DePaul Blue Demons vs. South Florida Golden Bulls – Saturday, February 17, 2007 – 6:00 p.m. CST – Tampa, Florida
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The DePaul Blue Demons get an opportunity to escape the winter cold for the warm climes of Tampa, Florida this weekend as they take on the South Florida Golden Bulls. DePaul hopes to continue their winning ways in their effort to secure a NCAA bid.
While USF finished 1-15 in their first year of Big East play last season, they are much improved, currently standing at 3-9 in league play. Bulls coach Robert McCullum has got the job done through the use of transfers from other programs. In the past two years, USF has had six players from other schools transfer in. Leading scorer Melvin Buckley (15.7 ppg), originally from Thornwood High near Chicago, transferred in from Purdue two years ago. Kentrel Gransberry, who has led the Big East in rebounding at 10.9 rpg and is second on the team in scoring (14.4 ppg), arrived this year from LSU. The Bulls also added in guard Jesus Verdejo from the Arizona Wildcats who is averaging 7.6 ppg.
The Bulls senior leadership is coming from juco transfer McHugh Mattis who is contributing for the Bulls with 12.8 ppg and 7.2 rpg. Freshman guard Solomon Bozeman, chipping in with 9.8 ppg, is now coming off the bench for USF. Redshirt freshman Chris Howard recently returned from injury and is starting at the point guard spot for the Bulls.
While the USF guards have struggled in Big East play, the frontcourt for the Bulls has been very solid. Gransberry gets a lot of his points off of offensive putbacks. Gransberry has been a bit banged up of late, he received a cut above his left eye in Wednesday's 70-53 lose to the Syracuse Orange at the SunDome. Prior to that Gransberry had missed practice after twisting an ankle.
"Where they really come at is you in the frontcourt," DePaul coach Jerry Wainwright told WSCR radio. "The have the young man Melvin Buckley, who is a transfer from Purdue, and is one of the better players in the league. McHugh Mattis is at the other forward, he's either third or fourth in the country in blocked shots, an incredible athlete. He's a little undersized, but very fast. He really gets up off the ground. They've been really helped in the middle this year by a big bodied youngster. Their frontcourt can go with anybody in the league. What you have to try to do there is get those guys involved enough where they have to guard you and maybe get some fouls on them and get into their bench where they're a little bit more inexperienced."
USF is much tougher at home in Tampa where they have beaten Wake Forest, Notre Dame, and nearly defeated Marquette.
This is a game where the DePaul guards can exploit mismatches. Look for Sammy Mejia, Draelon Burns, and Jabari Currie to have big games against USF.
The Blue Demons have to take this game seriously to avoid the trap game before going to Notre Dame on Tuesday. A win in Tampa will go a long way towards building that NCAA tournament resume.
South Florida Roster
No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Yr. Hometown (Prev School)
1 Gransberry, Kentrell C 6-9 270 Jr. Baton Rouge, LA (LSU) (Woodlawn HS)
2 Richardson, Melvyn F 6-7 235 Sr. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (Lon Morris JC) (Liceo Union Panamericano HS)
3 Buckley, Melvin F 6-7 215 Sr. Chicago, IL (Purdue) (Thornwood HS)
10 Capko, Chris G 6-1 185 Sr. Lakeland, FL (Florida) (Kathleen HS)
11 Rubens, Jared G/F 6-5 185 Fr. Miami, FL (Krop HS)
12 Curry, Dante G 6-4 175 Fr. Kissimmee, FL (Poinciana HS)
15 Mattis, McHugh F 6-6 190 Sr. North Lauderdale, FL (St. Petersburg College) (Coconut Creek HS)
20 Lovett, Eddie G 6-0 180 Jr. Riviera Beach, FL (Suncoast Community HS)
21 Saaka, Adamu "Amu" G/F 6-6 195 Fr. Decatur, GA (Columbia HS)
22 Bozeman, Solomon G 6-0 165 Fr. Magnolia, AR (Magnolia HS)
23 Verdejo, Jesus G 6-4 205 So. Carolina, Puerto Rico (Arizona) (The Winchendon School)
24 Howard, Chris G 6-3 200 RFr. Lorton, VA (Friendly HS)
32 Williams, Aris F 6-9 235 So. Columbia, MD (Valparaiso) (Georgetown Prep)
33 Torres, Bobby G 6-0 170 So. Fort Myers, FL (Bishop Verot HS)
34 Cann, Zaronn F 6-6 250 RFr. Seffner, FL (Brandon HS)
Holmes, Aaron G/F 6-5 185 Fr. St. Petersburg, FL (Florida State) (St. Petersburg Catholic)
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