At Monday’s practice, where members of the media would typically speak with USF coach Stan Heath and select players, one player turned the tables.
Junior guard Anthony Collins sought out the media with an issue he felt needed to be addressed. According to him, there has been speculation that he is looking into transferring schools.
Collins reinjured his knee earlier in the season, after an offseason surgery. The Bulls have more than struggled in his absence.
USF (10-10, 1-6) has lost four straight games by an average of 21.25 points per game. Accusations about the team losing focus and giving up have poured in via Twitter.
From the team hanging their heads Wednesday in a 39-point trouncing from defending champion Louisville to leading scorer senior forward Victor Rudd being benched Sunday for almost the entire second half against Memphis, some fans may feel their tweets were warranted.
“I still want to be here and play for Coach Heath,” Collins said. “He’s the one who recruited me, I support him 100 percent.”
Like the Bulls, Collins said he has been subject to comments regarding his dedication.
“(There are) people who doubt me and there’s always speculation,” Collins said.
Rudd’s benching highlighted a frustrating collapse against Memphis and brought into light questions about his effort and focus. Heath didn’t comment on the benching until Monday’s practice.
“It was a coaching decision that had to do with his focus,” he said. “As long as he practices well and does the things he needs to do, he’ll be fine.”
The losing streak has clearly had an impact on the team and SMU (16-4, 5-2) won’t make it any easier for the Bulls who haven’t won since Jan. 9’s away game against Temple. USF’s last win at home was Dec. 19 against Florida A & M.
In the Bulls most recent meeting with SMU on Jan. 15 in Dallas, they fell to the Mustangs 71-54.
“When we hit the adversity, we have to fight through it. First time around against SMU, they just jumped us, so we’ve got to be able to handle that,” Heath said. “I’m looking (to) the older guys to do it, but it’s got to be a collective effort.”
The Mustangs have been riding a five-game winning streak since then and currently sit at third place in the American Athletic Conference.
Considering USF’s play recently, Heath has been tinkering with the lineup, but said he’ll probably go with the same one used against Memphis.
This would mean juniors Corey Allen Jr. and Shemiye McLendon will start at guard, Rudd and sophomore Zach LeDay will start at forward, and freshman John Egbunu will be the starting center.
Tip-off will be at 7 p.m. in the Sun Dome.