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)

USF Bulls men's basketball team still learning, meshing

TAMPA — It has not been the nonconference schedule that men's basketball coach Stan Heath envisioned when he entered this season, hopeful that USF could improve on a 20-win season despite losing its top scorer in NBA first-rounder Dominique Jones.

The most recent drama saw forward Augustus Gilchrist suddenly leave the team for two games then, after an apology to Heath and his teammates, rejoin the team; he will make his return tonight as the Bulls face a tough test at Cleveland State (12-1). Gilchrist has been back since Friday, watching Saturday's loss to James Madison from the bench, and the process of rebuilding his chemistry after the awkward split is ongoing, Heath said.

"I've been pleased. On the court, it's come along very well," Heath said Tuesday. "We're mending, and I think we're moving forward. Everybody is pushing toward a common goal of winning. Off the court, I think that takes a little more time, but I'm more concerned with on the court."

After going 10-2 in nonconference games last year, the Bulls are 6-6, and while all the teams to beat USF have at least eight wins — they're a combined 51-13 — Heath needed wins to build confidence in a team of newcomers, more than close losses to teach them lessons.

"We've slipped up. We have nobody to blame but ourselves," Heath said. "We've got to turn the corner and get back on the right track. With so many new guys, winning will help their psyche. So we're really in need of a win."

Heath has the consolation, or frustration, of knowing that all the losses have been by eight points or fewer, and that his team held solid leads in most of its losses.

"We've played everybody wire-to-wire with great opportunities to win, and yet we've come up short," he said. "It tells me one thing, that we're not far off. We've got to fix it so we can win these games."

As was the case last season, Heath doesn't seem to have confidence to give his reserve guards significant minutes. Shooters Mike Burwell and Shaun Noriega played five and nine minutes, respectively, against James Madison on Saturday, which is a lot compared to his backup point guards. Junior Shedrick Haynes had a three-minute cameo, while freshman LaVonte Dority didn't make it on the court.

"There's a lot of new guys who haven't played at this level before. The intensity level and focus of the game makes it very challenging," he said. "I'm not pleased with our bench. I want to get more out of them. I think we can get more out of them. I think guys like Shaun and Mike especially can step up and do more for us."

The first Big East games won't be easy. After a trip to Seton Hall on Tuesday, the Bulls go to No. 4 Connecticut on Dec. 31, then return home to face No. 8 Villanova on Jan. 6, followed by Louisville, which could be ranked by the time it comes to town.

THIS AND THAT: Among the gifts USF's football players get for playing in the Meineke Car Care Bowl is a Bulova watch and rolling duffel bag. … USF is offering students a package for the Charlotte bowl: $130 includes bus transportation, two nights in a hotel and a game ticket.

Greg Auman can be reached at and at (813) 226-3346. Check out his blog at and follow him at

USF Bulls men's basketball team still learning, meshing 12/21/10 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 5:49pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bucs start strong vs. Jaguars


    JACKSONVILLE — On his worst pass of Thursday's preseason game against the Jaguars, Jameis Winston threw a ball from the seat of his pants toward the end zone and it appeared to be intercepted by safety Barry Church.

    Doug Martin gets the Bucs’ only touchdown of the first half on a 2-yard run, squeaking past Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith in the first quarter.
  2. Rays journal: Archer has strong outing, with two mistakes

    The Heater

    TORONTO — Two pitches RHP Chris Archer didn't execute are the ones that stood out Thursday as Josh Donaldson hit them out of the park. But the two solo home runs aside, Archer turned in a sterling outing that went atop the pile of good pitching the Rays keep wasting.

    Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) works during the first inning. [Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP]
  3. Tim Tebow continues wowing fans as he wraps up bay area games


    CLEARWATER — Tracey Fritzinger has seen Tim Tebow play baseball a few times this year. The 40-year-old St. Petersburg resident went to two of his games against the Tampa Yankees, along with Joy, her little sister from Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

    St. Lucie Mets outfielder Tim Tebow, middle, hangs out in the dugout during the first inning of Thursday night’s game against the Clearwater Threshers at Spectrum Field.
  4. Rays vs. Mariners, 7:10 Friday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Mariners

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun, 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Austin Pruitt (50) in the dugout during the ninth inning of the game between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays on Opening Day at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, April 2, 2017. The Tampa Bay Rays beat the New York Yankees 7-3.
  5. Rays waste repeated opportunities in 5-3 loss to Blue Jays (w/video)

    The Heater

    TORONTO — The signs of frustration were readily apparent as the Rays trudged toward home Thursday after another game littered with squandered opportunities evolved into another wasted day in the wild-card race with a 5-3 loss to the Blue Jays.

    Rays reliever Tommy Hunter reacts as Justin Smoak circles the bases after hitting a go-ahead two-run home run in the eighth.