Advertisement
  1. Sports

Collins' injury creates questions as USF Bulls' season nears

USF coach Stan Heath says that his team badly needs a shot creator, which he hopes Anthony Collins will supply, whenever he returns.
USF coach Stan Heath says that his team badly needs a shot creator, which he hopes Anthony Collins will supply, whenever he returns.
Published Nov. 6, 2013

TAMPA

During the breaks between the 78 free throws hoisted Monday night, a sparse Sun Dome audience caught a snapshot of the depth Stan Heath has been lauding this preseason.

Though only an exhibition against a Division II foe (Barry), the USF men's 88-53 romp revealed Heath's roster clearly possesses more brawn and ball-handling than it did a season ago. For a change, Heath has numbers. At this stage, he may need every last digit.

The reason sat near the end of the Bulls' bench Monday, in warmups.

Junior PG Anthony Collins, postseason catalyst of the Bulls' NCAA Tournament team two seasons ago, still has swelling in his surgically mended left knee. The removal of the inflamed bursa sac was expected to limit him for only a week of the preseason. The timetable has been stretched more than a month now.

His status for Saturday night's season opener against Tennessee Tech remains anyone's guess, though Heath said on his radio show Tuesday night that Collins was moving much better earlier in the day.

"He can jog, he can run, he can play half-court basketball, but the minute it starts going (full court) he's probably 60 percent of his normal speed," Heath said Monday night, reiterating that Collins has no structural damage to the knee. "So he really can't play up and down that way."

For a team aspiring to open the offensive throttle, Collins' condition is as disconcerting as it is baffling. How long it lingers could determine the trajectory of USF's season, though Heath remained optimistic that Collins could return sooner than later.

Juco transfer Corey Allen Jr. (six points, three assists, two steals, two turnovers) and freshman Josh Heath (five points, three assists, no turnovers) had solid debuts at the point Monday, but the next Division I game either plays will be his first.

And while veterans Vic Rudd and Martino Brock were effective in engineering the break against Barry, the Bulls can ill afford to have them atop the perimeter for long stretches.

If the Bulls hope to make a dent in the American Athletic Conference, they need their reigning two-time assists leader. They need Collins' savvy, sleekness and selflessness. The team that made only 3 of 16 3-point tries Monday needs a shot creator.

"We've got to shoot the ball a lot better. I believe we will," Heath said. "I think getting Collins back will obviously give us a nice big boost — when that time comes.

"I wish I could give you an answer."

POLL POSITION? A victory against eighth-ranked Maryland in Friday's 7 p.m. home opener would represent more than a quality win for the Bulls women's basketball team. It likely would be a historic one.

The Bulls, riding the momentum of a second-round NCAA Tournament berth and a sparkling signing class, received one vote in the Associated Press preseason poll. A win Friday might — just might — propel them into the top 25 for the first time ever.

BULL BITS: The women's soccer team, fresh off last weekend's 4-1 romp of UConn, plays at top-seeded UCF (10-4-5) in Friday's American tourney semifinals. UCF prevailed, 2-1, in the regular-season meeting Sept. 27. … The fifth-seeded men's soccer team (6-3-8) plays at No. 4 Temple in Saturday's American quarterfinals.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Florida State guard M.J. Walker tries to block the shot of Miami guard Dejan Vasiljevic during the second half of their game Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Coral Gables. [BRYNN ANDERSON  |  AP]
    FSU forces 24 turnovers and storms back from a nine-point deficit for its ninth consecutive victory.
  2. Auburn center Austin Wiley guards Florida forward Omar Payne during the first half of their game on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Gainesville. Payne, a freshman out of Montverde Academy, finishes with a career-high 19 points and 11 rebounds for his first double double in college. [MATT STAMEY  |  AP]
    Freshman Omar Payne has a career-high 19 points and 11 rebounds as UF earns its most impressive victory of the season.
  3. He is a Yankee icon. One of baseball's greatest ambassadors. And soon, he will be a Hall of Famer. But did Jeter's reputation exceed his actual value on the field? [GENE J. PUSKAR  |  Associated Press]
    John Romano | The Yankees shortstop might join former teammate Mariano Rivera as the only unanimous Hall of Fame selections, but his defensive abilities left a lot to be desired.
  4. Earlier today• Florida State Seminoles
    Florida State forward Malik Osborne dances with his teammates during player introductions before their game against Virginia on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020, in Tallahassee. [MARK WALLHEISER  |  AP]
    Florida State, in a three-way tie atop the ACC standings, goes on the road Saturday in search of its ninth straight victory.
  5. Florida's Keyontae Johnson, shown here scoring against Arkansas in last season's SEC tournament, is averaging 13 points and 6.8 rebounds this season. [MARK HUMPHREY  |  AP]
    UF looks for an elite win Saturday at home, where it has won five in row, to help strengthen its NCAA Tournament resume.
  6. Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (37) gets beaten by a shot from Tampa Bay Lightning's Nikita Kucherov (86) as Lightning's Steven Stamkos (91) looks on during first-period NHL hockey game action in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Friday, Jan. 17, 2020. [JOHN WOODS  |  AP]
    Tampa Bay pours on the goals with seven total, including two from Nikita Kucherov.
  7. Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Luke Schenn (2) celebrates his goal, the first of the game, along with right wing Nikita Kucherov (86), defenseman Mikhail Sergachev (98) and center Tyler Johnson (9) beating New York Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev (40) during first period action at Amalie Arena on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019 in Tampa. [DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Tampa Bay also reassigned Alex Volkov to AHL Syracuse as Pat Maroon returned to the lineup.
  8. Jason Garrett had success against the Giants as Cowboys coach. Now he will face Dallas as New York's new offensive coordinator. [RON JENKINS  |  AP]
    The recently fired Dallas Cowboys coach stays in the NFC East.
  9. Former White Sox manager Tony La Russa stands with his Baseball Hall of Fame plaque while being honored before a game in Chicago on Aug.  30, 2014. [MATT MARTON  |  AP]
    "There was a toggle switch in the manager’s office and a camera zoomed in on the catcher,” Jack McDowell says of the setup he claims was installed by the Hall of Fame manager.
  10. USF at UCF college basketball and more sports on the air.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement