GREG AUMAN and SCOTT PURKS
Community college player James Smith is the fourth member of the first Big East recruiting class.
TAMPA - USF coach Robert McCullum, having acquired three perimeter players during the early signing period, has found a 7-footer to add some post presence to his first Big East recruiting class.
James Smith, a 245-pound center from Westchester Community College in New York, said Thursday he plans to accept a scholarship to play for USF next season.
"It's where I want to be," said Smith, who played for Westchester the past two seasons and is finishing his classes this spring.
The Bulls had a helpful connection to Smith in assistant coach Julius Allen, who coached the Westchester Stallions of the USBL from 1992-95 and is a friend of WCC coach Winston Nicholas.
"He seems like a really nice guy, a good coach, from when I've talked to him," said Smith, who has a strong outside shot but said he wants to work on his post game.
Smith was recruited by Oklahoma State and St. John's last season and was also considering Louisiana-Lafayette this spring. The spring signing period for basketball begins April 13, and Smith will have two years of eligibility with the Bulls.
"He's a tremendous shooter for his size, and he's capable of bringing the ball downcourt on a break," Nicholas told the Rockland (N.Y.) Journal-News this week.
He's the fourth member of USF's recruiting class, joining Brandon forward Zaronn Cann, St. Petersburg College guard McHugh Mattis and Fort Washington (Md.) Friendly point guard Chris Howard. USF is expected to add one more player.
Cann, who is recovering from major knee surgery that sidelined him last season, has been troubled by soreness in his knee and recently had arthroscopic surgery that will sideline him for the next two to three weeks.