USF has been winning with defense and the Bulls are led by Brandon Stroud.

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TAMPA, Fla. (February 13, 2024) – The first-place USF men’s basketball team is making history — a 17-5 record for the first time ever, a nine-game winning streak, 10 conference victories already, and the growing possibility of March Madness.

One of the biggest reasons for this turnaround?

It’s a player who rarely captures the biggest headlines, but whose impact cannot be denied.

He’s Brandon Stroud, a 6-foot-6, 215-pound left-handed senior who’s the last guy any opponent wants to see in the lane. With the wingspan of a 7-footer, quick hands, cat-like instincts, and ferocious rebounding talent, Stroud has matured into the player who continually sparks the Bulls.

“Most fans see the value of a basketball player in their ability to score,’’ Bulls coach Amir Abdur-Rahim said. “But man, Brandon impacts our team in so many important ways. He’s just a dude, a real dude, out there on the court.’’

When the Bulls (17-5, 10-1 American Athletic Conference) host the Tulsa Golden Hurricane (12-11, 3-8) in Wednesday night’s game at the Yuengling Center, USF fans will be prepared to witness Chris Youngblood’s long-range shooting, Selton Miguel’s elusive moves, Kobe Knox’s leadership, Kasean Pryor’s versatility, and Jayden Reid’s athleticism.

Stroud?

He holds it all together, doing the little things that often become big things. He followed Abdur-Rahim from Kennesaw State, where he was the Atlantic Sun Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year. It’s easy to see why. In AAC play, he’s averaging 7.8 rebounds (including a team-leading 24 offensive boards), while chipping in with 21 assists, 11 steals … and countless game-altering deflections. Overall, he’s averaging 5.5 points with one double-digit scoring game.

“It’s funny because he did the same thing last year (at Kennesaw State),’’ Youngblood said. “He was playing all right. But in conference play, he goes to a different level. He’s a game-changer.’’

In a recent three-game swing against UTSA, East Carolina, and North Texas, Stroud had a 12-rebound effort each night. Against Albany on Dec. 22, he had a 12-point, 12-rebound double-double, which included six offensive boards.

“Brandon has been a beast lately,’’ Bulls forward Sam Hines said. “He impacts the game in so many ways. He’s a vocal leader. He hits important shots. He’s very, very long and those long limbs create problems for people. Most of it is just pure hustle. We need him to be locked in like that because his communication and energy are so important for our success.’’

Stroud came off the bench for eight straight games before Abdur-Rahim challenged him to produce maximum effort and commitment. That coincided with his re-emergence into the starting lineup at Memphis — and Stroud has been a vital component ever since.

Recently, Abdur-Rahim’s wife remarked to him, “What has gotten into Brandon? He’s playing like the guy I remember at Kennesaw State.’’

“Brandon doesn’t get enough credit for what he does,’’ said Abdur-Rahim, who believes that Stroud’s length and skill set will be noticed by professional basketball scouts. “But he doesn’t care. And that’s when you know you’ve got a special team brewing — when no one cares who gets the credit. Brandon just wants to win.’’

Stroud said he’s accustomed to winning — whether it was at East Coweta High School in Atlanta, Kennesaw State, or now at USF. For him, winning is the only thing.

“I love being competitive, working with the guys, having it all come together,’’ Stroud said. “I know my role. I focus on the defensive end, rebounding, whatever it takes. Those aren’t the areas that get the most attention, but those are the winning categories. So, I just do my part.’’

Stroud said he’s enjoying college life. He described himself as a “fantastic’’ bowler who once rolled a 230 game. Occasionally, he takes his teammates to the lanes for some friendly contests and socializing.

Around campus, Stroud has become a familiar face, and he rarely meets a stranger. He also serves as the diversity chair for USF’s Student-Athlete Advisory Council.

“When I first got here, I was thinking about staying low-key,’’ Stroud said. “But the coaches always push everyone to be the best you can be, so I put myself out there. It has been a great experience.

“For me, college isn’t just about taking classes and playing basketball. It’s about learning about other people, what they bring to the table, their strengths, and good qualities that you might not know. It has been a great experience. Everybody has something good to offer.’’

USF basketball fans have learned that about Brandon Stroud. He’s rarely the team’s leading scorer. Many nights, he’s not even close. But he brings so many subtle qualities that make him indispensable.

“He’s a difference-maker,’’ Abdur-Rahim said.

Stroud’s diverse qualities have made all the difference in USF’s historic season.

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About USF Men’s Basketball

The South Florida men’s basketball team is led by Amir Abdur-Rahim, who was named the 11th head coach in program history on March 29, 2023. Abdur-Rahim was named the 2023 Mid-Major Coach of the Year (Hugh Durham Award) after leading Kennesaw State to its first-ever Division I NCAA Tournament berth in 2022-23. Abdur-Rahim’s Kennesaw State team set an NCAA record as the fastest team to ever reach the NCAA Tournament after a one-win campaign, accomplishing the feat in a span of just three seasons. He was also named the 2022-23 NABC District 3 and ASUN Coach of the Year after leading Kennesaw State to both the regular season and tournament titles, and a school-record 26 wins.
 
USF has retired three numbers in its history: Chucky Atkins (12), Charlie Bradley (30), and Radenko Dobras (31). The Bulls have earned three NCAA tournament bids, appeared in the NIT eight times, and won the 2019 College Basketball Invitational.
 
For tickets, contact the USF Ticket Office at 1-800-Go-Bulls or by going online to 
USFBullsTix.com. Season tickets for the 2023-24 USF men’s basketball slate are on sale now. To purchase season tickets, click here.