Brad Posted April 25, 2008 Group: Admin Topic Count: 0 Content Count: 91,470 Reputation: 8,239 Days Won: 382 Joined: 05/19/2000 Share Posted April 25, 2008 Noriega snaps up USF offer By ALAN DELL CORRESPONDENT Published Thursday, April 24, 2008 at 4:30 a.m. NORTH PORT Ã¢â‚¬â€ Along with his shooting ability, Shaun Noriega has built a reputation for being able to make quick decisions on the basketball court. The 6-foot-4 North Port junior believes he showed he can make quick and smart decisions off the court when he verbally committed to the University of South Florida on Wednesday. He was offered a scholarship the day before by Bulls head coach Stan Heath. "I waited one night, but I knew I wanted to accept," Noriega said. "I decided to do it now because USF is a big-time basketball school and I felt it was a great opportunity and a great place for me. I like the coaching staff and where the program is headed. I didn't want to hesitate because they will find someone else." In averaging 24.1 points and 4.1 rebounds per game last season, Noriega showed he knows how put the ball in the basket. But his ability to knock down the 3-pointer impressed the USF coaching staff the most. With the 3-point line moving back next year in college basketball, coaches are looking for someone who can hit the deep 3 with consistency. Noriega shot 38 percent from beyond the arc last season in draining 85 treys. He is efficient at the free throw line (79 percent) and shot 44 percent overall from the field. "Coach Heath told me he definitely liked my shooting and that he offered me a scholarship because I can shoot," Noriega said. "He said the team needed some outside shooting." Noriega received strong interest from Washington State and Butler. North Port head coach Curt Allen said more offers would come, but said Noriega is a perfect fit for the Bulls. Heath got a good look at Noriega playing for his Florida Elite AAU last weekend at a tournament in Washington, D.C. They had talked when Noriega was a guest at the Bulls' last game of the season against Notre Dame. Heath just finished his first season with USF after head coaching stints at Arkansas and Kent State. The Bulls were 12-19 overall and 3-15 in the Big East. "A big part of my decision was that this is an up-and-coming program, and I really like coach Heath," Noriega said. "He is intelligent, understands the game and is a nice guy." The Bulls return leading scorer Dominique Jones, who was one of the top freshmen in the Big East last year. They've also signed Dwan McMillan, the starting point guard for St. Benedict's Prep (New Jersey). Allen said Noriega will fit in well with those two and others because he brings something unique with his long range shooting. Though a verbal commitment is non-binding, Noriega says he has no intention of changing his mind. "I am a loyal person and like to stay loyal," he said. Link Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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