Swift’s squad: Bulls guard in charge

On the court, senior point guard Brian Swift will effortlessly sink a three-point shot off the dribble and, minutes later, nail a no-look pass around the outside of the zone. In his final season as a Bull and as one of the team’s leaders, Swift will have many opportunities to score big for the men’s basketball team.

In the record books, Swift is already in the top 10 of USF’s career assist list with 301. Following the 62-61 loss to UAB on Jan. 8, he leads the team in assists (73), averaging 6.5 per game, and is second on the team in scoring (198), averaging 15.2 points a game.

“Brian has done a tremendous job of providing leadership for the team. He leads like you expect a leader to do,” coach Robert McCullum said. “His assist-to-turnover ratio is above 2 to 1, he’s shooting the ball really well and he’s even improved his defense. He’s making 80 percent of his free throws, so by all of the standards a point guard is evaluated, I don’t know if we could be more pleased.”

Undoubtedly, this Warrensville, Ohio native is passionate about continuing to lead the Bulls from his seat at the top of the three-point arch.

“It’s a fun job. I like the responsibility. You know, someone has to do it; why not me?” Swift said.

As the outspoken leader, Swift reassures his teammates enthusiastically and is always determined to win, all while handling the pressures of keeping the team unity with a grin.

“Every time there’s a foul or every time somebody shoots a free throw, we try to huddle up, call the next play or try to get everyone to settle down,” Swift said.

“My teammates (and I) are always smiling. They go out there smiling. It’s a game; that’s the key to having fun and that makes everything better.”

Swift shares his leadership responsibilities with fellow senior Terrence Leather, who leads the team in scoring (241) and rebounding (120).

“Brian means a lot to this team,” Leather said. “He’s our voice. He’s our passer. Most of all, he’s the voice of our team. We look to Brian to lead us through the whole year.”

Coming off a 7-20 record in the 2003-04 season, Swift anticipates a surprising future for the Bulls, who have a lot to prove and have gone 5-1 at home through 13 games this season.

“He’s off to a great start on the floor,” McCullum said. “As a point guard, he has a lot of responsibility, and he’s done a great job of taking care of the ball, which is one of the primary responsibilities of a point guard — to get the basketball to the players who need it, doing it timely, and helping keep the pressure on.”

Such versatility is required from any point guard in the game, and Swift can see the ball is in his court.

“I just try to make it the whole team and get my teammates shots,” Swift said. “I just keep getting open for them, and if they continue to make shots, it’s going to make our team that much better”