South Florida Bulls
2012-2013 Overall Rank: #52
Conference Rank: #8 Big East
South Florida Team Page
South Florida’s stellar defense helped them win a couple games in the NCAA Tournament last season. Coach Stan Heath has really done a great job with the Bulls and his success should continue. This group has some holes to fill and questions to answers, but the recruiting classes remain solid. By March USF should be right back in the NCAA Tournament picture, but everybody on the team has to do a better job of taking care of the ball or the Bulls will be off to the NIT, or worse.
2011-12 Record: 22-14, 12-6
2011-12 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Stan Heath
Coach Record: 70-87 at South Florida, 182-164 overall
The Bulls lose three starters, but they also lose a couple point guards. Blake Nash and LaVonte Dority lost out on the starting point guard spot last season and both have left the program. Nash is headed to Texas Tech and Dority ended up at Valparaiso. Nash was around for the entire 2011-2012 campaign and was one of just three players on the team who had a positive assist-to-turnover ratio. Dority left after playing just nine games, seven of which he started. Starting guard Hugh Robertson provided a big rebounding presence on the perimeter, but was not a great scorer. The frontcourt loses leading scorer Augustus Gilchrist and Ron Anderson Jr. Gilchrist’s 9.5 points per game were a little disappointing, but the Bulls had a very balanced offensive attack. However, Gilchrist shot below 40 percent from the floor and that is a bad number for a 6-10 forward. But Gilchrist was still the best scorer on the team throughout his senior season and a fine defender in the paint. Anderson was much more efficient in the paint and did plenty of work on the glass. Losing those two starters in the frontcourt will make the Bulls scramble for depth in the paint.
Kore White, a senior transfer from Florida Atlantic, could step into a starting role if Coach Heath wants to stick with a big lineup. However, he may not have the depth to do so this time around unless freshmen Zach LeDay and Jordan Omogbehin are ready to see some quality minutes. White started his collegiate career at Marshall, before ending up at FAU and, finally, USF. The 6-8 senior has the size and toughness the Bulls need in the paint. LeDay is more of a big small forward who can get up and down the floor and hit the long ball than a traditional power forward, but at 223 pounds he can hold his own in the paint. Omogbehin is an intriguing prospect down the line, but the 7-3 Nigerian likely needs more time to develop his game. For now, he can at least be a force on the defensive end. A trio of guards should add to the overall depth of this team. Javontae Hawkins had a great showing over the summer and could be a great shooter off of the bench right away. Martino Brock is an experienced transfer from South Alabama who averaged 14.2 points per game two years ago for the Jaguars. Musa Abdul-Aleem will be the backup point guard from day one, but he could be much more than that. The junior college transfer is a noted defender and brings a tough 6-5, 221 pound frame to the backcourt. He can use that strength to get to the basket and his experience could be a steadying force on the perimeter whether he is running the point or providing a much needed secondary ball handler to a team that desperately needs somebody who can keep things under control.
Who to Watch:
Anthony Collins’ turnover problems last year were certainly understandable. He came into the season as a freshman who was expected to see a few minutes here and there. He earned the starting point guard role and USF could hardly live without him on the floor. He easily led the Bulls with 32.7 minutes per game and that experience will be a huge benefit for Collins as he continues to develop his game. He did a good job finding his teammates, dishing out 5.2 assists per contest. His 3.4 turnovers should improve with experience. Collins was not expected to be much of a scorer, but he got to the basket and finished with great consistency. If he can work on his outside shot, Collins could be in for a high scoring sophomore season. More importantly, Collins needs to keep playing great defense and work on the turnovers. With the influx of talent on the wings, Jawanza Poland and Shaun Noriega will have competition for minutes. Poland will finish around the basket and is a decent rebounder for a 6-4 guard, but he is not much of a shooter. Noriega started 11 games during his junior campaign and is mostly a shooter. The Bulls will at least need him to be a three-point specialist off of the bench to help provide an offensive spark when things get a little stagnant on offense.
The most prolific three-point shooters on the team last year could end up being the starting frontcourt this year. Last season Victor Rudd Jr. started at the small forward position. At 6-9 and 229 pounds, his ability to shoot over small defenders and run past bigger defenders proved to be a very valuable asset to the offense. Rudd is simply an all-around fine player who can do a bit of everything. However, the lack of depth in the frontcourt, and the influx of talent on the perimeter, likely means Rudd will be playing at the four spot more this season. His offensive versatility will be just as valuable, but he will need to work harder on the glass. Toarlyn Fitzpatrick is another forward who can shoot the ball. He actually knocked down 41.2 percent of his three-point attempts. But Fitzpatrick does not neglect the duties of a traditional big man. He is the best rebounder on the team and a fine shot blocker. With Gilchrist gone, it is Fitzpatrick who must step up and become the main defensive threat in the paint. The Bulls have options, but some of the new faces will have to be ready to contribute right away. Fortunately, Coach Heath brought in some experienced newcomers who should have little trouble adjusting to life in the Big East. That should result in another trip to the bubble for South Florida.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT
Projected Starting Five:
Anthony Collins, Sophomore, Guard, 9.0 points per game
Jawanza Poland, Senior, Guard, 8.0 points per game
Musa Abdul-Aleem, Sophomore, Guard, DNP last season
Victor Rudd, Junior, Forward, 9.3 points per game
Toarlyn Fitzpatrick, Senior, Forward, 8.0 points per game
Madness 2012 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#114 Javontae Hawkins