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Injuries, Transfers, and Suspensions: USF Begins Early-Season Tailspin

Drew GatewoodAnalyst IDecember 10, 2009

ATLANTA - MARCH 11:  Head coach Stan Heath of the Arkansas Razorbacks yells to his team against the Florida Gators during the championship game of the Southeastern Conference Men's Basketball Tournament on March 11, 2007 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

USF’s Basketball has had several issues arise this week without having to even play a game. Their best player this season Augustus Gilchrist is nursing an ankle injury, Jordan Dumars has transferred, and the status of Anthony Crater.

Augustus Gilchrist has arguably been the best player for the Bulls this season and his services will be greatly depended upon during conference play. Unfortunately, he won’t be available until late January or early February. This is a huge loss for a program already in turmoil.

Toarlyn Fitzpatrick will replace Gilchrist, but his 18 points and eight rebounds a game will be hard to replace so easily. Jarrid Famous and Dominique Jones will be asked to step up on the scoring and rebounding fronts while Fitzpatrick acclimates himself to his new starting role. “Toarlyn will have to step up” quoted head coach Stan Heath.

If depth problems weren’t already a problem the announcement of Jordan Dumars transfer didn’t help matters. Dumars who played in six of the Bulls eight games cited homesickness as the main reason for transferring. USF has several guards that can step up and take Dumars minutes, but with Jones’s added minutes considering the Gilchrist injury the timing isn’t good for the Bulls or Coach Heath. Heath said of the transfer, “He just wants to be closer to home.”

Anthony Crater’s status with the team is still undetermined at this time. Stan Heath was quoted as saying, “His status will be more defined next week in terms of when he can join our team.”  Crater has failed his second drug test during his short tenure as a Bull, which has led to this indefinite suspension.

During his Wednesday press conference Stan Heath was finally asked about the upcoming opponent for the Bulls in Central Michigan. "They are a very physical basketball team” he said of the Chippewa’s. He was also very optimistic with the status of the team in light to the recent developments. “We have been off to a good start. This is another phase of our season. There are four more games until we start conference play. We need to be progressing towards playing some of our best basketball to get ready for that" Heath stated.

USF will have to continue this uphill battle dealing with transfers, injuries, and possible season ending suspensions. It’s going to be a trying season in what started out very positive for the Bulls who are now 7-1 on the season. They will tip off with Central Michigan (3-5) on Sunday at 2:00pm.

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