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October 7, 2003

USF Pursues Guard; Cools on Big Man

A physical junior college guard remains on USF's recruiting list, but a space-eating high school center has apparently fallen off as the early signing period for basketball approaches in November.

According to Tallahassee Community College coach Eddie Barnes, the Bulls are continuing to recruit his 6-foot-4, 190-pound two-guard, Steve Cherry, and were recently in Tallahassee for a visit.

"He's not going to sign until next year, but (USF) likes him. They have him on their recruiting list," Barnes said. "He made one visit in September to Georgia State, now I've got him until after the season. His stock is going to keep going up. Ole Miss and Clemson are starting to contact him quite a bit."

Cherry, a four-year starter at Peach City High School in Byron, Ga., was a first team All-Panhandle selection at TCC last season, averaging 12 points and four rebounds per game. Barnes said Cherry had interest from some SEC teams - including Auburn - as a high school senior, when he averaged 24 points and was a McDonald's All-American nominee.

"He was kind of on the fence coming out of high school, so last year with us helped him get to the top of the fence. This year will put him over it. He's a scorer who can shoot the three and is explosive going to the basket," Barnes said. "This year we're looking for him to become more of a multi-purpose player."

While Cherry is still a possibility, it appears as though Fort Myers High School big man Robinson Louisme is no longer high on USF's list.

Fort Myers coach Ed O'Brien said he has spoken with Bulls assistant Tommy Deffebaugh, but Louisme (6-8/260) is likely to sign early with either Tulane, South Carolina or South Alabama.

"(USF) was very involved with him. They were recruiting him hard, but they fell off after the summer when Robinson was in AAU ball and didn't play that much," O'Brien said. "Right now, it's down to those other three."

Louisme visited Tulane the final weekend in September, South Alabama last weekend and is scheduled to travel to South Carolina on Oct. 18-19. Gamecocks coach Dave Odom was recently in Fort Myers to speak with Louisme.

A second team all-state choice last year, Louisme averaged 12.5 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks. His weight has been a factor, but not one O'Brien expects will carry over into college.

"He's still around 260. His parents both work nights, so he hasn't had someone watching what he eats. Once he gets into college and a conditioning program like the ones they have at the big schools, he'll do fine," O'Brien said.

USF already has one early commitment, high-scoring North Richland Hills, Texas guard Collin Dennis.

The early signing period opens Nov. 13.


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