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Waldon returns for USF

Greenberg reinstates his standout forward after a 4-game punishment.

By ANTONYA ENGLISH

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 13, 2001


TAMPA -- Suspended South Florida forward B.B. Waldon has been reinstated and will travel with the team for Wednesday night's game at Saint Louis, coach Seth Greenberg said Monday.

Waldon, 21, was placed on indefinite suspension by Greenberg on Jan. 30 for behavior unacceptable for a member of the basketball program.

He was allowed back on the team Monday morning.

"I take full responsibility for my actions and behavior," Waldon said. "I want to apologize to my coaches and my teammates and look forward to putting this whole experience behind me."

The junior is the Bulls' top rebounder and second-leading scorer, averaging 7.2 and 17.3, respectively.

His suspension lasted two weeks and included four Conference USA games. During his absence the Bulls (15-8, 7-3 CUSA) went 2-2, losing to Tulane and Memphis and defeating Louisville and Alabama-Birmingham. USF trails first-place Memphis by one game in the National Division.

"Without him we struggled a bit, but without him we've also been bumped and bruised," Greenberg said. "We survived without him. I wouldn't say we excelled."

While Waldon has returned, the Bulls will be without two other key players.

Senior forward Artha Reeves will have surgery "within the next two days" to repair ligament damage in his left knee, Greenberg said.

Senior forward Chonsey Asbury had knee surgery Thursday and is expected to miss up to two weeks. Asbury, one of the team's emotional leaders, stepped into the power forward position the day after Waldon was suspended, scoring 15 points and grabbing four rebounds. But the same knee he had surgery on in November began to give him trouble.

The injury toll goes like this: Asbury and Reeves are out; sophomore guard Reggie Kohn has a nagging shoulder injury; junior center Mike Bernard is bothered by a deep knee bruise; freshman Terrence Leather is out for the season with a broken kneecap; and senior Cedric Smith twisted his ankle in Saturday's game but is not seriously hurt.

Waldon's return may give the team an emotional lift as it heads into the final stretch of the regular season.

"I think the team is excited to have him back," Greenberg said. "The one thing I've been impressed with is that the team has been very supportive of him and they've stood by him. And he has been disappointed for what has happened and he's sorry. But it's time to move on."

Waldon has twice this season been named CUSA player of the week. He has scored 28 points twice and a season-high 29 against Eastern Illinois. He has been the top rebounder in nine games.

Waldon, a junior from Lakeland, has attended both home games during his suspension and sat at the end of the bench cheering his teammates. But he hasn't practiced since Jan. 30.

"I'm concerned about his conditioning," Greenberg said. "We haven't set anything new. Normally we would tweak a few things here and there but we haven't done that, so that will be helpful. He'll have some legs, that's for sure. And hopefully his shoulder will be better; he has been fighting that tendinitis."

Waldon said he wants to put the suspension behind him.

"Right now I need to concentrate on the rest of the season and help my team reach its goal of making it to the NCAA Tournament," he said.

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