The South Florida Bulls, an up and coming Big East program, relied heavily on head coach Stan Heath‘s philosophy of defense. However, when a team has as much success as USF did this past season, there has to be some sort of offense to help the cause. Victor Rudd Jr. was a big reason the Bulls were able to score and he turned it up a notch in the postseason. That high level of play should carry over to this year.
Rudd Jr. actually declared for the NBA draft, but did not hire an agent. He will return to the Bulls in the fall and be one of their best players. His averages of 8.7 points and 4.6 rebounds a game were solid, but was even more impressive was his performances in the Big East and NCAA tournament. He averaged 14.8 points and 7 rebounds and brought his team to the cusp of a Sweet Sixteen. When a player finishes a season this strong, it means they’re likely poised for a breakout the following season.
Length and athleticism are two of Rudd Jr.’s best qualities. They not only help him on the defense end, but also lead one to believe that he’s only going to get better. On the offense side of the ball, he can get to the rim and has nice dribbling skills for a 6′ 8″ forward. Rudd Jr. also has perfected the midrange jumper, something that makes him deadly and that almost all of big men are starting to develop.
It will be very interesting to see how South Florida does this year. The Big East will be loaded and USF will miss Augustus Gilchrist, but this is a young and well coached team that likes to play defense. If they can up their scoring, everyone else needs to watch out.
Because of that factor, I believe Rudd Jr. is the barometer for how good they’ll be. His scoring can give the Bulls the balance they desperately need.