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Thorpe Preparing Well for His First Run With Bulls


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July 12, 2016
By  USF
By TOM ZEBOLD

USF Senior Writer

TAMPA, JULY 12, 2016 – USF men’s basketball is three weeks into its summer conditioning program and Geno Thorpe can’t get enough.

Whether it’s running one more sprint in the sweltering heat or putting up one more rep in the gym, Thorpe is preparing for a season that’s been a long time coming for the Penn State transfer.

“The experience last year was definitely tough for me sitting out, just because all my life I’ve been in basketball season,” Thorpe said. “I’ve been able to watch basketball – college or professional – and be able to play it.”

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Now a junior, Thorpe can see the light at the end of the tunnel after what proved to be a beneficial season away from competition due to transfer rules. His name wasn’t on the stat sheet, but the 6-foot-3 guard got to sharpen his skills while practicing with the Bulls throughout the 2015-16 campaign.

“It was weird for me, but it was also cool because I got a lot better,” Thorpe said. “My 3-point shooting ability definitely improved. My decision-making improved, my ball-handling improved and every aspect of my game grew.”

Thorpe also took countless mental notes every time USF suited up and head coach Orlando Antigua roamed the sidelines at the Sun Dome.

“The time I was sitting out, I was watching the players we have. I was learning from them and learning what Coach O does and doesn’t like,” he said.

More than 1,000 miles from home, the Pittsburgh native said his big move was smooth after being accepted into the USF family “with open arms.” Getting to class and practice also was much easier than his previous days up in State College, Pa.

“At Penn State we used to have snowstorms, where you would be stuck in your house for four days. The university would send you an email to pack up on food because they knew you’d be stuck in the house,” he said. “Now I’m down here and it’s like 90 degrees every day with pool events and beach events. It’s a different atmosphere and I like it.”

Soon enough, Thorpe will get to put all of his gained knowledge into action as part of USF’s active roster that features six returners, including star guard Jahmal McMurray, and seven newcomers.

Thorpe wants to make sure he impresses Bulls fans and his coaches with his effort and intelligence this season.

“I’m a player that’s always about doing the right thing and making the right plays,” Thorpe said. “It’s not necessarily about points, although I can score and get assists. My role on the team is doing the right thing and trying to be a leader.”

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A 1,000-point scorer in high school, Thorpe ranked fourth on the Penn State with 8.7 points per game two seasons ago. Thorpe also excelled as Penn State’s best on-ball defender with 38 steals in 34 games as a sophomore.

“That’s something that came with me being in college. I was always guarding the best player at Penn State,” said Thorpe of Tim Frazier, who now plays in the NBA for New Orleans. “The defender role just kind of stuck with me.”

Regardless of what’s required as a Bull, Thorpe’s goal is to do whatever he can to fulfill his role on the team, which is the type of player Antigua looks for in recruiting.

“You want players that want to be here, that are going to represent the program in the way we want it represented and are fully committed to doing the things we’re asking them to do,” Antigua said.

Thorpe said the current group of players are totally committed this summer, when it’s all up to them to put in the work before official practices begin.

“This year it’s just a different feel with a lot of new faces, but you would have thought we’ve been together for three or four months,” Thorpe said. “Everybody wants each other to get better. It’s all positive vibes and it’s keeping us on the right track.”

Season tickets are now available for the upcoming season by visiting USFBullsTix.com or by calling 1-800-GoBulls.

http://www.gousfbulls.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=7700&ATCLID=211063827
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Geno and all the current players look to be hungrier and tighter as a group. We have some solid talent at the right positions this year, so as long as everyone stays healthy there should be no reason we can't show drastic improvement. Can't wait.

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24 minutes ago, GaUSFBull said:

I thought you were going to say the squad would look a lot better if John Egbunu was on it.  

I expect us to be in rebuilding mode again by the time the season starts, with barely enough scholarship players to fill the starting lineup.  USF Basketball seasons seem to run together.

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