Stan Heath and the Bulls kicked off the early signing period with the announcement that the Bulls Men's Basketball program has signed three top recruits to National Letters of Intent. The Bulls top rated class by Hoopscoop.com features two top junior college standouts in center Waverly Austin, a 6-foot-11 center from Palm Beach State College, Musa Abdul-Aleem , a 6-foot-5, shooting guard from Georgia Perimeter College, and Huntington Prep star point guard Javontae Hawkins.
"This is our best early signing period we've had at USF," said Head Coach Stan Heath. "We're bringing in three guys that are all high impact players who can add a lot to our team next season and really I think, take us to the next level as a program. We've added size. We've added shooting. We've added athleticism and overall they all have a really good motor to compete at a very high level."
Heath signing class is shaping up to be one of the best in the programs history and is already drawing praise from industry experts, including Hoopscooponline.com, which has the class rated 12th nationally, and ESPN's Paul Biancardi.
"USF has had a banner year in recruiting. This is potentially the best class in head coach Stan Heath's tenure and may be the best in the school's history," said Paul Biancardi of ESPN. "The class is highlighted by ESPNU Top 100 player Javontae Hawkins who possesses great size and athleticism on the perimeter along with two outstanding junior college prospects in JC All-American candidates Waverly Austin and Musa Abdul-Aleem who both should be impact players for the Bulls. This class should help South Florida leapfrog a few teams in the always difficult BIG EAST."
Musa Abdul-Aleem is a 6-5 shooting guard currently playing at Georgia Perimeter College that committed to USF after a visit in September. During his freshman season he averaged a team-best 14.6 points and 5.5 rebounds per game and was named the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association's freshman of the Year and earned a spot on the NJCAA all-region first team. Musa then blew up this summer after being named a top performer at the Jerry Mullen's JUCO Top 100 Camp in St. Charles MO, and the All-American JUCO Showcase in Orlando, FL . Abdul-Aleem received interest from Memphis, Georgetown, Gonzaga, and West Virginia among many others before choosing USF.
"Musa is a phenomenal athlete with great size that can shoot the lights out," said Clark Francis of Hoopscooponline.com.
"Musa caught our eye this summer and was physically - at 6-5, 220 pounds - very gifted with his athleticism and strength but his jump shot is an NBA type shot. He shoots with range. He gets it off quick and shoots at a very high percentage," said Heath. "He's definitely a guy that I think will be an instant impact and someone that will be talked about a lot next season."
Waverly Austin, a 6-11 center originally from Fredericksburg, Virginia, that spent the last two years at Palm Beach State College was the 2011-12 Junior College Preseason Player of the Year after averaging 18.2 points, 10.3 rebounds and 3.8 blocks per game last season. Austin, who originally committed to the Bulls in 2010, received interest from Kansas and North Carolina among others before re-committing to the Bulls and will give USF a big inside presence that will be much needed when big men Augustus Gilchrist and Ron Anderson Jr leave following the end of the season.
"Austin with his ridiculous athleticism has the potential to be a dynamic player for the Bulls especially in the BIG EAST," added Clark Francis of HoopScoopOnline.com.
"With our needs at the big man spot, there weren't many big men in the country better than Waverly. Having two years of junior college level play under his belt when he comes to Tampa, he should be a guy that contributes very well for us in his first season," said Heath.. He's got nice hands, nice touch and is a guy who rebounds the ball well and he's the preseason JUCO player of the year for this season.
Javontae Hawkins, a standout shooting guard originally out of Flint, MI, spent the last two years at Huntington Prep in West Virginia is the top prep prospect in the class. The 6-5, 200 pound PG is a four-star prospect that is rated No. 89 overall and 16th at his position by ESPN and No. 96 overall by CBSCollegeSports.com. At Huntington Prep he is averaging 17.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. Hawkins received heavy interest including West Virginia, Arizona State and Vanderbilt among many others.
"Hawkins is a multi-dimensional player who should make an immediate impact at USF with his long range shooting ability," added Francis.
"Javontae is 6-5 and is athletic shooting guard who plays well off the dribble and slashes but can also shoot from long range. He's a guy that really goes hard and competes," said Heath. "He's playing at one of the top prep schools in the country going up some very good competition which will help him transition to BIG EAST play.
Since Stan Heath arrived at USF, this is by far the best class to date, and added with the Bulls brand new state-of-the-art facilities, gives the Bulls a very bright future
"I think all three are guys that have competed against high level competition so taking that next step won't be as much of an adjustment for them to compete at the BIG EAST level," added Heath.Click here to share your thoughts with other USF fans!