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USF men’s basketball stock on the rise with David Collins’ return

National pundits peg the Bulls as bona fide AAC, NCAA tourney contenders in 2020-21.
USF rising senior guard David Collins (0), shooting over Wichita State guard Tyson Etienne (1) during a game at the Yuengling Center in January, recently announced he is remaining with the Bulls for another season after exploring his NBA options.
USF rising senior guard David Collins (0), shooting over Wichita State guard Tyson Etienne (1) during a game at the Yuengling Center in January, recently announced he is remaining with the Bulls for another season after exploring his NBA options. [ Times ]
Published Jun. 24, 2020

After carefully assessing the market, aspiring investor David Collins determined the value of his stock could increase over time.

Hence the reason the business finance major — and USF’s dribble-penetration extraordinaire — opted to remain with the Bulls for his final season after consulting roughly a half-dozen NBA front-office types.

“A lot of (the feedback) was stuff I knew, but it’s like you’re hearing it directly from the people you’re trying to get to, so it’s beneficial,” Collins said in a phone interview Tuesday. “I just know I have to raise my percentages, just become more efficient as a player, dish out more assists, things like that.”

Related: USF basketball standout David Collins remaining with Bulls for final season

That business decision bodes well for all invested in USF’s program. If the current projections play out, the stock of Collins and his team will climb steadily over the next several months.

Talk about your Bulls market. Collins’ recent decision, combined with the expected return of power forward Alexis Yetna from a knee injury and an influx of promising talent, has some prominent national pundits tapping USF as a bona fide NCAA Tournament contender in 2021.

“David Collins’ decision to return to school makes South Florida a legitimate (NCAA) contender,” CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein said. “If the Bulls are healthy, they’re a top-tier team in the American (Athletic) Conference.”

Fellow veteran college hoops analyst Andy Katz offered a similar take.

“If they are healthy — 100-percent healthy — there’s no reason why USF can’t be a top-five AAC team,” Katz said in an e-mail. “The departures at Cincinnati, Memphis, Houston and UConn leaving for the Big East leaves a void USF can surely fill.”

Collins, last season’s top scorer (13.7 points per game) and top returning perimeter defender (157 career steals), is among four returning starters from last winter’s snake-bitten 14-17 club.

Point guard Laquincy Rideau is the only departing first-teamer, but junior Xavier Castaneda — who made 15 starts last season — is back. Combo guard Caleb Murphy, USF’s first four-star signee of the Rivals era, also comes aboard.

In the frontcourt, 7-foot junior Michael Durr, arguably last season’s most improved player (6.7 points per game, 6.1 rebounds per game, 23 blocks), is back. Perhaps more significantly, so is Yetna, the 2019 AAC Freshman of the Year who is expected to be full-go when preseason drills commence.

Complementing that pair will be 6-foot-8 Iowa State transfer Luke Anderson, whose shooting touch could make him a difficult matchup at the stretch-four position.

The Bulls are also hopeful 6-8, 245-pound Mississippi State transfer Prince Oduro — a prep school teammate of Collins — receives an NCAA waiver allowing him to play this season.

“I feel like this senior year could be one of the biggest seasons at USF,” Collins said. “All the expectations we had for last year, this year we have even more expectations.”