TAMPA — King High forward Toarlyn Fitzpatrick, the Times' Suncoast Player of the Year as a senior, will meet with USF coach Stan Heath tonight and said he will accept a scholarship to play for the Bulls if one is offered.
"I'm just waiting to hear if they have a scholarship for me, and if they do, then I'll definitely take it," said Fitzpatrick, who signed with Georgia Southern last fall but was granted a release from his letter of intent after a coaching change there. "That's the school I'd like to go to. It's close to home and they play in the Big East."
By all indications, the interest is mutual. Since getting permission to speak with Fitzpatrick, the Bulls have backed off from two forwards they had been recruiting, Daequon Montreal and Glenn Bryant. Fitzpatrick said he also has been contacted by Miami and Tulane since getting his release.
WOMEN: USF is seeking a sixth year of eligibility for center Jessica Lawson, who averaged 10.6 points and 6.7 rebounds as a senior this past season. Lawson was sidelined for two seasons by a knee injury she suffered in 2005 while at California. The NCAA should have a decision on her appeal in the next two weeks.
Baseball: Mike Mooney's 10-inning single drove in the winning run as Florida beat USF 5-4 in Gainesville after scoring two in the ninth to tie it.
'Canes, Irish discuss football series renewal
Miami athletic director Kirby Hocutt wants to renew the football rivalry with Notre Dame, and add a series with Penn State.
"I reached out to their AD (Jack Swarbrick), who expressed the same sentiments, and really that was it," Hocutt told the Palm Beach Post in regard to the series that ended in 1990. "We've had one conversation since then. I hate to lead people to be too optimistic. There are a lot of issues that have to be worked out if they are willing to go the next step."
Any series would likely include home games for each school and games at neutral sites.
A series with Penn State may happen sooner. "We're talking to them about games in 2016 and 2017, but there's no contract agreement," Hocutt said.
FSU gets basketball date at Ohio State
FSU will travel to Columbus, to meet Ohio State in next season's ACC-Big Ten Challenge on Dec. 2, a game that figures to be an early season test for a Seminoles team looking to build on this past season's success. Meanwhile, Michigan State will travel to North Carolina on Dec. 1 for a rematch of their NCAA title meeting from this month, won by UNC 89-72.
More basketball: Oklahoma City high school players Xavier Henry and his brother C.J. have decided to play at Kansas, ESPN reported on its Web site. Xavier Henry signed a letter of intent with Memphis last fall but changed his mind after coach John Calipari left for Kentucky.
Minority hiring report: Women's college basketball is getting good marks in racial diversity for its coaching hires. One reason: The search committees are more diverse. Fourteen of 16 schools received A's for their hires before the 2008-09 season, according to the second hiring report card in women's basketball released by the Black Coaches and Administrators. Twenty-four women's coaches, representing 20 percent of Division I schools, now have coaches of color. While the number of black candidates brought in for interviews dropped (45 percent to 38 from 2006-07 to 2007-08), persons of color accounted for 35 percent of the search committee makeup. That was up from 30 percent last year.
Times staff writer Brian Landman contributed to this report.