Season ends on senior night

MEN’S BASKETBALL GAME TIMENotre Dame (23-6, 13-4) at USF (12-18, 3-14)When: Tonight, 7Where: Sun DomeTV/Radio: ESPN360/1250 AM

Senior night is one of the most emotional nights in college sports. Players, coaches, parents and fans become more aware of what the game means to everybody involved.

On Saturday, the South Florida men’s basketball team will say goodbye to its seniors after taking on the No. 19 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (23-6, 13-4).

“Senior nights are emotional nights,” USF coach Stan Heath said. “There’s a happy tear because you spend time with the guys and they become part of your extended family, and I know they feel the same way.”

The Bulls (12-18, 3-14) will send off three seniors Saturday. Guard Eddie Lovett and forward Mohamed Esseghir have been used as reserves and have seen limited action for most of the season.

Center Kentrell Gransberry, however, has been a staple in the Bulls’ starting lineup during his two years at USF.

As a Bull, Gransberry has averaged 15.9 points, 11.2 rebounds, and one block per game. On the court he is a leader, but teammates will miss Gransberry for the person he is outside the gym as well.

“He’s been a major contributor to this program,” sophomore guard Chris Howard said. “He’s more than just a teammate: He’s a good person. We’re going to try and go out and get this win against Notre Dame just for him and the other two seniors. It’s just important for seniors to go out with a win.”

“It’s going to be really tough not having Kentrell around,” Heath said. “He’s such a high-character person, and he’s done so much in such a short amount of time. People are going to look back on his scoring and rebounding, and those are impressive, impressive numbers. But I’m going to look back at what a great kid he is and the inspiration he has been for a lot of people.”

Gransberry – who led the Big East Conference in rebounds for nearly the entirety of his two seasons at USF – knows that Saturday’s game will be an emotional one.

“I just want to go out there and have fun with the guys one last time,” Gransberry said. “I know it’s going to be very emotional, but I’m going to go out there and play hard, and try to get a win just like any other game.”

Fittingly, Gransberry will face what is arguably his toughest test during his last game as a Bull.

He will try to contain Luke Harangody – the Notre Dame sophomore forward who leads the Big East in scoring with 21 ppg and trails only Gransberry in rpg with 10.4.

“Harangody has been the frontrunner for MVP of our conference this year,” Heath said. “It’s going to be an interesting matchup, but I look for Kentrell to have a big game. I know the fans are going to be encouraging him.”

The Bulls look to give the seniors a fond memory of their final game.

“It’s a bittersweet night, but I don’t want to forget to include Eddie Lovett or Mohamed Esseghir,” Heath said. “(Along with Gransberry), those are our three seniors, and we want to do it for them.”