First thing first: I’m back, baby. After several years in the wilderness, I’m delighted to return to The Daily Stampede‘s writing team. Turns out U Stay Forever really is a thing.
To the matter at hand: it’s no secret that both basketball teams are in a crucial recruiting year. USF has generally been the beneficiary of the Transfer Portal so far, but this off-season has seen some major departures from both squads. Any incoming players are likely to see some immediate time.
However, the coaches have been busy. The last few days have seen signings for both teams that look to fit that description, so let’s take a look at the recruiting classes as they stand.
6’11” | 200 lbs | Forward/Center
Recruiting Ranking: three-star by 247, three-star by Rivals
Other Notable Offers: Oregon State, LSU
Dok Muordar is the latest addition to the men’s basketball team, signing his LOI on April 13. Muordar hails from South Sudan in Africa and played his high school ball for Huntington Prep in West Virginia, averaging 13 points per game, 11 rebounds per game, and four blocks per game last season.
In the video announcement, Coach Brian Gregory was quick to praise his defensive abilities before going onto describing his versatility on offense.
.@CoachBGregory officially welcomes @muordar to the Bulls Family!— USF Men's Basketball (@USFMBB) April 14, 2022
https://t.co/sPPOqOEddw#HornsUp #AllInAllOut pic.twitter.com/qbGlWuu5iY
Muordar adds some considerable height to the inside for the Bulls, he’ll be second tallest only to Russel Tchewa. USF should benefit greatly from a pair of trees on the inside, especially one who can slide out and shoot the three (:40 second mark).
6’3” | 190 lbs | Guard
Recruiting Rankings: three-star by 247, three-star by Rivals
Other Notable Offers: Virginia Tech, Xavier, Murray State, App State, Wichita State
Ryan Conwell signed during the early signing period back in November. From Pike High School in Indianapolis, Conwell got his first offers last summer after he averaged 16.4 points per game, 2.7 assists per game, and 4.3 rebounds per game in his junior season.
Conwell should provide a solid outside threat, as evidenced by 7 three’s on his way to a 33-point performance on the AAU circuit this past summer.
Ryan Conwell | EG10— Prep Hoops Circuit (@PHCircuit) August 13, 2021
All summer long we've watched Conwell raise his stocks. He's a gifted athlete with an extremely high IQ.
: @_MatthewCletus pic.twitter.com/N7v4TyrtKU
6’2” | Guard | Sophomore Transfer
Priscilla Williams was one of the biggest Transfer Portal targets in the country after announcing her transfer from Syracuse in late March. Signing on April 13, she’ll be entering USF with three years of eligibility remaining after playing her freshman year and redshirting last season.
In her freshman campaign with the Orange, Williams averaged 8.7 points per game, leading the team in 3-pointers with 34. In 21 starts, she also averaged 3.2 assists per game, and 3.2 rebounds per game. Her most points in a game so far is 26 vs Miami, where she shot a perfect 9/9 from the floor, 6/6 from three.
Coming out of Branson High School in Missouri, Williams was a top-10 recruit in the 2020 class. She was named a McDonalds All-American in her senior year, where she averaged 30 points, 10 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks, and 2 assists per game.
Bulls land Syracuse transfer and former McDonald's All-America Priscilla Williams. A five-star recruit and the ninth-ranked player in the nation in 2020, Williams was also named to the prestigious Jordan Brand Classic roster.— USF W. Basketball (@USFWBB) April 13, 2022
https://t.co/qebgsLonaR#HornsUp #Bullieve pic.twitter.com/S3xMW6Evk1
5’11” | Guard | Freshman
It wouldn’t be a Jose Fernandez class without an international signing. Janette Aarnio signed for the Bulls on Friday, and is also expected to be an immediate contributor to the squad. Hailing from Vantaa, Finland, she currently plays for Helsinki Basketball Academy (HBA).
Heading into the league’s 3rd place game on Tuesday, Aarnio is averaging 14.8 points per game, 4.4 rebounds per game, and 3.0 assists per game. It’s the first time HBA has made the semifinal of the Naisten Korisliiga, the highest level of women’s basketball in Finland.
Aarnio is also a member of the Finland National Team, helping lead the U16 National Team to their first bronze medal in the 2018 European Championships in Division B. She has four games with the senior team under her belt, averaging 9.8 points per game.
SIGNING ALERT Bulls ink Finnish National Team guard Janette Aarnio. Aarnio has extensive experience including with the Finland Senior National Women’s Team.— USF W. Basketball (@USFWBB) April 15, 2022
https://t.co/Z9F5uROF91#HornsUp #Bullieve pic.twitter.com/HnW0TQer1B
It’s worth noting that the Naisten Korisliiga is a professional league, and HBA is (as far as I can tell) the only school/academy playing in the league. This means Aarnio has spent the last several years competing against grown adults. In my new favorite piece of USF trivia, the team that knocked HBA out of the league tournament features former USF star, 32-year-old Inga Orekhova.
For comparison’s sake: Orekhova is still a quality player. She averaged 10.5 points per game, 5.6 rebounds per game, and 2.0 assists per game this past season, making her the third highest scorer on her team. Many fans will remember how good Orekhova was for USF, so it should bode well for Aarnio that she’s putting up better numbers against the same competition.