Look, get used to this: USF men's basketball is going to be a really, really good team.
The 8th place finish predicted by the AAC coaches in the preseason poll is a joke. Barring injury, we think the Bulls will be competitive at the top end of this league, and possibly for an NCAA bid as well. This team has depth it's never had before, players that can score the ball from multiple sides of the floor, and returning experience to bring it all together. We really, really like this team. And we're probably going to make a financial contribution to a local short-term investment broker to back up the sentiment.
What the hell has gotten into us?
This week we'll tell you. Each day we're going to break down at least one reason why we think USF is going to be better than you think. And we start today with the new front court that should help fill in the patches from the biggest hole USF had last season.
Anyone that saw Toarlyn Fitzpatrick playing center last season (ed: for the last time... NO WAVERLY AUSTIN AAAAAAHHHHH!!!) knows that size on the block and rebounding were the biggest holes for USF last season. And we know it's dangerous to put all your faith in a true freshman to come in and right the ship on the post immediately. However: check out this tape:
Now we realize there's not a lot of left hand moves in there... but John Egbunu is athletic and has huge size. Which is exactly what the Bulls were missing last year.
Watch him here against Memphis commit Austin Nichols last season:
When was the last time you saw a USF post guy with that kind of athleticism and upside? That would be never, because we've never had one. Egbunu plugs the biggest hole on the previous USF roster, which is an athletic big man that can rebound, defend, and score with equal aplomb. He'll be tested immediately out of the gate by this team, and they'll need to worry about overusing him early, but the potential is clearly there.
There are other exciting parts to the front court as well, with 6-8, 241 lb. freshman Chris Perry out of Bartow and 6-6, 275 lb (!!) 'Dre Clayton from Chucky Atkins alma mater Evans in Orlando too. But Egbunu is probably the biggest piece of the puzzle that will determine how far the Bulls can go this year. And having seen him in person at the hoops event at the Sun Dome on Oct. 11th, we couldn't be more excited about seeing a body like that on our team. It's been a long time since we've seen anything like him in a home jersey at the Sun Dome.
This team has guards and swing players that can compete with anyone (more on them later this week), but the donut hole that was USF Men's Basketball looks to be much closer to being filled in 2013-14. Get your tickets now, Bulls fans. This season is going to be fun.