TAMPA — It will be a long offseason for USF point guard Anthony Crater, whose shoulder injury from the final game will require surgery and sideline him for six months.
Crater, a rising senior, is scheduled to have surgery Friday to repair cartilage in his right shoulder, as well as a small bone fracture. His timeline for recovery has him healthy again in mid October, when preseason practice begins.
The night before his injury, Crater was the hero of USF's Big East tournament win against Villanova, scoring twice in the final 30 seconds, including a length-of-the-court drive with 5.1 seconds left that gave the Bulls a 70-69 upset.
Even before the injury, coach Stan Heath was working the recruiting trail, trying to upgrade his point guard play for next season. USF has no experienced point guards behind Crater. Junior Shedrick Haynes and freshman LaVonte Dority played sparingly last season.
USF is in contention for Chipola College's Sam Grooms, a top junior college target who is also considering national powers like North Carolina, Florida and Kansas. Anthony Collins, a prep point guard from Houston, has visited the Bulls and has USF and Baylor as his top choices.
Heath is in Kansas this week for the national junior college championships. One of the guards he'll be watching is Pierre Jackson, a 5-foot-10 sophomore at the College of Southern Idaho. CSI has a 29-4 record with Jackson averaging a team-best 17.9 points and 4.5 assists.
EXPENSIVE TICKETS: For the first time in six bowl trips, USF's athletic department took a slight loss from its trip to Charlotte for the Meineke Car Care Bowl. Bowl expenses exceeded revenues by about $63,000, or about 5 percent of the $1.2 million bowl budget.
As expected, the cost of unsold tickets was a large part of USF's bowl expenses. The bowl required that USF be responsible for an allotment of 12,500 tickets, which amounted to $867,759 in expenses; USF reported $142,668 in revenue from ticket sales and fees.
The Bulls spent more on unsold tickets than they did to transport, lodge and feed their entire bowl contingent for the stay in Charlotte — a combined cost of $461,775. USF got $1.1 million from the Big East for its bowl appearance, plus $116,600 for mileage.
Bowl trips can be much more costly than USF's. Connecticut's trip to the Fiesta Bowl cost the Huskies about $1.66 million, in part due to $2.67 million in unsold tickets.
THIS AND THAT: USF baseball is 7-9 after Tuesday's 6-5 victory at Central Florida, and poor hitting has played a big role in the slow start. The Bulls were hitting .245 as a team going into the game, down from .289 last season, which has offset solid improvements in pitching. USF's staff ERA (even without injured Andrew Barbosa) was 3.28, after a 4.94 mark last season. … Softball is 15-13, with freshmen playing a huge role. Kourtney Salvarola and Chamberlain's Stephanie Medina have eight of the team's 10 home runs, and Pinellas Park's Sara Nevins has been dominant on the mound, with 97 strikeouts and six walks.
Greg Auman can be reached at email@example.com and at (813) 226-3346. Check out his blog at tampabay.com/blogs/bulls and follow him at Twitter.com/gregauman.