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Kasean Pryor is finally experiencing a breakthrough

Junior forward Kasean Pryor (left) became the only Bull over the past 25 seasons to have over 20 points, 10 rebounds and two three-pointers made in back-to-back games. USF ATHLETICS PHOTO

Junior forward Kasean Pryor stepped to the free throw line at FedEx Forum with the chance to secure USF’s first Top 10 win in over a decade over Memphis last Thursday. 

In that moment, his demeanor was anything but rattled. 

“I’m just breathing,” he said at a postgame press conference on Friday. “I’m just chilling in the light, you know?” 

Pryor would sink the game-winning free throw, giving USF the 74-73 victory over No. 10 Memphis. 

Related: USF men’s basketball stun No. 10 Memphis in thrilling comeback

The shot encapsulated one of the most dominant week’s for a single player in USF men’s basketball – en route to winning American Conference Player of the Week.

After almost single-handedly engineering a comeback win over Rice on Jan. 12 – scoring a program record for points in a single half with 27 – Pryor etched himself into the college basketball history books. 

He became the first Division I player with at least 25 points, five steals and five blocks in a game since 2008. 

Related: Pryor leads Bulls’ second-half comeback against Rice

Pryor considers himself a “6-foot-10-inch guard.” But the alleged finesse of a guard doesn’t mean he’s not bullying defenders in the paint. 

Over the past three games, he’s scored 45 of his 75 points at the line, shooting an incredible 96% from the charity stripe. 

Pryor’s ability to draw fouls has become central to his – and the team’s – recent success. He attempted 11 free throws against the Shockers. But for the second consecutive game, Pryor’s final trip to the line secured the win. 

Bulls coach Amir Abdur-Rahim said he coaches him harder than anybody else on the team. But for Abdur-Rahim, that’s just a testament to Pryor’s untapped potential.

“I know what he means to this team, and I know where he can go,” Abdur-Rahim said. 

A breakout of this caliber has been a long time coming for the journeyman Pryor.

He started his career playing at Boise State, averaging just 1.8 points per game in minimal playing time over two seasons. 

Pryor then transferred to junior college Northwest Florida in 2022, ranking second on the team with 14.8 points per game. That was good enough for JUCO First-Team All-American. 

He had offers from North Carolina State, St. Johns and New Mexico. But after deciding to commit to USF, he realized that it was exactly where he needed to be. 

“It’s incredible. Coach Amir allows me to be who I am,” Pryor said. “The freedom that he’s given me has allowed me to grow. I felt like I was one of the talented guys on the team [at Boise State]. I just didn’t really have the opportunity to play or show it.” 

Next up, USF will take on Temple in Philadelphia on Wednesday. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN+ and Bulls Unlimited.