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October 3, 2013
Preview - Men's Basketball
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The 2013-2014 men's basketball season is upon us and there are high expectations entering this season as Coach Stan Heath enters with a retooled roster and staff. Heath made some staff changes in the offseason and put together a decorated recruiting class that will make an immediate impact as the Bulls look to rebound and return to the dance after missing it last season.
Last year, the Bulls went 12-19 (3-15) in the final year of the Big East. The team struggled throughout the year without a big time center in the middle of the court and star players like Toarlyn Fitzpatrick played out of position for most of the season, hurting both the offense and the defense.
The Bulls averaged just 58 PPG last year, shooting 39% while they allowed 62 PPG, shooting 42%. USF was able to play well on defense, but they just didn't have anything on offense to help their cause. USF shot 69% from the free throw line, shot 31% from the 3-point range, and were out-rebounded 32 to 36 last season, showing again how badly they were undermanned inside the paint without a legit center to start every game for the Bulls.
USF enters a new conference this season, the AAC, but will face powers like Connecticut, Louisville, and newcomers like Memphis, that will provide a challenge. If the young Bulls are ready to prove what they can do, USF should be very competitive in this league. Let's run through the roster and see what they bring to the show.
No. 1 - Musa Abdul-Aleem - 6'5" 221 lbs. - Junior - Guard - Atlanta, GA (WD Muhammed HS) (Georgia Perimeter College)
No. 4 Corey Allen Jr. - 6'1" 147 lbs. - Junior - Guard - St. Louis, MO (Ritenow HS) (Mt. San Antonio College)
No. 0 Martino Brock - 6'5" 205 lbs. - Senior - Guard - Memphis, TN (Maine Central Institute) (S. Alabama)
No. 24 - Dre'Kalo Clayton - 6'6" 275 lbs. - Freshman - Forward - Orlando, FL (Maynard Evans HS)
No. 11 - Anthony Collins - 6'1" 175 lbs. - Junior - Guard - Houston, TX (Westbury Christian School)
No. 5 - John Egbunu - 6'10" 249 lbs. - Freshman - Center - Ft. Walton Beach, FL (Ft. Walton HS)
No. 23 - Javontate Hawkins - 6'5" 202 lbs. - Sophomore - Guard - Flint, MI (Huntington Prep)
No. 10 - Josh Heath - 6'2" 166 lbs. - Freshman - Tampa, FL (Tampa Prep)
No. - Zach LeDay - 6'7" 245 lbs. - Sophomore - The Colony, TX (The Colony HS)
No. 15 - Shemiye McLendon - 6'3" - Redshirt junior - Guard - Vero Beach, FL (IMG Academy) (Hofstra)
No. 35 - Jordan Omogbehin - 7'3" 330 lbs. - Redshirt sophomore - Center - Lagos, Nigeria (Atlantic Shores Christian Academy)
No. 23 - Chris Perry - 6'8" 241 lbs. - Freshman - Forward/Center - Bartow, FL (Bartow Senior HS)
No. 2 - Victor Rudd Jr. - 6'9" 229 lbs. - Redshirt senior - Forward - Los Angeles, CA (Finlay Prep, NV) (Arizona State University)
No. 30 - Bryon "Bo" Zeigler - 6'6" 180 lbs. - Freshman - Guard/Forward - Detroit, MI (Community HS)
Projected starting lineup:
Center: John Egbunu
Last year was disappointing for the Bulls after the year before they reached the NCAA tournament. Many pre-season polls are predicting a bad finish in the new AAC conference and there is reason to worry in league play. Facing Louisville, Temple, Memphis, and Uconn give the Bulls huge challenges to face throughout the year, but I'm confident they will finish better than 10th place. This is a very talent, although young, roster that Coach Heath has. For one of the first times (if ever) he has a big time center and depth on the front line that will improve the USF defense and rebounding. He also has depth at point guard and will be able to push the temp of the offense with the skilled wing players he has. I expect this team to win over 15 games and battle for an NCAA spot (NIT if not). This should be a fun year to watch at the Sun Dome.