Antigua fills void with Penn State transfer

Coach Orlando Antigua signed Penn State guard Geno Thorpe on Wednesday, but the rising junior won’t be able to help the Bulls’ lack of depth at the position until he is eligible to play next season.  ORACLE FILE PHOTO/ADAM MATHIEU

The USF men’s basketball team entered the summer with its depth at guard a strength, as over half the roster had some experience at the position. 

But coach Orlando Antigua and the Bulls recently found themselves without two guards who were expected to see significant playing time. 

Antigua made sure the Bulls wouldn’t be without help for too long as he signed Penn State transfer player Geno Thorpe to a financial aid agreement early Wednesday.

Thorpe won’t be able to add depth right away, as he can’t play in games until the 2016-17 season due to NCAA transfer rules.

Rising sophomore Troy Holston Jr. will likely be back on the court by the time Thorpe is eligible, as recoveries from ACL tears generally take anywhere from six to nine months.

But Thorpe will fill the void made by Lee Junior College player Shawn Smith when he chose to not enroll at USF after verbally committing when he visited the campus in March.

The 6-foot-3, 180-pound guard was ranked as a three-star recruit coming out of high school and played in all
34 games for the Nittany Lions last season as a sophomore, starting 17 and averaging
8.7 points per game. 

At 83.9 percent, Thorpe was the Nittany Lions’ best free-throw shooter last season.

In his only season playing Division I basketball, Smith averaged 5.7 points and
3.2 rebounds per game for Texas A&M in the 2013-14 season.

But even with the addition of Thorpe, Antigua still lacks depth at the guard position for the upcoming season.

Antigua still has one scholarship available, but he would have to find a way to add a junior college player or one with an exception to the NCAA’s transfer rule — something difficult to accomplish this late in the offseason.

With leading scorer Corey Allen Jr. gone, Antigua and the Bulls will likely have to rely on Maryland-transfer Roddy Peters and freshman guard Jahmal McMurray more than anticipated.