The South Florida men’s basketball team is starting to know where its scoring will come from, it is starting to know where its passing will come from and where its perimeter defense will come from.
What USF is still searching, after two games in the 2002 season, for its rebounding.
The Bulls’ main post presence, senior center Will McDonald has 14 rebounds and starting power forward Gerrick Morris only has three.
The one rebounding bright spot has been back-up forward Terrence Leather with 18 total boards.
Leather has been USF’s main rebounding force as its sixth man.
“What he does, is he rebounds the ball, he’s quick to the basket and he has those long arms,” coach Seth Greenberg said. “He just can reach and get around people.”
When people look at the Bulls’ players they think of McDonald and senior point guard Reggie Kohn as the two guys who will be the most deciding factor whether USF can win or not.
One of the “other guys” that will be required to step up is sophomore Leather.
Before the season USF coach Seth Greenberg said that Leather could have one of his best years yet.
“I think he has a chance to be a great defender because he is so long and extremely active,” Greenberg said. “I really believe he will have a breakout year.”
Leather has been used this season coming off the bench for both the small and power forwards, averaging 22 minutes a game with Morris averaging 16.5.
“I’m not looking at starting, I just want to play,” Leather said. “I keep coming to practice, working hard and earning minutes.
“Wherever coach feels like he can play me, that’s where I will play, off the bench in the lineup, wherever.”
Leather will remain a valuable asset coming off the bench in two positions for USF, but the more his game improves the more he will be needed in the lineup.
“Terrence brings a great defensive spark,” Kohn said. “Being able to bring Terrence in is something special offensively and defensively.”
Last season Leather averaged 55 percent from the field for 1.8 points a game and 1.7 rebounds.
This season the 6-foot-9 forward is shooting 58 percent with 8.5 points a game and 9 rebounds a game.
“If Terrence can just be patient and enjoy his success, he is extremely skilled he has long arms, he can make shots and he is a distinctive rebounder,” Greenberg said. “He has the chance to be a 6-foot-9 235 pound power forward.”
Along with being a defensive presence Leather also helps the team coming off the bench with his ability to score and his athleticism.
During the Bulls’ home opener against Nova Southeastern, Leather scored nine points in 16 minutes including one of the top offensive plays of the game according to Kohn.
“I think he had the play of the game,” Kohn said. “He is six nine and he came out on the break and pulled up and made a jump shot.”
Leather will continue on his pace as the Bulls leading rebounder when Alcorn State comes to the Sun Dome today at 7 p.m.
USF will look to the Braves (1-1) to improve on its rebounding and post defense, which has struggled so far this season.
The Bulls have 40 rebounds as opposed to their opponents grabbing 33. In their two games the Bulls have played Division II Nova Southeastern (2-4) and 4-1 Providence.
The Braves are the first team the Bulls face this season that was in the NCAA tournament in the 2001-02 season.
Alcorn State lost to Siena 81-77 in the opening round.
Bryan Fazio covers USF men’s basketball and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org