Mystery still surrounds the South Florida basketball program after sophomore Chris Perry went to the hospital this weekend after experiencing chest pains.
Perry missed the Bulls’ loss at UConn on Sunday after being hospitalized on Saturday, and according to a report from Joey Knight of the Tampa Bay Times, the 6-foot-8 forward still hasn’t returned to practice yet as of Tuesday. He was supposed to get more tests done upon returning to Tampa Bay, but the results of those tests have not been revealed.
“We don’t know,” South Florida head coach Orlando Antigua said to Knight about Perry’s status. “Right now we’re still unclear and unsure, but he’s day to day.”
This is obviously concerning for the Bulls, since Perry is such an important part of their production. More importantly, it would be nice to make sure that everything checks out medically for Perry and he’s okay.
The sophomore is averaging 10.8 points and 7.1 rebounds per game, but as Knight noted, those numbers have declined over the last four games. Perry hasn’t scored more than six points in a game in his last four appearances, and hopefully, it doesn’t have anything to do with this health issue.
Already facing an uphill battle against UConn Sunday afternoon, USF had to play the game without its best front court player in Chris Perry. According to multiple reports Perry experienced chest pains during the team’s workout on Saturday and was hospitalized. Perry did join his teammates on the sidelines during the second half of USF’s 66-53 loss to the Huskies.
According to the Associated Press, Perry will undergo further testing upon the team’s return to Tampa.
Perry’s started 18 of the 19 games he’s played in this season, averaging 10.1 points and a team-best 7.1 rebounds per game. Without Perry head coach Orlando Antigua inserted redshirt freshman guard/forward Bo Zeigler into the lineup against UConn, and he finished the game with seven points and two rebounds in 23 minutes of action.
Taking care of the defensive glass has been an issue for the Bulls all season long, as they rank ninth in the American in defensive rebounding percentage (66.9%). That wasn’t the biggest problem for USF in their loss to UConn (keeping Ryan Boatright in check was), but if Allen is to miss an extended period of time that would undoubtedly hurt the Bulls as they look to climb up the conference standings.
One of the players expected to step forward for USF head coach Orlando Antigua in his first season at the helm is sophomore forward/center Chris Perry, who averaged 8.9 points and 5.3 rebounds per game in 2013-14. Perry missed the team’s first exhibition game last week with a right knee issue, but it’s been announced by the program that he will be on the court when the Bulls play their final exhibition game Friday night.
Perry’s a key player for the Bulls, especially when considering the fact that they have to account for the loss of their top two scorers from last season (Victor Rudd Jr. and Martino Brock) and center John Egbunu (who transferred to Florida). Perry started ten of USF’s 32 games last season, and his production resulted in a spot on the American Athletic Conference All-Rookie Team.
USF doesn’t have much in the way of front court depth heading into the 2014-15 season, with first-year players Jaleel Cousins (junior college transfer) and Dre Clayton (redshirt freshman) also expected to figure prominently in Antigua’s plans. USF started their first exhibition game, a 77-72 win over Indiana University (of Pennsylvania), with four guards and Cousins at the center position.
Cousins finished the game with 13 points, five rebounds and three blocked shots, with Clayton adding seven points and three rebounds off the bench. Another first-year big man, 6-foot-11 freshman Ruben Guerrero, sat out the game with a groin injury. USF opens its regular season schedule November 16 with a home game against Jackson State.
On Tuesday, Mark Harlan, formerly of UCLA, was introduced as South Florida’s new athletic director. During his introductory comments, Harlan explained what his schedule held in the coming days, saying he would meet with student-athletes and “…listen, listen, listen … then evaluate. Then I will act. I want to learn what’s working, what’s not working, then make some decisions. There are some decisions that need to be made.” The next day, USF dropped a closely-contested AAC tournament game to Rutgers. While Harlan doesn’t officially start until April 7th, Harlan apparently listened and evaluated on Thursday before acting today, firing coach Stan Heath.
The Bulls aren’t devoid of talent, and this past season, one that resulted in a 12-20 record and the loss of Anthony Collins, USF’s star guard whose year was significantly cut short by injuries, was not totally dreadful. The team had three AAC wins, and did beat Alabama during the non-conference slate. Whoever is hired by Harlan will have a stacked roster entering the 2014-15 season, and USF clearly has the pieces to contend. Collins had been shut down for most of the year, and his improved health will be crucial. The freshmen frontcourt duo of Chris Perry and John Egbunu should take the sophomore leap and spend next year beasting other conference bigs, and the year of experience under Heath will benefit one of the nation’s youngest teams.