TAMPA On more than one night during the worst winter of his life, Anthony Collins would sit in front of the TV in his off-campus apartment, living vicariously through the college or NBA guards slashing and spotting up on the screen.Sometimes, he'd break down in tears, not so much from the throbbing knee but the aching psyche. Only two years after his burst and ball distribution had propelled the Bulls into unprecedented NCAA Tournament realms, the point guard couldn't walk the ball upcourt without wincing.His left knee never seemed the same after summer surgery to remove an inflamed bursa sac. Then, it developed tendinitis. After only eight games last season, coach Stan Heath shut Collins down."I'm sad to say there were a bunch of sad, crying nights, just because basketball is what I do and the only thing I've known my whole life," Collins recalled Tuesday. "You ask anybody about me, that's basically all I do with my life. I'm watching it or playing it, video games … just everything surrounded by it."On Tuesday afternoon, Collins, 22, sat at the end of the Muma Basketball Center. One hand held a Muscle Milk, the other endless possibilities.Still only a junior after being granted a medical hardship waiver for last season, Collins says he'll enter the first full-squad preseason workout of the Orlando Antigua era 100 percent physically. For the first time since he can recall, he's not limited on the court in any way."I don't think since I've been in college I've been (100 percent)," said Collins, sixth on USF's career list with 402 assists. "I think my freshman year, I messed up my finger or something. Then my sophomore year, I played with like something wrong with my foot. So I think for the first time I actually get to play (full strength)."True to what team doctors and trainers told him, the knee healed on its own, with no further procedures required. Older brother J.D. , a personal trainer who played at West Virginia, actually moved in with him to help him press through the bleak days. Collins said he finally was cleared for basketball drills roughly six months ago, at about the same time Antigua was hired to replace Heath.That also was approximately the same time several teammates exited the program in rapid succession. Collins, one of five scholarship players remaining from last season's team, said transferring crossed his mind, but only briefly. Besides, sitting out a second straight season — which likely would have been required per NCAA transfer rules — was out of the question."I like Coach Heath and I'm a very loyal person, but at the end of the day, the school has been loyal to me; I thought about that," said Collins, set to graduate with a communications degree next semester."Then after sitting and talking with Coach O, (assistant) Coach ( Rod ) Strickland , I figured I wanted to build a relationship with them because they could help me be a better person and a better basketball player, just teaching me how to get to the next level because that's what I want to do. And they've coached players who have done that."He hints Bulls fans will see another dimension to his game. To preserve his 6-foot-11/2, 172-pound frame, which has taken a pounding or two in the lane, Collins has developed a mid-range jumper to complement his penetration.And to whom will he dish? Hard to say for sure. Collins, two-guard Corey Allen Jr. and power forward Chris Perry are the only Bulls currently eligible who have played in a Division I game.At the dawn of a season that can't arrive soon enough, USF's resident elder statesman finds himself in the middle of a rebuilding phase. Beats being on the sideline of it."My thoughts on the team is, we are young, but as long as we play hard and compete, anything can happen on any given night," Collins said. "Just like my freshman year, nobody felt we could win, but as a team collectively … we wanted to win. It's all about your will and playing together." to the victors …: Three men's soccer players were recognized by the American Athletic Conference following their historic 1-0 overtime win Saturday night at Connecticut.The triumph was USF's first against the Huskies in 11 meetings. The Bulls' triumph against UConn in last year's inaugural conference tournament final technically was considered a draw, with USF prevailing in the penalty-kick phase.Senior captain Edwin Moalosi , who scored the winner in the second minute of overtime, made the league's weekly honor roll. Junior Spasoje Stefanovic , who recorded three saves in the shutout, was named goalkeeper of the week. Senior defender Wesley Charpie , a former Tarpon Springs High star, was named defensive player of the week. odds and ends: The Bulls' 17-14 football victory against UConn on Sept. 19, an ESPN Friday night game, drew a 1.0 rating with 1.36 million viewers, according to Sports Media Watch. For context, the previous night's ESPN game, Auburn-Kansas State, drew a 2.3 rating (3.85 million viewers). … Speaking of Friday nights, USF's 2022 game at BYU, announced Monday as part of a home-and-home deal, will be played on a Friday (Sept. 23, 2022). Contact Joey Knight at email@example.com. 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