Despite pain of Tournament exit, brighter days ahead
In the immediate aftermath of a season that ended as abruptly as the mens basketball teams did, with a 62-56 loss to Ohio in the third round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday night, its hard for coaches, players and fans to look past the negatives.
The pain overshadowed the triumph of the best season in school history, but that will change with time.
We advanced in the tournament more than anybody in our school history has, forward Victor Rudd Jr. said after the loss. So well be proud of it in about a month, I think.
When the Bulls do get over the loss, theyll begin the transition to next season, which wont be easy as the Bulls lose a trio of senior starters that formed the backbone of the team in forwards Augustus Gilchrist and Ron Anderson Jr. and guard Hugh Robertson, a group that combined for 81 starts this season, as well as walk-on Alberto Damour.
Gilchrist has seen his numbers decline in his senior campaign, but has drawn praise from coach Stan Heath for being a better teammate and playing a key role in the offense.
Anderson, a transfer from Kansas State, served as the Bulls emotional leader, keeping
his teammates focused and motivated on the court.
Robertson was one of the best on-ball defenders in the country, guarding the oppositions best player night in and night out and leading the best scoring defense in the Big East.
I dont get to coach Ron Anderson Jr., Gus (Gilchrist), and Hugh, Alberto, Heath said. I dont get to coach those guys again. Thats hard.
Gone too may be Rudd, who announced Monday night he will enter the NBA Draft but will not hire an agent, which means he can choose to return to school by April 10 and retain his eligibility.
Soon, though, the sorrow of loss will give way to a bright future for the program.
Forward Toarlyn Fitzpatrick and guards Jawanza Poland and Anthony Collins will serve as the foundation moving forward.
Playing mostly off the bench, Poland has proven himself to be among the most dynamic players in the Big East with his ability to shoot a 3-pointer or drive to the rim for a highlight dunk. The same can be said for Rudd, should he return for his junior season.
Standing at 6-foot-8, Fitzpatrick was consistently undervalued in his 3-point shooting ability and became one of USFs most dependable shooters.
Collins shone in his freshman year, gaining a national reputation as a premier ball handler. With a full season under his belt, Heath said Collins limit is unimaginable.
The best is yet to come for that young man, Heath said. Hes good, but just wait until next year because he will be extremely motivated. This kid gets up, you know, during the regular season at 6 in the morning and shoots and works on his game when everybody else is sleeping.
Losing in the tournament hurts, but only one team will finish it with a win. Theres a lot to look forward to with a strong returning unit, the newly renovated Sun Dome and one of the strongest recruiting classes in school history.
When you add it all up, it seems unlikely that USF will go another 20 years without a trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Get Top Stories Delivered Weekly
From Around the Web
More usforacle News Articles
Recent usforacle News Articles
Discuss This Article
MOST POPULAR USFORACLE NEWS
GET TOP STORIES DELIVERED WEEKLY
FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER
LATEST USFORACLE NEWS
- Despite losing record, Bulls sets sights on conference title
- Z Baked provides warm cookies on demand
- Addicted to Apple: a dire diagnosis for millennials
- USF partners with World Health Organization
- Speaker sees astronomy through historical lens
- Bulls aim to bounce back on homestand
- USF Oliver Gallery gets ‘Down and Dirty’
FROM AROUND THE WEB
- Wondering if it's Time to Buy a New Car? Just Check Your...
- Smartphone to Become Wallet -- Are Customers, Businesses...
- Grandparents, Keep Your Meds Up and Away From Young Children
- As Insurers End Coverage for Compounded Drugs, Patients...
- 4 Tips to Start Your Day a Little Earlier
- Join the Force to Fight Lung Cancer in Women
- If You Want to Help Avoid Back Problems, Stop Slouching
- Common-Sense Strategies From a Natural Marketing Guru
- 10 Steps to Help Older Adults Prevent Slips, Trips and Falls
- Stay Cool for Next to Nothing: Power Down the AC on...
COLLEGE PRESS RELEASES
- USA NETWORK AND VERIZON LAUNCH THE “CHARACTERS UNITE COLLEGE TOUR” COMPETITION FOR STUDENTS TO BRING A USA NETWORK CELEBRITY AND A WORTHY CAUSE TO THEIR CAMPUS
- WHEN GEORGIA SMILED: THE ROBIN MCGRAW REVELATION FOUNDATION TEAMS WITH PIVOT AND STUDENTS OF THE WORLD TO LAUNCH THE #iASPIRE GRANT CONTEST
- Latino Groups Launch National Campaign to Deliver Record Latino Turnout for 2014 Midterm Elections
- The Power of Peer Support: Sheryl Sandberg's "Lean In" Hits Campuses
- Cengage Learning and Flashnotes.com Form Strategic Partnership