The men’s basketball season has come to an end with the Dons splitting their final two games of the season. On Feb. 26 they lost a close game to Loyola Marymount, 61-57. But the Dons would later pull it together for their final game as they won 70-62 against Pepperdine. This puts their season record to 11-18 overall and 3-11 in the WCC.
The Dons’ WCC record puts them in the seventh seed in the WCC tournament, which starts Mar. 6 in Las Vegas. The Dons will sixth seed Pepperdine in their first game. During the regular season the Dons split the series against Pepperdine, losing at home 69-67 and winning on the road 70-62. This is a winnable game for USF and they could easily advance to the next round of the tournament, which will be better than they did last year.
Rex Walters has done an excellent job of improving the USF program so far in his first season as head coach . Hopefully Walters can continue to rebuild the basketball program and put the team at a more competitive level. A win in the WCC tournament would help.
Another way that Walters can continue to improve the basketball program is through recruiting. Recruiting season has already started and the Dons have signed one recruit, and are wooing several others.
The Dons have reportedly signed center Perris Blackwell out of Etiwanda High School. ESPN has Blackwell rated as the 48th best center and gave him an 85 overall rating. His rating means that ESPN scouts believe that he is an outstanding prospect that will be able to contribute immediately. Blackwell is listed at six foot eight and weighs 240 pounds. Scouting reports say that Blackwell is a natural scorer that can score with either hand and that he has great footwork. He should compete for playing time right away and may even start.
The Dons are also recruiting Dominique O’Connor who is a point guard out of Westchester High School. O’Connor has yet to make a decision on where he will go next year but the Dons are one of the teams he is considering. ESPN has given him a rating of 86, which means he is an outstanding prospect as well. If O’Connor signs with the Dons then that will give USF two outstanding-level prospects. Getting both of these prospects would be great for the program; it would immediately make it better. Hopefully the Dons can continue to sign solid prospects because it would put this program back to respectability. Coach Walters has done a great job so far, let’s hope he continues to successfully rebuild the program.