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Gilchrist gets waiver

South Florida men’s basketball coach Stan Heath and the men’s basketball team received good news from the NCAA on Wednesday evening — freshman forward Gus Gilchrist was granted a hardship waiver and will be eligible to play for USF this season.

“We’re all thrilled,” Heath said in a phone interview. “Our players were so excited that several of them called me as soon as they found out to let me know how excited they were to have Gus as part of this team this season.”

Gilchrist has taken an unusual road to USF. He signed his letter of intent to play at Virginia Tech in November 2006 but got out of his commitment after the campus shootings. Instead, he enrolled at Maryland where he expected to lose one semester of eligibility.

After learning that he would lose an additional year of eligibility for transferring between two Atlantic Coast Conference schools, he transferred to USF.

Because of the hardship waiver, he will keep that year and be eligible as a freshman. However, he isn’t allowed to play until the fall semester ends, so he will make his debut Dec. 14 against Niagara.

The NCAA reviews cases individually, and the Bulls have been waiting since August to find out whether Gilchrist could play.

“That’s the way it is,” Heath said. “The NCAA was thorough, and we appreciate that. The good news that came from the wait is that he’ll be able to play this season.”

Gilchrist — a 6-foot 10-inch forward/center — was the No. 9 player at his position in 2007, according to, and the No. 52 overall player, according to

“He’s a guy that gives us a scoring punch on the front line,” Heath said. “He can play with his back to the basket and he can also step out and play on the perimeter. Along with his rebounding, that’s a pretty good package.”

Heath said the Bulls need his size in the frontcourt, which has only two healthy players — seniors Aris Williams and B.J. Ajayi.

“This was very important,” he said. “The depth in the front court was a big concern. Now, we have another player — a very talented player — and that’s really going to boost our team.”