South Florida fans got their first look at B.B. Waldon and Altron Jackson on the Sun Dome court in November 1998. Tonight, they will get their last.
Waldon and Jackson, along with Mike Bernard, will play in the final home game of their careers when the Bulls face Houston in the Sun Dome at 7:30 p.m.
“I think Senior Night is going to be special,” Bulls coach Seth Greenberg said. “You’re talking about two guys (Waldon and Jackson) who have had, to say the least, distinguished careers.”Waldon and Jackson, two of the most decorated players in USF basketball history, will be honored along with Bernard before the game as part of “Senior Night.” Assistant Sports Information Director Michael Hogan said the trio will be recognized prior to starter introductions.
“Senior Night is always an emotional night for me. I’m an emotional guy,” Greenberg said. “Senior Night is the culmination of a process: from evaluation, to recruitment, to playing their first game and playing their last game. I know the program’s better for having both of those kids (Waldon and Jackson) in it.”
Greenberg said all three will be in the starting lineup as USF (17-10, 7-7 in Conference USA) looks to pull even with Houston (second place) in the National Division standings.
The Bulls also will try to put a halt to a two-game skid that has not only ended their hopes of an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, but severely diminished their chances of a trip to the National Invitational Tournament.
“There’s a lot of basketball to be played,” Greenberg said.
“Obituaries are a bit premature.”
The final two games of the regular season will determine seeding for the C-USA Tournament, which begins March 6 in Cincinnati. Memphis, Marquette, Charlotte and Cincinnati have all locked up first-round byes, while the remaining teams will continue to jockey for position in the tourney as the season comes to a close.
“We’ve got a chance, I think, in the next eight to 10 days, to try and eliminate some mistakes and be upbeat going into our conference tournament,” Greenberg said. “With the idea that if we win a couple of games, we’ll be playing somewhere.”
The Cougars (15-12, 8-6 in C-USA) defeated the Bulls 91-75 Feb. 12 in Houston with 27 points from Louis Truscott. Fortunately for South Florida, Truscott was one of four Houston players suspended by coach Ray McCallum Sunday following the Cougars’ 63-46 loss Saturday at East Carolina. Marcus Oliver, Dominic Smith and Truscott were suspended for at least the South Florida game for “violating team rules.”
Kevin Gaines’ punishment will be more severe. Gaines was arrested and charged with assault on a woman at 2:17 a.m. Sunday following an incident outside a North Carolina nightclub. McCallum suspended Gaines for the remainder of the season.
“Kevin is suspended indefinitely,” McCallum said. “He has some real issues in his life that he must get in order. We will support him, but basketball is a secondary issue right now. He will not be a part of the team this season.”
Smith scored 19 points, while Gaines netted 12 and dished out 9 assists in the teams’ first meeting. None of the suspended players will travel with the team, leaving only eight players in uniform and just five on scholarship.
“I don’t think we should concern ourselves with Houston, we need to concern ourselves with South Florida,” Greenberg said. “We’re going to try to get into their bench and try and wear them out because, face it, we’ve got numbers.”
- Brandon Wright covers men’s basketball and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org