Gregory to look locally to rebuild

New USF coach Brian Gregory will have plenty of open scholarships to offer both local high school players and transfers.

With only seven players left on his roster, newly hired USF coach Brian Gregory is tasked with finding local talent to rejuvenate USF men’s basketball, which hasn’t had a winning record in five seasons.

Taking the reins from interim head coach Murry Bartow on March 12, Gregory saw his roster of 13 players – none of which were seniors – dwindle to seven in a two-week span.

Amid an NCAA investigation for academic fraud and three consecutive seasons with a single digit win total, the Bulls currently have no commits for their 2017 recruiting class. 

However, Gregory looks to change that ASAP when the recruiting period reopens Thursday afternoon, targeting Tampa Bay players first.

"We want to identify recruits that are high-character, high-talent fit our system, fit our style of play, fit the vision and the mission of the university,” Gregory said at his introductory press conference March 20. “We want to do that locally first and then move out from there.”

High schoolers may not be the only Bay area players on Gregory’s radar.

Juwan Durham, a talented power forward from Tampa, announced Monday morning that he’d be transferring from UConn, a school USF fell to three times last season.

Durham, a 6-foot-11 standout at Tampa Preparatory School, averaged a double-double in his junior season with the Terps, scoring 22.9 points and grabbing 10.2 rebounds a game before tearing his ACL and missing his senior season.

Joe Fenlon, Durham’s high school coach said that he believes Durham, whose header photo on Twitter is the Tampa skyline, wants to play closer to home and that affected his decision to transfer. 

The Bulls lost three big men with similar builds to Durham – Rueben Guerrero, Luis Santos, and Bo Zeigler – to transfers during the offseason.

Whether it be Durham or other Bay area prep stars, Gregory will be recruiting Tampa hard.