As the injury bug continues to bother the USF men’s basketball team (2-0), coach Robert McCullum said his players are handling the added pressure well.
“In terms of asking guys to play more minutes than they expected to play and asking them to play different positions, all things considered, I think they’ve done an outstanding job,” said McCullum, whose Bulls travel to face Florida International University tonight at 7.
McCullum said on Monday that Collin Dennis, who injured his Achilles tendon in USF’s win over Alcorn State on Nov. 11, is doubtful against FIU.
“I don’t know when he’s coming back – hopefully sooner than later,” McCullum said. “But when he comes back, we’ll be stronger at the point-guard position and as a team.”
Dennis, a natural shooting guard, stepped into the point-guard role when true-freshman starting point guard Chris Howard tore his ACL during practice on Nov. 1, ending his season.
As a result of these injuries, USF played only six in its win over Jacksonville University.
Despite the tough luck, McCullum said his players have handled everything well.
Junior Chris Capko, who played a career-high 33 minutes and dished out 12 assists in that game, should continue to see playing time at point guard when Dennis returns, McCullum said.
“They’ll definitely share the position,” McCullum said. “I don’t know if it’s a natural position for either of them, certainly not for Collin, but Collin’s a more experienced player, a better athlete. But there’s a need for both of them.”
This game will be the first for freshman forward Zaronn Cann, who has been sidelined with an injury and missed the first two games.
“He’ll give us a presence inside, he can score, he can really rebound the basketball and he’s got a great feel for the game,” McCullum said. “It means we’ll have another quality inside player.”
FIU (2-2) is coming off a 69-56 loss to Florida A&M and hasn’t beat USF since the 1988-89 season. Last year, USF beat the Golden Panthers 74-66 at the Sun Dome. USF hasn’t traveled to FIU since the 1991-92 season.