With the early signing period starting yesterday, USF fans have waited for the arrival of the National Letters of Intent for Huntington Prep SG JaVontae Hawkins, Georgia Perimeter College SG Musa Abdul-Aleem, and Palm Beach State College C Waverly Austin. Thankfully all three came within about an hour of each other this afternoon and will be heading to USF for the 2012-13 season.
Even with a scholarship in hand for the spring signing period, this is already Stan Heath's best recruiting class while at USF and quite possibly the best recruiting class in the history of Bulls basketball. Hawkins is USF's first Top 100 player in more than a decade, and Austin has been recently named at the JUCO Preseason Player of the Year. Add in a player like Abdul-Aleem who garnered some national attention over the summer and you could tell that Stan was excited about having these guys for next year.
"We’re bringing in three guys that are all high impact players who can add a lot to our team next season and really I think, take us to the next level as a program. We’ve added size. We’ve added shooting. We’ve added athleticism and overall they all have a really good motor to compete at a very high level."
Let's first start with Austin, who originally signed with USF two years ago out of high school but couldn't qualify and ended up at PBSC. Waverly wowed everyone in his first year, averaging a double-double with 18.2 PTS/10.3 REB/3.8 BLK. Heath likes that Austin will immediately fill a huge void in the post with only Toarlyn Fitzpatrick and Jordan Omogbehin as the only bigs on the roster. He has a terrific skill set down low, and I would be shocked if Austin doesn't for us next season.
Abdul-Aleem had a solid freshman year at GPC, averaging a team high 14.6 PTS/5.5 REB last year. The 6'5 wing has excellent range and is already physically ready for play during the Big East. With the lack of three-point options USF has had since his arrival, Musa's ability to shoot accurately from three is a big plus.
"He shoots with range. He gets it off quick and shoots at a very high percentage. He’s definitely a guy that I think will be an instant impact and someone that will be talked about a lot next season."
The 6'5" Hawkins is coming into his own at Huntington Prep, and was one of the top available wings in the Class of 2012 before choosing the Bulls last month. Hawkins overall offensive game is impressive, as he can create his own shot from anywhere on the court. JaVontae is having an excellent season for Huntington Prep so far this year, averaging 17.5 PTS/3.5 REB/2.0 AST/3.0 STL a game for the Express. I'm really excited about the position battle at the wing next year. Hawkins and Abdul-Aleem will battle for minutes with Victor Rudd, Jawanza Poland, Martino Brock, and Shaun Noriega. With the lack of options at the post for next year and the quality depth on the wing, I wouldn't be surprised if Heath runs a lot of 4-guard sets next year.
Welcome to USF guys!