2008 South Florida Bulls Basketball Preview
Coach Stan Heath’s South Florida Bulls (12-19 overall, 3-15 Big East) moved from Conference-USA to the Big East three years ago. Since then, they’ve won a total of seven games, which means that they have not yet been to the conference tourney. Despite the fact that this team looks better than last year’s, which finished in 15th-place, they aren’t good enough to move up in the conference.
For the most part, the Bulls’ inside game has been lacking and the departure of center Kentrell Gransberry (16.0 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 1.4 BPG) and his double-doubles has not helped. However, this South Florida club may actually have some frontcourt options with the arrival of freshman forward Gus Gilchrist, who, as soon as the NCAA clears his transfer from Maryland, will definitely have an impact. JUCO transfer Alex Rivas Sanchez has fine rebounding skills, while senior center Mobolaji Ajayi (13.3 MPG, 2.7 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 0.1 APG, 45.5 FG%, 47.4 FT%) may be ready to breakout. Freshman forward Eladio Espinosa was a key member of this year’s national prep school championship team.
As a freshman last season, guard Dominique Jones (35.0 MPG, 17.1 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 2.8 APG, 46.0 FG%, 75.9 FT%) proved to have a hot shot from inside, the perimeter and the foul line. Jones, a fine shooting guard, also has the skills to play point. Junior guard Mike Mercer, a transfer from Georgia, is a knockdown shooter while senior Jesus Verdejo (29.5 MPG, 10.7 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 2.6 APG, 42.6 FG%, 80.3 FT%) would be a much better player if he could put some discipline into his game.
The Bulls have not been to the Big Dance since 1992. This club
has proven that it knows how to lose; now they have to start winning.
Better shooting, tougher play under the boards and some points from
the foul line would all help. Although they have been out of Conference-USA
since the 2005-2006 season, the team still hasn’t been able
to get enough Big East talent to become part of the upper echelon.