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Previewing The American: University of South Florida

Swish Appeal's season previews for the AAC continue with the University of South Florida Bulls.


Last year the Bulls found their way to the second round of the NCAA tournament before the Cal Golden Bears ended their season. This year USF will try to build on its success around senior Inga Orekhova, Akila McDonald and a host of freshman.

When I say "a host" I mean six. USF has an incoming freshman class of six players which bolsters their roster to 16 players, which means some red-shirting will take place this season. This also has implications for next year -- only two players are graduating which means that before any new players come in the Bulls will be looking at a 14-player roster. That's uh, a lot.

The 2013 recruiting class is highlighted by point guard Trimaine McCullough; while not as highly touted as Rutger's Tyler Scaife, she certainly has the potential to be something pretty special for USF.

While the freshman are the story, the Bulls international flavor is something that is unique. USF boasts four international players, two from Spain, one from Sweden and one from Ukraine.

2012-13 Record: 22-11 (9-7 Big East)

2012-13 Conference: Big East

2013-14 Season Opener: 11/08 vs. Maryland

Who's back:

  • Alisia Jenkins started 23 games for the Bulls last year and averaged six points a game on 52 percent shooting from the field. The sophomore started the last 22 games of the season after taking the job prior to conference play.
  • Micah Kroll played just 25 minutes in 10 games as a true freshman.
  • Akila McDonald is one of two seniors playing for USF this season. The center led the team in blocked shots last season, swatting 1.6 a game. McDonald had a memorable performance against Notre Dame in the Big East tournament last year when she blocked five shots against the Irish.
  • Shavontae Naylor played in 24 games as a true freshman and averaged about two points and two rebounds a game in limited minutes.
  • Inga Orekhova transferred to USF in 2011-12 and since then has been one of the better scorers on the team. She averaged 12 points, three rebounds and a couple of assists a game while shooting nearly 80 percent from the free throw line. The senior shot 34 percent from 3-point range and led the team in 3-pointers made.
  • Shalethia Stringfield sat out last season with an injury and returns as a redshirt sophomore. In her freshman season, Stringfield played in 34 games and scored three points a game to go along with grabbing three rebounds.
  • Courtney Williams primarily came off the bench as a true freshman and she was effective. In 15 minutes a game Williams averaged seven points and three rebounds while shooting 42 percent from the field.
  • Laura Marcos Canedo did not play last season and returns as a redshirt freshman.

Who's new:

  • Tamara Taylor transferred in from Gulf Coast Community College where she was ranked as the seventeenth-best junior college prospect in the country.
  • Ivana Vuletic is a transfer from Nebraska. Vuletic played for Sweden's U16 and U18 national team.
  • Paige Cashin is a post player who received an 88 grade from ESPN. The three-star freshman comes out of Newark, Ohio.
  • Jayla King is another three-star recruit for USF according to ESPN. The winger out of Pensacola is rated an 88.
  • Trimaine McCullough is an ESPN top 100 recruit and is ranked twenty-third at the point guard position. Out of Orlando, McCullough considered signing with LSU and the University of Miami before deciding on USF.
  • Neena Pacholke is a 5-7 guard out of Tampa.
  • Ariadna Pujol has played for the Spanish national team since 2007 and is one of four international players on this USF squad.
  • Katelyn Weber is a 6-4 forward rated an 85 by ESPN out of Little Rock.
Full Roster:

14 Paige Cashin F/C 6-4 Fr. Newark, Ohio (Newark HS)
24 Alisia Jenkins F 6-1 So. Statesboro, Ga. (Statesboro HS)
21 Jayla King G/F 6-0 Fr. Pensacola, Fla. (Pine Forest HS)
2 Micah Kroll G 5-8 So. Tampa, Fla. (Tampa Catholic HS)
31 Laura Marcos Canedo G 5-8 RFr. Salamanca, Spain (Colegio Champagnat)
5 Trimaine McCullough G 5-8 Fr. Orlando, Fla. (Edgewater HS)
32 Akila McDonald C 6-4 Sr. Decatur, Ga. (Columbia H.S.)
15 Shavontae Naylor G 5-9 So. Ocala, Fla. (Southwest Atlanta Christian HS)
13 Inga Orekhova G 6-2 Sr. Sevastapol, Ukraine (Northeast Oklahoma CC) (The Bishop School)
4 Neena Pacholke G 5-7 Fr. Tampa, Fla. (Freedom HS)
11 Ariadna Pujol G 6-1 Fr. Mataro, Spain (GEM)
23 Shalethia Stringfield G 5-6 RSo. Jacksonville, Fla. (Potters House Christian Acad.)
3 Tamara Taylor G 5-10 Jr. St. Petersburg, Fla. (Gulf Coast State College)
1 Ivana Vuletic F/C 6-3 Jr. Norrkoping, Sweden (Northeast Community College) (Hagagymnasiet)
45 Katelyn Weber F/C 6-5 Fr. Little Rock, Arkansas (Hall HS)
10 Courtney Williams G 5-8 So. Folkston, Ga. (Charlton County High School)