USF's Brian Gregory praises staff for re-loading roster
During four sleep-deprived weeks of recruiting and evaluating, new USF men's coach Brian Gregory somehow landed nine recruits and one house.
At this stage, he's far more familiar with the specs and dimensions of his new guys than his new digs.
"The (west Tampa) house we're moving into next week, I've been to once," Gregory acknowledged Thursday. "My wife did all that."
In stunningly short order, Gregory and his staff managed to replenish a roster reduced to four scholarship players in the wake of a dreadful 2016-17 season resulting in the early-January dismissal of Coach Orlando Antigua.
The incoming class (listed here) comprises six players (three freshmen, three transfers), not counting three graduate transfers whom Gregory's still not at liberty to discuss. All except two are expected to be eligible for the 2017-18 season.
Gregory described it as four frenetic weeks of traveling, evaluating, phoning and caffeinating.
"It was non-stop. I mean, it was all day and all night on the phone," the native Chicago North Sider (and Cubs fan) said.
"There were times in there where we could get out, so now we're flying, driving, going to see as many of these kids as we could. ... So if we weren't on the phone or in the gym or watching film, then we were in the staff room going down our list and trying to put the guys in order in terms of priority list.
"The thing I'm comfortable with, in each one of those areas, those kids were our top priorities. So I feel good about that."
Though reticent to single out any signee, Gregory acknowledged being more than a little surprised at some of the players the Bulls were able to acquire. Seven-foot-2 Serbian Nikola Scekic, who played briefly at New Mexico, was fresh off a national title season at Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College.
And Gregory -- a former longtime Michigan State staffer -- distinctly remembers a conversation with veteran Spartans assistant Dwayne Stephens about Bulls incoming freshman Alexis Yetna.
He said, 'That kid's a junkyard dog, man, he's like a Michigan State player,'" Gregory recalled.
"So when you add all those things up, yeah, you can get involved in guys, but to finish the job like that, that's where the staff just did an unbelievable job."