Bulls Add Prep Standout Amu Saaka

TAMPA, Fla. – The University of South Florida men's basketball team has received a commitment from prep standout Adamu "Amu" Saaka for the 2006-07 campaign, head coach Robert McCullum announced Thursday evening.

Saaka, a 6-6, 190-pound forward, will arrive on campus this summer and have four seasons of eligibility with the Bulls.

"We are happy to add Amu to our program and are extremely excited about his versatility, athleticism and skill level," McCullum said. "All of those attributes give him the potential to elevate his game to even greater heights.

"With both Melvin Buckley and McHugh Mattis entering their senior seasons, it was important for us to add a player at that position (small forward) prior to their departure," McCullum added. "This will give him a year to familiarize himself with our program and gain valuable experience."

Saaka, who signed with Furman prior to his senior season, helped Columbia High School in Decatur, Ga., to a 32-1 record in 2005 and Class 4A championship. He averaged 15.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game and was selected the team's most valuable player and tabbed a McDonald's All-American nominee. The Eagles concluded the year ranked 21st in the country by HoopsUSA and 38th in the Nike Who's Who of High School Basketball Consensus Poll.

"He was a player that flew under the radar until the summer of 2005," McCullum added. "After he signed with Furman his stock skyrocketed during his senior year and was highlighted by MVP honors at the Kingdom of the Sun Holiday Tournament."

As a junior, Saaka averaged 16.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists, helping Columbia to a 23-8 overall record and a quarterfinal appearance in the state tournament. He claimed all-county accolades that season and was also tabbed honorable mention all-state. Saaka connected on 56 percent of his 3-point attempts.

"It was our desire to add a player at Amu's position to the 2006 class and we are very fortunate to sign a player of his caliber," McCullum said. "His ability to shoot with range as well as drive to the basket gives him the versatility needed to be successful in the BIG EAST.

"Amu is also an outstanding student who plans on majoring in management or marketing," McCullum said.

USF's 2006-07 recruiting class now includes Saaka, guard Solomon Bozeman (Magnolia, AR) and fellow prep standout Dante Curry (Kissimmee, FL) and transfers Kentrell Gransberry (LSU) and Jesus Verdejo (Arizona). Gransberry and Verdejo will be eligible in mid-December.

The South Florida Bulls still have one scholarship remaining for the 2006-07 campaign following the departure of freshman center Frane Markusovic. He left the program after the conclusion of the spring semester and will continue his career at Collin County Community College in Texas.

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