Changing of the guard now official

Point man David Sills signs on for a leading role at USF.

Published April 14, 2005

TAMPA - As Robert McCullum watched the NCAA Tournament last month, he detected one key piece in the teams that kept advancing, a component he wasn't sure his Bulls would have next season.

Until Wednesday.

"Outstanding guard play is an absolute must," the USF head basketball coach said. "Season after season, you can get around not having a dominant inside player, not being as big as you'd like to be, but you'd better have good guard play. There's no substitute."

It was with excitement then that McCullum announced the signing of 6-foot-1 David Sills of New York City, the fourth member of USF's recruiting class and a player McCullum thinks will help his team compete as it enters the Big East next season.

"He gives us a dimension we haven't had, a guy who can create shots and break down defenses," McCullum said. "It makes us stronger at the position than we've been during my tenure here. He's going to bring a very exciting level of play to our program, and I don't think it will take long before he's a fan favorite."

Sills, 22, made a name for himself in the playground courts of New York's Rucker Park league, but he did not play basketball this season as he took classes at Bunker Hill Community College in Boston. After playing two seasons at Bronx Regional High, he spent one season at Odessa College in Texas, then played 11 games at the College of Southern Idaho.

With no returning point guards on scholarship, Sills and incoming freshman Chris Howard should give the Bulls a pair of combo guards capable of running the floor or scoring as needed.

McCullum said he plans to use two more scholarships in the next month, with frontline players a priority, and said he might use a third scholarship for a transfer player. The Bulls signed Howard and forwards McHugh Mattis of St. Petersburg College and Zaronn Cann of Brandon High during the early signing period.

QB TO SIT OUT: Sophomore Courtney Denson, the top challenger to junior Pat Julmiste for USF's starting quarterback job, will not play in Saturday's spring game at Raymond James Stadium because of a sprained ankle.

"I know he wants to play really bad, but we're not planning on using him," coach Jim Leavitt said. "If this were during the season, it'd be a different deal and he could gut it out, but we're concerned about that ankle. It's not surgery and it's not a high sprain, but we want to make sure he's okay."

Denson, who transferred last season from Auburn, injured his ankle in a scrimmage April2. Julmiste and walk-on Anthony Severino will quarterback the two squads.

Other notable players who will sit out the game with injury include starting guard Frank Davis (ankle), linebackers Ben Moffitt (ankle) and Patrick St. Louis (shoulder) and cornerback D'Juan Brown (arm).