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Leather looking ahead

With his USF basketball career in the rear-view, Terrence Leather is ready to take the first step toward a professional basketball career.

A solid mainstay on the USF roster for five seasons, Leather’s first stop will be at next weekend’s Portsmouth Invitational in Virginia, the only postseason event prior to the NBA Draft Camp in Chicago.

Portsmouth will welcome 64 of the nation’s top senior prospects — Duke’s Daniel Ewing and Kentucky’s Chuck Hayes, among others — and should attract roughly 200 representatives from the NBA.

Leather says he can’t wait.

“I feel good about the opportunity to show my skills,” the 6-foot-9 Robinson High grad said. “I’m also happy about the fact I was recognized as one of the top seniors in the country. It’s exciting to be playing again.”

Coach Robert McCullum had some advice for Leather before he departed for Virginia.

“I just told him to do the things he’s done every day, all year,” McCullum said. “I told him to play within himself and play hard each possession. If he does those things, he’ll make a good showing for himself.”

Leather is coming off the most productive year of his career, averaging 18.2 points and 9.6 rebounds a season. He was the only player in Conference USA to rank in the top five in both categories. And after two dominating performances during USF’s surprising run in the conference tournament, Leather’s stock rose, along with his status as one of the conference’s top forwards.

Already graduated with a degree in speech communications, Leather, 24, is not only preparing for basketball camp, but also his second daughter, saying he expects her to be born “any day now.”

“I’m just waiting,” he said.

Leather’s priority is clearly his family, and that sentiment is echoed when he talks about his future.

“Yeah, I want to play basketball somewhere,” he said. “And make a good living for my family.”

After Portsmouth, Leather hopes to get an invitation to NBA workouts in Chicago, which would be the next stepping-stone to the NBA Draft, and, if anything, another setting to showcase his skills.

“(Portsmouth) is a good opportunity in front of a lot of NBA scouts and general managers,” Leather said. “I’m not looking to prove anything, I’m not looking to do something out of the ordinary. I’ll just be the same old Terrence Leather you saw for five years, and that will be it.”