Usually these sort of things are supposed to go up concurrently. Ken over at the Voodoo Five posted his bit earlier this morning. I am just now getting round to copying mind over from Gmail now. (very professional). On the docket, how the Stan Heath experience is working out, the slow and steady growth and the magical virtues of having a guy on your team named Jawanza. All that and more after the jump.
1 Dominique Jones has left the Bulls program. By the looks of it he took most of the offense with him. Who is attempting to step into his role as the go to guy.
Augustus Gilchrist has been the guy who's stepped up after his three game sabbatical in the middle of the season. Over the last three games, he has gone for 21 against UConn, 16 against Villanova, and 25 Sunday against Louisville. At 6'10, he has a great skill set, and is a matchup problem for most posts that go against him. He can shoot the ball anywhere on the court, and he's our 2nd best three point shooter behind Shaun Noriega.
2 USF has shown reasonably well in the last three games against UConn, Villanova and UofL what has been keeping the bulls in those games.
Improved play from Anthony Crater at the point. I don't know if being benched against UConn lit a fire under him, but he has been great distributing the ball the past couple of games. Crater has averaged over 7 assists a game, including a 10 assist game on Sunday. The ball movement from not just Crater but all the guards has been the best that we've seen all year. This is such a young team that it took them almost half the season to figure each other out.
3 Three years into the Stan Heath experience what is your thoughts on the returns to date? Is he in good stead with the fanbase despite the record?
I don't think anyone thought he was going to produce a 20 win season last year, so I'm more than happy with it. Before last season, our biggest basketball moment over the past decade was defeating UC in the 2004 Conference USA quarterfinals. Losing Dominique Jones was a big blow, and I think we have 14 or 15 wins at this point if DoJo plays this season.
There have been some people who have called for Heath's head, but Stan has been severely handicapped when it came to recruiting due to our lack of facilities. Thankfully, the 50k square foot Muma Basketball Center is under construction, and the Sun Dome is getting a much needed upgrade over the offseason. With the new facilities and a ton of scholarships available in 2012, we will see how good of a recruiter Heath is.
4 What is the biggest weakness of this edition of the Bulls and why?
Turnovers. We average around 17 a game, and before that last couple of games, we couldn't even get the ball in play when teams pressed us. It's something that the team has worked on all year, and we are getting better but there are still lapses in judgment which lead to easy baskets for our opponents.
Our three point shooting percentage was also something that has been horrendous for most of the season, but Shaun Noriega seemed to have found his shot over the past couple of games. Teams have been zoning us due to our front court depth, and we've been helpless to stop it all season. If Shaun and guys like Hugh Robertson and Jawanza Poland can shoot like they've had at times this season, it'll mean good things from the Bulls.
5 Agustus Gilcrest arrived in Tampa dripping with potential and has developed into a consistent scorer and OK re bounder. Is that enough from a kid as talented as he is?
If he continues on the pace he's going since the start of Big East play than yes. He has had some issues this year, and even quit the team for two games before asking to be reinstated. Heath accepted his request and made him miss the next game, but after coming back he has been a different player.
With Gus, we have a go to Number 1 option, and he has taken the Bull by the horns with this challenge. If he can continue his Big East run and average 20 points and 10 rebounds, I'll take it.
6 USF is by far the best named team in the Big East. You have Gilchrist, Jawanza Poland, and Jarrid Famous among others. Which is the best of the bunch in your estimation
Jawanza Poland wins this in a landslide. I think Shedrick Haynes is a great name as well as LaVonte Dority, but anythime you can just go all caps with a first name like we can with JAWANZA! you have to go with it. Also, some people have called him the Polish Hammer, which always is a plus with me.
USF has been playing a lot of quality teams really close, and for some reason I think we pull off the upset Wednesday. Famous, Anderson, and Gilchrist should neutralize Yancy Gates and Ibra Thomas, and we play quality perimeter defense to neutralize your three point specialists.
Bulls win 70-63