That name is fantastic, it sounds like it’s out of a Matt Christopher book. Anyway, according to the Bradenton Herald, Shedrick “Showtime” Haynes has verbally committed to USF.

Haynes has totally transformed himself as a basketball player; He always had the hops and athleticism, but now he has added some deadly long-range shooting to his arsenal. …

The six-foot combo guard known for his extraordinary leaping ability, averaged 18.5 points a game and filled up the stat sheet for the Falcons, who finished the season 20-10. Haynes knocked down 87 treys while shooting 42 percent from beyond the arc.

He’s either 6’0″ or 5’11”, depending on who you ask, and he might be another badly-needed outside shooting option for the Bulls. It probably depends on whether or not he can hang defensively at that size. That’s the only thing keeping Shaun Noriega off the court, and Haynes might join him on the bench if he has the same problem.

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For the rest of this week, look for another Other Sports Roundup, heavily dominated by a round of What the Hell Is Wrong With Our Baseball Team. Assuming USF plays teams in the NIT that have blog representatives, we’ll keep up the Q&A’s. And as long as one of us can watch the games somewhere, we’ll keep doing postgame haikus and recaps.

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Busy Day on Fowler Ave

March 3, 2010

I hope that the Athletics Department has the Red Bull on ice today, because they are going to be everywhere.

The first step of the new Athletics District will start today, as the groundbreaking for the long overdue Pam and Les Muma Basketball Center will happen this afternoon. The Muma Center will give both Stan Heath and Jose Fernandez with weight rooms, practice gyms, a video room for studying game tape, and their own locker rooms.

The Muma Center will also be a huge help in recruiting. USF was always harped on for not having Big East quality facilities, and finally Heath will have the resources needed to compete with other high-major programs. Unfortunately, when you have to share The Corral between Volleyball and the Basketball programs, you are going to have scheduling difficulties, and sometimes it led to some teams practicing in the Campus Recreation Center. Thankfully, the days of me interfering with their practices are coming to an end.

You can see some of the other rendering of the Muma Center at the Bulls Club here, and hopefully they will have some more renderings at the groundbreaking today.

The other major thing today is Coach Holtz’s first Town Hall meeting today at the Corral, which Athletics is calling The Inside Skip. Coach Holtz will be talking with the fans from 6:30pm to 8:00pm, and will be answering any and all questions. Hopefully I will be able to make it to the Q&A today, so check back with us tomorrow, and we will have a report of the meeting.

Also to our Pinellas County readers, Coach Holtz will be at The Venue tomorrow for another Town Hall meeting at 6:30pm.

Tapping Into a Pipeline?

February 12, 2010

Interesting tidbit in a Scott Carter Tampa Tribune article about do-it-all women’s basketball star Jessica Lawson, and it had nothing to do with Lawson. (No offense to her, she’s awesome.) The very last item in the story says:

[Skip] Holtz’s oldest son, Trey, a 10th-grader, enrolled at Plant High this week and plans to join the football team as a quarterback when spring practice starts.

Located in Tampa, Plant’s football team has won three state championships in the last four years – two in Class 4A, and another in Class 5A. It’s become one of the best public-school programs in Florida, and thanks to some fairly liberal interpretations of Hillsborough County’s special-assignment rules, it’s a magnet for high-level football talent. During their four-year championship run, Plant has produced nine D-I signees, including Robert Marve, Orson Charles, Aaron Murray, and Eric Dungy. Earlier in the 2000s they sent Mike Williams to USC and Stephen Reaves to Michigan State. And this year everyone will be looking at James Wilder, Jr., who will likely end up as a 4 or 5-star recruit and already has offers from some of the big boys – Florida, Miami, and USC.

USF has only signed one Plant football player in the last 10 years – Donte Spires in 2005. Wilder might be out of the Bulls’ reach, but as long as Plant is turning out D-I talent, this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

You know, as long as Skip doesn’t recruit his son to play for USF, then pull a Dan and Cody Hawkins and go down with the ship together.

(P.S. I went to Plant and they won a total of 12 games in my four years there. No, I’m not bitter. OK, a little bitter. Actually, I’m very bitter. In fact I’m downright pissed.)

Jim Lighthall over at 1010AM this morning has reported that 6’5 Guard Hugh Robertson has committed to Stan Heath and the Bulls yesterday. Robertson is averaging 12.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 2 assists a game for the Eagles this season. Robertson has shot the ball extremely well this year, averaging 50% from the field and 41% from three.

Robertson is ranked 93rd on JuCoJunction.com’s Top 150 recruits this season. Not much else is available online, but we do have this from his profile at TCC:

Has improved steadily since arriving at TCC…loves to put the ball on the floor and penetrate…very athletic player…much-improved on the perimeter…one of the most exciting players on the roster…has high-major talent…can do a little bit of everything on the floor…handles the ball well…solid rebounder…defends well and can be a shot blocker…plays above the rim…basketball IQ increases each day.

Having a Mercer like wing in this class was a huge need for Coach Heath, and it looks like we got one in Robertson. His shooting percentage is a huge plus, and if it can translate over here in Tampa, it looks like be a viable option for the next two seasons. With the Robertson commit, the Bulls have two scholarships left for the spring signing period.

Snow Day Reading Material

February 11, 2010

I just measured 5″ of snow outside my front door and it’s still coming down hard. We don’t have plows or salt trucks or road-treating chemicals or snow shovels or any of that where I live, which means I’m going absolutely nowhere today. So if you have some free time like I do, I recommend this feature story from SI’s Andy Staples about the challenge of Skip Holtz putting together a recruiting class in three weeks.

SI: How Skip Holtz, South Florida Bulls Saved 2010 Recruiting Class

(I could have done without the “sleeping giant”/Seth Greenberg flashback line at the very end, but other than that it’s a fantastic story. As much as I loved me some Jim Leavitt, I can’t imagine he would have ever allowed this kind of access to the program’s inner workings.)

It’s a Bull! In a plane!

February 5, 2010

Well, not yet, but soon.

Even though USF does most of their football recruiting in-state, a private jet is still really useful for them when they have to visit a small town out of state. (If you went to Auburn a few years ago, or if you ever go to Morgantown, you know what a total pain it can be to find someplace to fly into and then drive the rest of the way there.) It’s also a little bit of a prestige symbol, like “Hey, we’re big time, our coaches can fly in on a private jet and meet you.” Sometimes that helps.

Actually, you know who might get a lot of use out of this plane? George Kiefer. I don’t know what the rules of engagement are on international soccer recruiting, but this would be handy if he wants to fly down to the Caribbean or Central America to meet players. Last year the men’s soccer team had a player from Trinidad, another from Jamaica, plus three from Venezuela. A quick check of Expedia.com (the extremely unofficial travel site of Voodoo 5) says that to go from Tampa to Caracas, a round-trip ticket for February 15-17 costs $1122 on American Airlines, plus taxes and fees and whatever else Hugo Chavez may require incoming tourists to do at the airport because HE IS A CRAZY PERSON. My point being, chartering this jet would be much cheaper, and Kiefer would not be subject to the $30 fee for the first checked bag.

Wanted to share this before it slips away. Greg Auman had this quote from Skip Holtz’s signing day Q&A session. Someone asked him if they had thought about trying to take some of their East Carolina recruits with him (like a certain mealy-mouthed a-hole and his deep-fried consigliere). Skip’s answer:

“It was easy because it was the right decision,” Holtz said. “East Carolina paid all of our recruiting expenses when we were at East Carolina, for us to develop a lot of these relationships with these young men. When you look at some of the (coaching) changes going on in recruiting, a lot of people just took the class with them or tried to take the class with them. I felt like those young men committed to East Carolina … I in no way, shape or form want to harm East Carolina.”

Imagine that, a football coach with scruples. Something tells me that even if Skip Holtz ends up Kragthorpe-ing this thing, we’re still going to feel bad that it didn’t work out.