With the season opener against Vermont a little over two weeks away, its time to get back to The Most Important Player for USF Basketball. We broke into the Top 10 with LaVonte Dority yesterday, and today will be the biggest surprise in the countdown. In the original poll, he was much, much higher but the 9th Most Important Player for USF Basketball this year is Jawanza Poland!
I really didn't want to put JAWANZA! here. He was productive last year in his first season at USF, starting in 22 of USF's 33 games and averaging 9.1 PTS/2.6 REB/1.9 AST/1.1 STL last year. Jawanza's ability to get up and throw down some thunderous dunks became the stuff of legend, and he even landed on Sportscenters' Top 10 plays a couple of times last year.
So why do I have him down here at #9? He's hurt. Jawanza has been dealing with a back injury since the Rutgers game last year, and he's going to miss at least the non-conference portion of the schedule. Back injuries are always the longest to heal, and who knows when Poland will be ready to go. Even when Jawanza gets back, he will be competing with Victor Rudd, Hugh Robertson, and a much improved Shaun Noriega for minutes on the wing. I'm just lowering my expectations for Poland, and if he is able to come back and contribute during Big East play I will be thrilled.
So who do you think will be the 8th Most Important Player For USF Basketball this year? Your answers are below.