When will the losses end?

Yesterday, freshman Sam Barber became the fifth USF basketball player to leave or be dismissed from the team this season.

The last player left from former coach Seth Greenberg’s final recruiting class at USF, Barber was released due to “conduct detrimental to the team,” a news release said Monday. The other three 2002 recruits Greenberg brought to USF last season left or were released before the season started. Yusuf Baker was released from the team due to poor grades, Sheldon Franklin quit because of academic ineligibility and Danny Olglesby was released from his scholarship on request.

Barber’s departure comes only two weeks after senior Jimmy Baxter quit following a devastating loss to the Louisville Cardinals. One of only two seniors on the team, Baxter left a void that gave Barber an opportunity to start, and it also gave him more minutes on the floor.

Barber had a slow off-season while recovering from a hand injury he sustained after getting into a fight with a teammate. Despite the reduced off-season practice, however, Barber started in the first game of season, a 79-66 victory against Florida Atlantic. Barber averaged 4.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per game in 11 appearances on the court.

Recent defections and dismissals have reduced the number of scholarship players to seven. Not only are departing players reducing the Bulls’ ranks, injury is also playing a part in shortening the bench. Sophomore Marlyn Bryant, after tearing his ACL last year, tore the ACL in his other leg Jan. 8. Sophomore James Holmes has also been questionable due to a foot injury. All the turmoil has forced USF coach Robert McCullum to dress two walk-ons for games. Alton Darling and Brian Graham have averaged eight and nine minutes per game respectively.

Neither Barber nor McCullum could be reached for comment, late Monday