The USF men's basketball team and head coach Stan Heath kicked off the first day of the spring signing period with the announcement that they signed two point guards. Anthony Collins, a 6-1, 175-pound point guard from Westbury Christian School in Houston and Blake Nash a 6-foot, 185-pound point guard from Williston State College in North Dakota have both signed their National Letters of Intent on Wednesday.
"It was important for us to improve our guard play heading into the 2011-12 season," said coach Heath. "We're excited to have Blake Nash and Anthony Collins join the basketball program. Both players have terrific ball skills and passing skills. Blake adds three-point shooting while Anthony is more of a pure point guard who can run a basketball team. Both guys also have the tenacity to defend at the other end of the court. These guys should make our guard play go to another level and should make our basketball team a lot better."
Blake Nash a 6-foot, 185 pound point guard from Williston State College in North Dakota took an official visit to USF and committed after his visit. Nash was being recruited by many schools before narrowing his choices to USF, Texas A&M and Oklahoma before choosing USF. He'll have 3 years to play at USF.
"Player wise he's quick, he's strong and he's a playmaker," said Head Coach Berg. "He needed him to score and obviously his numbers say that he can. He's an excellent scorer and shoots the ball really well and has a great pull-up game. He can slash and put it on the floor all the way to the rim. I think his game will develop into more of a true point guard and he can distribute the ball and can really pass the ball."
Nash had an impressive freshman season and helped lead Williston State to a 24-9 record and its second-straight Region XIII championship averaging 22.3 ppg, 4.5 assists, 5.6 rebounds, and 2.3 steals per game, while shooting 42% from 3-point range (81-195), 55 percent (168-304) from the field, while hitting 76.9 percent (113-147) at the line. Nash was named to the JUCO all-American second team, and was the only freshman member. Nash also earned All-Conference honors and also was selected as the Conference's Most Valuable Player as well. Nash was also a three-time Mon-Dak Conference Player of the Week. Nash played prep at Fairfax in Los Angeles and Chandler Basha High in Arizona, and summer ball for the Arizona Magic.
"Blake is an outstanding leader from the point guard position, he really understands how to run a basketball team," said USF Assistant Coach Jeremy Cox. "Secondly, he's competitive. He's a guy that has played for quality teams in big games and he found ways to win. That was something we needed. He's a pass-first guy, but he can score the ball as two-thirds of his shots were threes. He can really play against ball screens, which is what the game is evolving to. He can score out of the ball screen, either by shooting behind the ball screen, by pulling up and shooting it, or by creating for others on the other side of the screen. He's going to be a welcome addition and asset to our team."
Anthony Collins, a 6-1, 175-pound point guard from Houston's Westbury Christian School in Houston was recruited by several programs including Texas Tech, TCU and Nebraska before narrowing his choices to USF and Baylor, before choosing the Bulls this spring. Collins is a pass-first point guard with great instincts who likes to push the ball on the break and get into the lane and can create. He's also quick, with great ball handling skills and can play defense. He'll have four years to play at USF.
The 6-foot-1, 175 pound point guard is a four-year starter for Westbury Christian and has won Two-state championships with them in that time and led his team to the title game his senior season. Collins is WBC's all-time assists leader, and scored more than 1,000 points in his career. This past season averaged 12 points a game, 8.3 assists and 3 steals per game. He shot 60 percent from the field and 70 percent from the free throw line. He earned first-team all-state honors three-straight years and was a four-time first-team all-district player. Collins also helped Westbury to the 71st annual Houston ISD Boys Basketball Championship and has earned all-tournament accolades at the Houston Jaycee Tournament and the US Bank Holiday Classic and was selected by a Houston sports magazine to the All-VYPE First Team.
"Anthony Collins is a guy who can lead and run the team," said USF Assistant Coach Reggie Hanson. "His basketball IQ is off the charts and he has amazing speed. In games, he's full speed ahead and he makes everyone around him better. He's a great passer and he creates shots for all of the other guys. He loves to defend and he understands winning. He's started all four years and he's won a lot of games. He's also a great kid and student."
The two point guards Nash and Collins join the two big men that signed in the early period, 6-foot-10, 310 lbs Andre Jackson and 7-foot-3, 291 lbs Tolulope "Jordan" Omogbehin. Jackson has two seasons to play with USF while Omogbehin will have four years of eligibility with the Bulls.
"This may be our best recruiting class," said Heath. "We've addressed the areas we felt we needed to improve in, and in a big way. The guard play will be extremely strong next season with the addition of these two players [Nash and Collins] and Victor Rudd, who is also counted as a recruit in that class. He's a 6-8 guard that can really score the basketball. Then we added two gigantic players who are going to give us a physical presence inside. Andre Jackson has the ability to score, rebound and take up space at 6-10, 310 pounds. Then Jordan Omogbehin, at 7-3, 291 pounds, will have some work to do, but along with his size, his footwork and hands are very good, so I expect him to contribute as well."