good year, Dominique having a good year, Crater coming in and being a good contributor. I haven't learned everybody here yet. And the big thing is staying healthy.

GA: Have you recruited much in the state of Florida at previous schools?

ES: When I was at Youngstown State, I signed (point guard) Jon Mends out of Carol City. He was first-team all-Miami-Dade.

GA: One guy you knew on this USF staff before you got here is video coordinator Terrelle Woody, who also went to Woodlawn High in Baltimore. Did that help, having someone else you could ask about the program?

ES: I really didn't talk to Terrelle. I totally forgot he was here in the process of talking to Coach Heath, interviewing, talking on the phone. Terrelle called me when I was coming down for my interview, and I was like "I should have called you.' We finally connected when I got down here for an interview. He came out in '89 and I came out in '86, so Terrelle is a young buck, was like a freshman (when he was a senior). We haven't really kept in contact, but I'd see him on the road when he was with (the AAU's) D.C. Assault.

Q&A with new USF Bulls assistant Eric Skeeters 06/16/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 16, 2009 6:49pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Matt Baker's takeaways from Florida State-Louisville


    1. One of the many hard-to-believe stats about FSU's underperforming defense: DE Brian Burns led all freshmen nationally with 9 ½ sacks last year; his first one this season came midway through the second quarter Saturday.

    TALLAHASSEE, FL - OCTOBER 21: Quarterback Lamar Jackson #8 of the Louisville Cardinals runs the ball into the endzone for a touchdown during their game against the Florida State Seminoles at Doak Campbell Stadium on October 21, 2017 in Tallahassee, Florida. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images) 775042617
  2. Late fumble, field goal send Florida State to another loss


    TALLAHASSEE — Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher didn't have an explanation for the turning point in Saturday's 31-28 last-second loss to Louisville.

    Louisville's Lamar Jackson gets past Florida State's Matthew Thomas to score in the first quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, in Tallahassee Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon) FLSC102
  3. Bucs-Bills: Tampa Bay's fatal habit of falling behind


    TAMPA — Okay, all you road scholars, why do the Bucs keep falling behind in games not played at Raymond James Stadium?

    Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) recovers a fumble during the first half of an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017.
  4. Nicked-up Lightning vs. Penguins tonight



  5. What we've learned from the Bucs' and Bills' playoff droughts


    Is it possible for the Buccaneers and Bills to be any farther off the NFL's radar? You get the feeling schedule-makers didn't think twice about putting this one down for 1 p.m. Sunday — the let's-hope-no-one-notices time slot.

    [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]