Bulls’ airport fiasco highlights issues with program

USF has gone 1-13 since interim head coach Murry Bartow took over for former coach Orlando Antigua at the beginning of January.

The USF men’s basketball team has exhausted all possible ways to lose on the court this season, as they’ve stumbled to a 7-20 record and have made a home out of the cellar of the AAC.

But the Bulls took their dismal season to new depths Friday when two players — leading scorers Geno Thorpe and Troy Holston — were left asleep at the Houston airport while the team flew back to Tampa. 

“This unfortunate circumstance, for which I apologize, was recognized by our staff as the plane was leaving the gate and not in time to get the players on the commercial flight,” interim coach Murry Bartow said in a statement. “We immediately began to make arrangements to get the players on the very next flight to Tampa, and were in communication with them as soon as was possible.”

Holston’s mother took to Twitter to voice her displeasure at the team, and within hours, USF had made its only national headlines of the season outside of its ongoing NCAA investigation for academic fraud. 

“When U think it cant get any worse THEY LEAVE UR SON +1 BEHIND SLEEPING AT THE AIRPORT GATE! Is there any other way 2 say ur not important?” Monique Holston-Greene tweeted.

Personal responsibility aside, this level of incompetence shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s followed the program. 

Year-in and year-out, USF has shown it can’t sustain success on the court. 

Losing nearly every game is tough enough, but when that propensity for failure bleeds into the team’s off-court life, it’s enough to make you question everyone involved. 

Granted, two adults who are no strangers to traveling across the country should be responsible enough to catch their own flights. But for no one on the team to not notice that two players on a 13-man roster are missing, it calls into question the team’s attention to detail.

This is unfortunate for Bartow, as he’s shown an exuberance of passion and work ethic that have been absent from the men’s side of the Muma Center since former coach Orlando Antigua’s early days. 

However, this incident coupled with the team’s unsightly 1-13 record under his lead should be more than enough to prompt athletic director Mark Harlan to probe elsewhere for the Bulls’ next coach. 

USF men’s basketball has slowly become the forgotten team on campus as the football team has stepped back to the forefront and other sports such as men’s and women’s soccer, women’s basketball, softball and baseball have all made postseason tournaments in the past two years. 

Turning around USF men’s basketball is clearly not going to be a quick fix, but in a year where the Bulls have left more players at an airport than games won, something’s gotta give.