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Return to the 2005-06 Top 144 Preview List


#106 San Francisco Dons

West Coast Conference


2004-05: 17-14, 6-8, 5th

2004-05 postseason: NIT

By Joel Welser

Last year the transition was on the sidelines with Jessie Evans taking over the reigns at San Francisco. This season, the transition will take place on the court. The Dons lose three starters and a large percentage of their scoring offense, but there is plenty of experience looking down the bench.

Whos Out: John Cox and Tyrone Riley were the only two players to start all 31 games. They also were the top two scorers on the team and combined to take 49% of all USF shots. Cox averaged a smooth 20.0 points per contest and Riley added 15.8 points and averaged a team high 8.7 rebounds. Jason Gaines and Andre Hazel held the point guard spot. Gaines averaged 2.3 points and 2.3 assists while starting 21 games. Hazel started 10 contests, averaging 4.3 points and 3.1 assists. Little used Kenny Barnes and Felix Czerny will also not be returning to the Dons this season. The status of Dommanic Ingerson is still in question. The guard played in all 31 contests last year as a senior but could petition the NCAA for another year of eligibility.

Whos In: With such talent leaving, this list has to have some impressive names on it to keep USF competitive. The most important name is Armondo Surrat. The 6-0 point guard was a two year starter at Miami before transferring to San Francisco and should be starting from day one and feel comfortable back in his native Bay Area. If its a sport, Drew Shiller excelled in it at Burlingame High School in California. Shiller should see some minutes backing up Surrat. The backcourt gets some more help with Sinqua Walls. The 6-4 combo guard redshirted last season and will provide more depth in the backcourt. Danny Cavic, a 6-6 wing who played at Santa Ana (CA) Junior College last year, is a great mismatch on the floor. He can shoot from long range or post up under the basket. Power forward James Morgan is already a fine rebounder and defender and for those reasons will see minutes while the rest of his skills develop. Jesse Byrd, a 6-8 215 pound power forward, averaged 16.5 points and 11.1 rebounds per game last year as a senior at Bishop ODowd High School in Oakland. Vince Polakovic will be eligible at the semester break after transferring from Northern Iowa. Center Omar Samhan, another Bay Area product, will challenge for playing time early. The 7-footer is mobile for his size and is a little raw, but is a nice pick up for the Dons.

Who to Watch: The top two scorers may be gone but the next three leading scorers are back. Jerome Gumbs, Alan Wiggins and Johnny Dukes should all see an increase in production. Gumbs will be the go-to-guy as the senior leader. The 6-4 wing player averaged 9.4 points and 4.9 rebounds per game last season. Gumbs is a solid rebounder from the wing and is a shut down defender. He wont take a lot of shots from long range, but has the ability to hit from beyond the arc. Gumbs is poised for a breakout season.

Projected Conference Rank: Some roleplayers need to step up and the newcomers need to fill in off the bench for USF to end in 4th place in the conference. Its a little bit of overachieving, but Jessie Evans is bringing in his players and the program is looking up.

Projected Post-season Tournament: none

Projected Starting Five:

Armondo Surrat, Junior, Guard, DNP last season

Jerome Gumbs, Senior, Guard, 9.4 points per game

Johnny Dukes, Senior, Forward, 5.6 points per game

Alan Wiggins, Junior, Forward, 5.8 points per game

Jason Carter, Senior, Center, 2.3 points per game


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