Make us your home page
Instagram

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 men's basketball looking for steady progress this season

Is this the year USF becomes a relevant part of the Big East? The question has been asked before, but in four seasons, the Bulls' significance has been limited to a few impressive upsets, scattered among an 11-57 conference record. There has been slow if steady progress, from 1-15 the first season to 3-13, then 3-15 in Stan Heath's first season, then 4-14 last year. With junior G Dominique Jones leading a returning cast and junior C Jarrid Famous the biggest of six key newcomers, Heath is optimistic this is the year his team can take a major leap, especially in what should be a down year for the Big East. "We want to be the team that puts ourselves in the top part of the Big East's regular-season standings," Heath said. "We also have postseason aspirations. We have several new players and we are young, but we feel like we have the ingredients to take a big step forward."

A closer look …

STARTING FAMOUSLY: Famous, a 6-foot-11, 235-pound junior from Westchester (N.Y.) Community College, showed promise and versatility in his USF debut, piling up 20 points, eight rebounds and six assists — with zero turnovers — in a preseason game against Florida Southern.

Famous ran the floor with ease, getting out in front of PG Chris Howard for a crowd-pleasing alley-oop. He showed a presence defensively, with two blocks in the first three minutes.

"I've been pleased with him in practice, but I saw a lot more of him in the game," Heath said. " … He made some great passes, finding guys in double teams, and for the most part, he gave us a presence inside that we really haven't had."

SECOND CHANCE: Heath let senior G Mike Mercer, who had been dismissed in January after his second arrest in four months, return to the team. Mercer, whose season ended with a torn ACL in December, graduated and fulfilled the requirements of a pre-trial intervention program. Mercer scored 17 against Florida Southern, showing few residual effects of his second major knee injury as he showed the same speed and skills in transition.

HERE COMES THE CAVALRY: USF has found recent success with midseason transfers — Kentrell Gransberry, Jesus Verdejo and Gus Gilchrist all joined the Bulls in December after the end of the fall semester. The latest is PG Anthony Crater, a quick, pass-first sophomore who transferred from Ohio State in January and will compete with Howard.

THANKS FOR THE HELP: The Big East didn't do USF any favors to start the conference schedule. The Bulls open at Louisville, then have Notre Dame, at Syracuse and back home for West Virginia — four of the league's top teams in the first two weeks.

USF men's basketball looking for steady progress this season 11/07/09 [Last modified: Saturday, November 7, 2009 8:41pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays' Evan Longoria: "We have all the belief in the world in here"

    Blogs

    The weekend sweep by Texas and four-game overall losing streak has some Rays fans - based on their tweets and emails - questioning the team's ability to make the playoffs and suggesting they might as well trade away their key parts.

  2. What are the odds the Rays trade for Brad Hand or Pat Neshek?

    Blogs

    In each of the last three seasons, the Rays have been sellers at the trade deadline. They shipped away David Price in 2014, got rid of David DeJesus and Kevin Jepsen in 2015 and flipped Matt Moore, Steve Pearce and Brandon Guyer in 2016.

    Padres left-hander Brad Hand has excelled in his two years with the team.
  3. Gerald McCoy cares too much about what you think of him

    The Heater

    Gerald McCoy is right. We are going to miss him when he's gone.

    Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is one of 16 players to record at least five sacks in each of the past five seasons. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  4. Ronde Barber says comments about McCoy 'sensationalized'

    Blogs

    If anyone thinks Ronde Barber was throwing shade at Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, think again.

    "That anyone would assume I would say the best player on the defense isn’t a bad dude is irresponsible and sensationalizing a quote to serve their own means,'' Ronde Barber said.
  5. USA Today sees Bucs as 10-6 wild card team in 2017

    Blogs

    Another day, another national outlet making NFL predictions, and this one is promising for Tampa Bay fans, as USA Today's Nate Davis has the Bucs going 10-6 and making the …

    Bucs DT Gerald McCoy tries to bring down Giants QB Eli Manning in a 2015 game. Tampa Bay and New York are both picked to finish 10-6 in USA Today's preseason predictions, both making the playoffs as wild cards.