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USF men enter preseason with one of nation’s most experienced rosters

The Bulls return more than 90 percent of their scoring, rebounding and assists from last season’s club
USF 7-foot sophomore Michael Durr (4) is among five returning starters for the Bulls in the 2019-20 season. [MONICA HERNDON | Times] [MONICA HERNDON  |  Tampa Bay Times]
USF 7-foot sophomore Michael Durr (4) is among five returning starters for the Bulls in the 2019-20 season. [MONICA HERNDON | Times] [MONICA HERNDON | Tampa Bay Times]
Published Sep. 26, 2019

TAMPA ― Shortly before the USF men’s first practice of the preseason Tuesday, Brian Gregory was asked about the lofty expectations surrounding his 2019-20 team.

"You've got to embrace that, it's part of the process," the Bulls' third-year coach said. "It's a lot better than having people think you stink."

Indeed, that lingering stench has been supplanted by seasoning. Only 2 1/2 years after inheriting a laughingstock program with an emaciated roster, Gregory possesses one of the nation’s most experienced teams.

RELATED: Magazines, Andy Katz give USF men preseason props

USF returns all five starters from last season’s 24-14 club that won the College Basketball Invitational (CBI). The 178 combined starts it returns from last season are the most of any American Athletic Conference team.

“Heading into this point last year, we weren’t sure exactly where we’d be,” Gregory said. “We knew we were gonna compete, we knew we were gonna play really hard, we knew we’d be a physical team, but we were not sure where that would take us. Now we kind of have an idea.”

The Bulls retained 92.4 percent of their scoring, and 94.6 percent of their rebounding and assists, from the 2018-19 club. In terms of returning production, USF is fourth nationally in all three categories, according to data provided by the school.

RELATED: USF men’s hoops to host UConn, Memphis, Wichita State in January

In the de facto free-agency era of college hoops, all are staggering figures. Whether they translate to the program’s fourth NCAA Tournament berth remains to be seen. But as Gregory indicated, it beats the alternative.

“We have experience in terms of how we want to do things, how we want to practice,” he said.

“And then as we raise the standards, guys have to understand the daily price that they have to pay is raised as well. There’s no discounts in where we want to get to, you’ve got to pay the full price.”

Contact Joey Knight at Follow @TBTimes_Bulls.


  1. USF wide receiver Randall St. Felix (84) and the Bulls have only one open date in the 2020 season. USF's complete 2020 schedule was finalized Tuesday.
  2. Former USF coach Charlie Strong (left), greeting Alabama coach Nick Saban at a 2017 summer football camp on the Bulls campus, reportedly has joined Saban's staff in an analyst role.
  3. Connecticut's Megan Walker, left, drives past USF's Shae Leverett during the second half of the Huskies' 67-47 triumph Sunday at the Yuengling Center. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)
  4. Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma brings his team to the Yuengling Center for the final time as an American Athletic Conference member today.
  5. USF coach Brian Gregory, pacing the sideline during a January game at the Yuengling Center, watched his team score only 11 first-half points in Saturday's 56-48 loss to Tulsa. [OCTAVIO JONES | TAMPA BAY TIMES]
  6. USF interim coach Jess Moore watches her team from the dugout on the opening day of the St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational at Eddie C. Moore Complex in Clearwater.
  7. Florida quarterback Kyle Trask (11) reacts after scoring a touchdown during the second half of the Orange Bowl against Virginia on Dec. 30 in Miami Gardens.
  8. Bishop McLaughlin alumnus Carson Ragsdale, a clutch reliever for USF two seasons ago, returns after missing a season due to Tommy John surgery.
  9. Former USF quarterbacks B.J. Daniels, left, and Quinton Flowers, right, could square off when Seattle plays host to Tampa Bay in an XFL game Saturday.
  10. USF's Michael Durr blocks a shot attempt from Houston's Justin Gorham during the first half Wednesday in Tampa.
  11. ESPN films game action  on the final day of the St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational at Eddie C. Moore. Fields in Clearwater last year.
  12. In USF's four conference victories this season, junior Justin Brown (13) has averaged 10.5 points and 7.5 rebounds.