The Ballad of Stanley Heath III: An Epic Glance at USF Basketball

(I mean, this... this... wow. Enjoy. - Jamie)

On February 12th of this year, at 8:46 Eastern Standard Time, the Bulls had just notched their second win over Providence after Shaun Noriega stepped off the bench and essentially saved the season. Amidst intense discussion about the team's prospects of making the NCAA Tournament, I posted the following:

"If we get into the NIT we should still consider this an amazing season. The NCAAs would be a miracle. I would compose an epic about this team if they somehow managed to pull it off."

I forgot about this promise as I got swept up in the tournament hysteria, but as a man of my word (unlike my namesake), I have indeed composed a three-part epic in dactylic heptameter detailing the trials and tribulations of the USF Bulls basketball team. It goes as follows:

Part I: 2009: The Curse

Sing, O Sun Dolls, the anger of Dominique O'Neal Jones

Who upon vanquishing the Hoyas of D.C. bellowed

"Y'all come watch Dominique Jones play!" and ‘pon his chest struck thrice.

"I'm no man of revenge," said he, "but this, it feels quite nice."

But DoJo had a fatal flaw, one which the Bulls knew not:

"There's no one on this team but I who makes a goddamn shot!"

And so Dominique struggled, lonely, till one fateful night

A witch of name Saint Jonathan informed him of his plight

"You are cursed, O Dominique, you and your Bulls as well.

No matter what you do, the tournament you shall not smell.

Howard may pass, Mercer may drive, Gilchrist may miss a shot

But this I swear on Famous' headband--the NCAAs you will know not."

DoJo was struck with anguish--"Why, O witch, is this so?

We've struck down Hoya, Panther, Bearcat, and U San Diego."

The witch laughed, a wicked evil laugh: "Do not question your fate!

For on this night you shall lose at home, seventy-four to fifty-eight!

You see, a man more wicked than I, a certain Greenburg, Seth

Has set a pox upon this program, one of certain death.

He dipped his child in a river, held by one ankle

Chanting, ‘No one in South Florida dreams of becoming a Bull!'"

The witch's prophecy came true; the Bulls would lose that night

Jones and crew approached the NIT without much fight.

An evil wolfpack blocked their path into the second round

And after Fitzy's gaffe on defense, the Bulls heard but one sound:

The tears of Dominique the Brave, the last sound of their year

And as his mighty head rose, he bellowed "I should have kept it but I ain't's time to make money now.'‘

Part II: 2010: The Hero

A year had passed; the Bulls' spirits were undoubtedly low

The tell-all meter had swung from "No" to "DoJo Go Pro."

But once their former hero left, a miracle occurred

In came the valiant, brave and bald-- Stanley Heath the Third.

Heath had been the coach awhile, three years removed from first

But not 'til now had he heard tale of South Florida's curse.

"Damn that Greenburg!" he snarled as USF would lose again

"Jesus Christ, Crater!" spat Jamie, Gary, Collin, and Ken.

"I must think of a cure!" said Heath, as Gilchrist missed a three

(Why he ever tried the shot remains a mystery).

"First UCF, now FAU, we'd get killed by the Canes--

FAMU's marching band could shoot better than Shedrick Haynes!"

As the losses piled up, Stan wiped his shiny brow

"I must break Greenburg's horrid curse, but damned if I know how."

The year went on, the Bulls were prey to all not named DePaul

(and Prov'dence, once, when Marshon Brooks forgot how to shoot a ball).

Ron blocked, Jawanza dunked, but the ball ne'er would find the net

(Obligatory mention of the shitshow with Marquette).

But when the conference season finally did reach its end

Our hero, Stanley Heath the Third, called upon an old friend.

"Saint Jonathan, I beg of you-- help me the curse to fix.

I'll even let you beat us seventy-two to fifty-six."

Saint Jonathan looked down on Heath, with glimmering wicked eye

He said "Aye Coach, I'll grant your wish, but one of you must die.

The only way to make the tournament, to break the ice

Is to offer one man on your team as a human sacrifice."

Coach Heath was sick with shock-- how could he become such a traitor?

But then our Stan did sit and think, and said-- "Anthony Crater."

While the Bulls went and did vanquish the 'Cats from the Main Line,

The witch merely sat and chuckled "O Crater, you are mine."

The guard was hurt v. Cincy, the witch chuckled "Those fools!"

"They shan't know the true meaning of 'violation of team rules!'"

Part III: 2011: The Triumph

Our hero Stan now believed in the curse he'd stuck a fork

While poor Crater dwells in the purgatories of New York.

The team remade, defensive play became the newest fad

The Bulls guarded like they'd torn someone's heart out (which they had).

While the early part of the season became, well, a bitch

The team regrouped in conference play-- they even beat the witch!

AC led the show; Victor's dunks boosted morale

Hugh changed his major to dentistry and gave root canals.

Collins' layup beat Rutgers, Fitzy took down Seton Hall

Ron yelled, rebounded, and fist pumped-- the Bulls were playing ball!

Slip-ups? There were many, namely the Hoyas and Marquette

Jawanza's layup won't ever be easy to forget.

But the team fought hard every game, the baskets were a-plenty

The wins suddenly piled up-- sixteen, eighteen, twenty!

They snuck into the tourney, from the curse finally freed

(No word on how the news was handled by our friend Gottlieb)

USF tamed the Golden Bears, a comeback drowned the Owls

Tampa Bay was getting frenzied, alive with hoots and howls

It wasn't about the tournament-- though the team did overachieve

The Bulls, frankly, had given their fans a reason to believe.

After years and years and years of tearing their hearts out

South Florida suddenly became a team to cheer about.

The year is done, O reader, but the lesson still remains

The Bulls persevered through a season full of growing pains.

So remember, any tough times, in athletics or real life

Can be trumped by hard work-- and a human sacrifice.

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