Early look at the 2011-12 Bulls hoops squad

With the USF hoops season just around the corner, there's a lot of questions surrounding this year's squad. The backcourt is young and leadership will have to come from the experienced players up front, including the veteran forward Augustus Gilchrist. Check out the roster report, lineup breakdown, a look at the newcomers, and more.

There is an awful lot uncertainty this season for the Bulls, but Coach Stan Heath is optimistic they can make strides after a tough season and the graduation of Dominique Jones.

The Sun Dome is undergoing major renovations, meaning the team that is also undergoing major renovations will play its home games in three different arenas.

Leadership will have to come from the experienced players up front, including the veteran forward Augustus Gilchrist, who averaged 13.4 points a game on the team that went 3-15 to finish 15th last year in the Big East.

Another veteran, forward Ron Anderson, put in a lot off offseason work and will take charge of Heath's fifth team in Tampa.

"I knew that to compete at a high level, especially in the Big East, I was going to have to get my body in shape," he said.

"He's a guy that rebounds the ball at a high level," Heath said. "He's a guy that can pass out of trouble and he can score around the basket."

Heath plans to lean on defense to improve, that being this team's strength, and with a lot of additions including Arizona State transfer Victor Rudd and freshmen guards Anthony Collins and Blake Nash there should be new enthusiasm that youth can bring.

"Our chemistry has been phenomenal. I've been exceptionally pleased with it," Heath said. "I think a lot of it goes back to the guys paid some dues in the summer. They were up, 6, 7 in the morning running, doing some things behind the scenes to get themselves ready to go."

NOTES, QUOTES

--Senior F Ron Anderson spent a good part of the offseason adding weight and strength for his final season. Anderson added 15 pounds of muscle while seemingly slimming down. "I knew that to compete at a high level, especially in the Big East, I was going to have to get my body in shape," he said.

--F/C Augustus Gilchrist was named honorable mention on the preseason All-Big East team. The 6-10 front court player averaged 13.4 points a game in leading the Bulls in scoring last year. He spent much of this offseason improving his strength.

--The Sun Dome, home of the Bulls, is undergoing major renovations, forcing the team to play at three different arenas in the Tampa Bay area this season.

LAST YEAR: 10-23 overall, 3-15 in the Big East

HEAD COACH: Stan Heath, 11th year as head coach (51-66 at South Florida; 163-154 career)

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think they really built a bond. Some of the ups and downs we went through last season, they understand they don't want to go through that, and it's going to take the chemistry, the camaraderie to come together." -- Bulls Coach Stan Heath, on why he believes his team will be improved this season.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

PROBABLE STARTING LINEUP: PG Anthony Collins, G Blake Nash, SF Victor Rudd, PF Ron Anderson Jr., C Augustus Gilchrist.

LINEUP BREAKDOWN: The lineup will revolve around the work done down low by 6-10 Augustus Gilchrist, who will probably draw double-teams until someone proves they can score from the outside. Fifth-year senior Ron Anderson Jr., at the power forward spot, will have to use his many skills, which include rebounding and passing, while Arizona State transfer Victor Rudd has gotten bigger in the offseason and might give some balance. Junior F Toarlyn Fitzpatrick had a good summer and will play a lot. The backcourt is mostly young, although another player who had a good summer was guard Shaun Noriega will help freshman guards Anthony Collins and Blake Nash. G Jawanza Poland, out until December with a back injury, will be missed. An active, hard-nosed defense will have to carry the team.

SCOUTING THE NEWCOMERS: Stan Heath is in need of help, so this is an important group.

Help may come from 6-7 sophomore Victor Rudd, a transfer from Arizona State who has three years eligibility remaining. Rudd played 15 games at ASU in 2009-10 before sitting out.

The biggest catch was 7-3 Nigerian center Jordan Omogbehin out of Atlantic Shores Christian Academy in Virginia. He averaged 15 points and 11 rebounds, but the big man will have to redshirt this season and watch from the bench.

The Bulls are hoping another junior college player, Blake Nash, who came from Williston State in North Dakota, can develop into the starting point guard. He averaged 22.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.5 assists.

Another guard, this one from Houston and Westbury Christian, is Anthony Collins, who averaged 12 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3 steals as a senior while making his third straight All-State team and leading his team to a pair of 4A state titles.

ROSTER REPORT:

--Musa Abdul-Aleem gave USF a recruiting coup when the 6-5, 220-pounder from Georgia Perimeter College became their first commitment for 2012. He had created interest from a number of top shelf schools including Big East rivals Georgetown and West Virginia.

--The Bulls also got a pledge from Waverly Austin, a 6-foot-10 center that was considered one of the top junior college prospects for 2012.

--G Jawanza Poland is suffering from a back injury that may keep him out until December. He was expected to battle for a starting spot.

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