The USF Bulls had a remarkable season this year. The Bulls won 20 games this season for the first time since the 1989-90 season. A large part of that success was the senior leadership that USF had leading the stampede.
This team says goodbye to four of its seniors. Chris Howard, Alex Rivas, Ryan Kardok, and Mike Mercer all have played their last game in a USF uniform. Howard and Mercer played significant time this season. Rivas and Kardok were reserves for the majority of their careers with USF.
The Bulls likely will also say goodbye to Big East Player of the Year, Dominique Jones, who declared for the NBA draft but has yet to sign an agent. Jones could do himself some good by retuning for his senior year, but the lure of the NBA appears too much for the Bulls star. Jones finished the season averaging 21 points, six rebounds and three assists a game.
Mike Mercer finishes his senior year averaging 9.2 points and 4.5 rebounds a game. He had a season high 19 points against providence this season and was a key factor in that 109-105 win over the Friars in overtime.
He spent a short stint with Georgia before transferring to USF. He blew out his knee last season and missed all but four games. This season Mercer played in all 33 games and started 30 of them.
Alex Rivas played in 17 games this season, and saw most of his action during Augustus Gilchrist’s absence throughout the middle of the season. He saw most of his playing time as a Bull in the 2008-2009 season where he played in 30 of the 31 games that season.
Ryan Kardok played in 20 games this season. His defense off the bench gave the Bulls a spark when he was in the game. He’s come a long way since walking onto the team in the 2008-2009 season.
Chris Howard started in all 33 games this season. He was a nightmare on defense for opposing teams and finished his career with 101 steals. He handed out 487 assists which ranks fourth all time at USF. Howard’s leadership will be sorely missed next season.
The Bulls have plenty of holes to fill, but still have enough talent on the roster to stay competitive in the Big East. Dominique Jones’s decision to enter the draft or come back for a senior season will be huge for this team next season.
Augustus Gilchrist will be a force to be reckoned with, but having his dynamic scoring guard by his side will make this team that much more dangerous.