The obstacles facing Bulls interim coach Murry Bartow are as bountiful as the losses he has taken since assuming control over a USF men’s basketball team that has used the fourth most starting line up combinations in the NCAA.
However, fans are going to have to trust the process.
While attempting to get the most out a USF (6-12, 0-7) team that currently has only eight players on scholarship, Bartow is limited as to what he can do to create different looks.
However, instead of changing the who, Bartow is changing the how.
Orlando Antigua, who is a disciple of Kentucky coach John Calipari, was notorious for shutting the door on the media from viewing practices, as the former coach kept his program more under wraps, much like his mentor.
Where one door was once closed, Bartow has opened a window of invites for the media to see for themselves what exactly is going on at the Les and Pam Muma Center, USF basketball’s training facility.
While observing Tuesday afternoon’s practice in preparation of hosting UConn (8-11,3-4) tonight, it was easy to see what players were eluding to about their new coach being “all in.”
“Get big, get wide. Do not move one inch,” Bartow firmly echoed, as he showed sophomore forward Luis Santos what he expects in setting a pick.
Bartow, a former guard at Alabama-Birmingham, was even throwing up alley-oops to junior forward Bo Ziegler in order to teach freshman guard Michael Bibby to look for different options on the offensive end of the floor.
With each slam, the toss would elicit an eruption out of a gym previously hushed with the silence of quiet appreciation.
Looking for their first conference win since Feb. 20 of last year, the Bulls enter tonight’s matchup with the Huskies with a prime opportunity to show what a difference their approach has made since switching head coaches on Jan. 3.
If there is one thing we have learned from this athletic calendar and watching the growth of USF’s football program from this time four years ago, it is safe to say that a change in culture does not happen overnight.
However, it all starts somewhere, and the tide could begin to turn tonight.