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USF hoops recruiting: Best ever?
Posted Nov 15, 2012 by Joey Johnston
Updated Nov 15, 2012 at 01:36 PM
The University of South Florida men’s basketball team arguable landed the top recruiting class in program history, including a pair of top 100 ESPN recruits.
There have been other top classes. The 1997 class, which included four-year starters B.B. Waldon and Altron Jackson (combined 2,869 career points and 1,506 rebounds), was ultra productive.
But on paper, based on high-school accolades and achievements, it would be hard to match the six recruits signed by Stan Heath on Wednesday.
John Egbunu (6-10, 230), Fort Walton Beach HS: Egbunu is ranked 72nd nationally by ESPN and seventh overall for his position.
Chris Perry (6-8, 245), Bartow HS: Perry is ESPN’s No. 96-ranked player. He averaged 13.3 points and 11.5 rebounds as a junior. Heath said Perry has a 7-foot-4 wingspan.
Dre Clayton (6-6, 245), Orlando Evans HS: Clayton averaged 11 points and 7.6 rebounds last season for Orlando Christian Prep, which won the Class 2A state title. Clayton plays for Chucky Atkins, the former USF point guard and first-year coach at Evans.
Josh Heath (6-2, 165), Tampa Prep: The coach’s son averaged 12.4 points, 7.1 assists and 2.5 steals while leading Tampa Prep to the Class 3A state title. The younger Heath was the Tampa Tribune’s Hillsborough County Player of the Year last season.
Byron “Bo’’ Zeigler (6-6, 185), Detroit Community School: Zeiger is the No. 22-ranked small forward by ESPN. He’s a long, athletic wing who plays excellent defense.
Drew Davis (6-0, 165), Fort Walton Beach HS: The point guard is a high-school teammate of John Egbunu. Both played AAU ball for Team Georgia Elite.
“Signing this many high level, in-state guys shows that we have made a major jump in recruiting,’’ Heath said. “We’ve been able to shift toward the four-year guy and especially the four-year guys that are very coveted nationally.’‘
Heath’s class comes after the Bulls finished 22-14 and earned the program’s first NCAA tournament bid since 1992. And the renovated Sun Dome, which reopened after a $35.6-million makeover, was undoubtedly an attraction.
“This is no question the best class that Stan Heath has ever had at South Florida and most likely the best class the program has had in its history,’’ ESPN recruiting analyst Paul Biancardi said in a USF news release. “It’s top heavy and everyone is going to contribute over the long haul. Coach Heath has proven he can recruit in the state and his staff is sensational. ... This is a class that you can build on immediately and over time and that’s the key to recruiting. You don’t want to be a one-hit wonder.’‘