War Memorial Gym has received a number of upgrades during the offseason. New to USF’s facility are the floor, court design, hoops, bleachers, banners and lighting system.
In addition to the building improvements, men’s basketball coach Rex Walters is hopeful that his seven new recruits will upgrade the team’s record from last season’s 11-19 overall mark, including 3-11 in the West Coast Conference.
Dior Lowhorn is the lone player on the roster who preceded Walters’ arrival last year on the Hilltop. Lowhorn, who is in his third year with the Dons after transferring from Texas Tech, enters his final collegiate season with a 20.3 points per game scoring average that includes double-digit scoring in 60 of his 61 career games at USF.
Sophomore Kwame Vaughn, second on the team in scoring last season, may see his time split between the shooting and point guard positions after top recruit Dominique O’Connor suffered a serious knee injury during the team’s intrasquad scrimmage on Oct. 25.
One USF player told The Examiner O’Connor tore his ACL and would be lost for the season, but the school says it is still determining the extent of the injury and how long the freshman will be out for.
However you slice it, O’Connor’s injury leaves Walters with more questions than answers.
“It changes everybody else,” the coach said. “He made us much better defensively. And he can get the ball up the court in two or three seconds or less. He has high-level quickness, and we’ll definitely miss that in our practices.”
Fortunately for the Dons, though, among the incoming players are some talented big men.
Moustapha Diarra, a junior transfer from Sheridan College in Wyoming, and freshman Perris Blackwell, from prep basketball powerhouse Etiwanda in Southern California, provide an inside presence that should free up Lowhorn.
“He won’t have to expend energy guarding a guy who outweighs him by 30 pounds,” Walters said.
Returning forwards Blake Wallace and Angelo Caloiaro — Walters’ first recruit — will earn considerable playing time with Dontae Bryant likely getting a starting nod at the point. Rashad Green, a transfer guard from Manhattan and the brother of ex-North Carolina star Danny Green, brings Division I experience.
Freshman Michael Williams and sophomore Peter Smith, son of the late former USF and NBA star Phil Smith, offer depth in the backcourt.
Date Opponent Time
Friday vs. Cal Poly 7 p.m.
Monday vs. Dominican 7 p.m.
Nov. 20 at Arizona State 3:30 p.m.
Nov. 23 at UC Santa Barbara 7 p.m.
Nov. 25 vs. Montana State 7 p.m.
Nov. 29 at Colorado State 1 p.m.
Dec. 1 at Colorado 6 p.m.
Dec. 5 at Brigham Young 6 p.m.
Dec. 8 vs. San Jose State 7 p.m.
Dec. 12 at Loyola (IL) 1 p.m.
Dec. 19 vs. South Florida 11 a.m.
Dec. 23 vs. CSU Bakersfield 5 p.m.
Dec. 27 at Washington Noon
Jan. 2 vs. Holy Names* 2 p.m.
Jan. 8 vs. St. Mary’s* 6:30 p.m.
Jan. 10 vs. San Diego* 5 p.m.
Jan. 14 at LMU* 7 p.m.
Jan. 16 at Pepperdine* 7 p.m.
Jan. 23 vs. Santa Clara* 5 p.m.
Jan. 28 vs. Portland* 8 p.m.
Jan. 30 vs. Gonzaga* 6:30 p.m.
Feb. 4 at San Diego* 7 p.m.
Feb. 6 at St. Mary’s* 8 p.m.
Feb. 11 vs. Pepperdine* 7 p.m.
Feb. 13 vs. LMU* 7 p.m.
Feb. 20 at Santa Clara* 7 p.m.
Feb. 25 at Portland* 7 p.m.
Feb. 27 at Gonzaga* 5 p.m.
* Denotes West Coast Conference game
No. Name Pos. Year
1 Kwame Vaughn G SO
2 Blake Wallace F SR
3 Dominique O’Connor G FR
5 Michael Williams G FR
11 Dontae Bryant G SR
12 Tomas Bruha C FR
13 Rashad Green G SO
20 Peter Smith G SO
21 Moustapha Diarra C JR
22 Perris Blackwell F FR
31 Nikola Stojiljkovic F FR
32 Angelo Caloiaro F SO
33 Dior Lowhorn F SR
Coach: Rex Walters