Jimmy Tobias was one of former head coach Seth Greenberg's primary recruiting targets for USF last year, but Tobias selected Oklahoma instead. Despite the change in staff for the Bulls, however, the interest in Tobias remains - now that the former Fort Lauderdale Dillard High star has left the Sooners.
After only a few months in the program, Tobias transferred from Norman and is now enrolled at Seminole Community College in Sanford, Fla. The decision was apparently driven by the combination of a lack of early playing time and some academic struggles.
While Tobias will not be eligible to play at another Division I program until the 2005-06 season, SCC Head Coach Stanley Cromartie said he talks regularly with USF assistant Frank Burnell.
"Frank and I were in the same conference last year when he was at Daytona Beach Community College, so we're pretty close. We talk about twice a week," Cromartie said. "Like everybody else, he wants to see how things pan out with Jimmy, but I think I can definitely say USF is interested."
Tobias enrolled at Seminole CC in January and has been practicing with the team. Despite achieving academic eligibility as a prep, he won't step on the court for SCC until next season and must graduate in order to return to Division I basketball, according to Cromartie. He could sign in November.
Dillard won three straight Class 6A state titles with Tobias, and he was MVP of the 2003 tournament and a McDonald's All-American candidate. As a senior, the 6-foot-4 guard averaged 19 points, seven rebounds and four assists. He also drew recruiting interest from Florida State, Auburn, Clemson and UAB, where his older brother, Brandon, currently plays.
With the Sooners this season, Tobias appeared in just six games and averaged 7.7 minutes, two points and 1.2 rebounds.
Cromartie said Oklahoma will not be among the schools Tobias considers in the future, but he expects FSU to be a factor because Seminoles' assistant coach Tony Sheals was instrumental in bringing Tobias to SCC.
"It's all going to depend on how hard he works in the classroom," Cromartie said. "But Jimmy is a player. He's definitely a high-level Division I player. He comes from a program in 6A where he helped them win three state championships, so that says all you need to know right there."
JOHNSON NOT A TARGET: One player who has been connected to USF by some recruiting services is Orlando Edgewater's Brandon Johnson, but EHS Head Coach Travis Jones said that the Bulls are not currently involved with his 6-1 guard.
"(USF) told us early on that they didn't think he shot it well enough," said Jones of Johnson, a solid prep talent who has been overshadowed at Edgewater by teammate Darius Washington (Top 20 national prospect and Memphis signee).
Fordham, UCF and Northeastern have expressed interest.
NO CHERRY PICKING: USF is also apparently no longer in the running for Tallahassee Community College combo guard Steve Cherry.
In a recent interview, TCC Head Coach Eddie Barnes said the 6-4, 200-pound sophomore is seeing the most interest from South Carolina, Clemson, Ole Miss, Georgia State, Western Kentucky and UT-Chattanooga. Originally from the Atlanta area, Cherry made an official visit to GSU last September.