Participated in a brief Q&A with good friend Ken over at SB Nation's South Florida blog, Voodoo 5 in preparation for Wednesday's game. Here are his answers to my questions. Be sure to head over to his site to view my answers to his.
1. South Florida has had some really tough losses this year. Two-point double-overtime loss to BYU, five-point loss at UConn, one-point loss against Marquette, and three other losses by five points or less. I get the idea that South Florida is probably a better team than they're record. Do you get that feeling, too?
The short and long answer is no. I'm sure if we played in C-USA or the A-Sun, our record would be a litter better but this is a bad basketball team. We turn the ball over way too much, there is no team chemistry, and most everyone has that "I hope this is over soon" look on their face. Its the exact opposite of last year's 20 win team.
2. Where exactly does Stan Heath stand with fans? He had a couple of down seasons when he came over to South Florida from Arkansas, but last year, led the Bulls to a 20-win season. Now, they're in the midst of a tough year (though losing Dominique Jones didn't help, obviously) despite being mostly competitive this year. I can't imagine he's in any danger of losing his job, but what's the feeling amongst fans?
There are a few people who demand 20 win season or else, but most of the fan base knows that this year and possibly the next are rebuilding years. We lost a lot of talent and the leaders of the team when Chris Howard and Dominique Jones left the program.
Athletics is finally giving Heath some help with recruiting with the 50,000 sq. ft Muma Basketball Center that will give the men's and women's basketball team their own practice gyms. For as long as I can remember, both basketball teams and the volleyball team had to share the same practice facility, and if the Corral was overbooked, they were forced to go to the Student Rec Center for practice. Not something a lot of kids want to deal with while in college. We're also giving the Sun Dome a 38 million dollar face lift that will finally bring it into the 21st century. The Dome will have suites and loge boxes, they will finally close off the lower bowl completely, and our concession stands might even be able to process credit cards now.
Even if they wanted to fire Stan, he just signed a new 5 year contract extension over the offseason and I don't think the Athletic Department has a couple of million lying around the office with all the new upgrades. I think he has 2-3 years with the new facilities before Athletic Director Woolard even thinks about axing Heath.
3. It's safe to say that I expected a little more out of Augustus Gilchrist this year. With Jones gone, I figured they'd need to rely on him a bit more offensively. But his point production has actually decreased slightly and he's shooting only around 43% - which is less than average for a big man. Can you pinpoint his struggles at all (if you'd even call them struggles)?
You aren't the only one. I think his biggest struggle is passing the ball. Even when two or three people on him, he looks for his shot before finding a wide open teammate. He has a great array of post moves when he does get the ball down low, but he is content staying 18-20 feet away from the basket and throwing up contested jumpers. Just not what we expected this year from him.
4. Is there any NBA potential on the Bulls' roster this season? Could you see anyone maybe not making the NBA, but playing professionally overseas?
If Gilchrist cared, I think he'd be in the league. He has 1st round talent, but his passion for the game has gone out the window. Soph. SG Jawanza Poland is an athletic freak, he just needs a little more time perfecting his jump shot and figuring out how to stay out of foul trouble. I think by the time he's a senior, he will be a great player.
Hugh Robertson, Jarrid Famous, and Ron Anderson Jr. are all guys who I could see having an impact overseas. Hugh is an athletic 6'6 wing who's started to figure it out as the season has gone along, even becoming more of a vocal leader recently, which is something we've desperately needed this season. He's done a good job recently attacking the rim after being timid for the first half of the year.
Jarrid is an athletic 6'11 forward who will find a place to ply his craft overseas. He does have a problem against guys with some weight on them, so hitting the weight room is key for Famous. Ron is a 6'8 post who will battle for 40 minutes. He has a knack at knowing where the ball is, and handles the ball well for a guy his size. Ron definitely has the pedigree for a professional career. His father Ron Anderson Sr. just retired at the age of 51 after spending 10 years in the NBA, then enjoying a long career in Europe.
5. The Bulls lose only one player to graduation next season. With this year winding down, how do you see next year shaping out? Do you think the Bulls contend for a postseason berth?
It depends on who else Stan brings in this year. I think there will be 2 or 3 guys leaving this offseason for one reason or another. If we can find a competent point guard, then yes I think we contend for some sort of postseason berth. Even a CBI invite would be good for the program right now as sad as it sounds.