The University of South Florida doesn't exactly shout Men's basketball when you read those words does it?
Didn't think so. At least, not yet.
So what exactly can you expect out of the 2009 Big East team that finished 2008 as a bottom feeder?
In 2007, Stan Heath was hired as South Florida's newest men's basketball coach. He came in viewed as a "nice" guy, but some questioned his coaching efforts out on the floor. However, many looked past the excellent recruiting jobs he did at Arkansas and even the coaching efforts he gave there and his one year NCAA Tournament run at Kent State.
South Florida's hiring is about to pay off. Just by looking at the play of his players on the floor last year, especially that by junior Dominique Jones and true freshman Augustus Gilchrist coupled with the incoming recruits and transfers such as Anthony Crater and Jarrid Famous, this year's team should produce one of the best squads in USF history.
Famous who was also looking at Missouri and Pittsburgh chose South Florida and figures to be the headline for South Florida's recruiting class this offseason. A 6'11" center from Westchester Community College, Famous chose USF to have a great starting opportunity in the Big East and play alongside one of the Big East's top freshmen last year in Augustus Gilchrist who averaged 10.2 PPG and 4.4 RPG.
Crater, known as an explosive point guard transferred from Ohio State in January 2009 and will be eligible to play in January 2010, strengthen the point guard spot and allowing last year's point guard, Dominique Jones, to move to SG.
Obviously, no one expects this team to be a dominate powerhouse just because of a few good recruits this offseason, however they did show signs of sticking with teams last year and even upsetting high ranked Marquette down in Tampa last season.
Heath definitely has the ability to motivate a team, and a team with high motor, high upside players always is a good bet to win quite a bit of ball games with a good coach behind them.
While these recruits may not be of the noteworthy hype that the kids from Pitt, UCONN, and Syracuse are getting, USF is definitely a team that has a chance to rise in the upcoming season.
However, expecting USF not to improve on what they did on the floor last season is foolish to say the least.