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Tampa Prep's Heath verbally commits to play for dad at USF

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Published:   |   Updated: March 18, 2013 at 03:11 PM
TAMPA -

Tampa Prep senior Josh Heath, the starting point guard last season's Class 3A state title team, announced Monday he has made a verbal commitment to the University of South Florida.

Heath is the son of USF head coach Stan Heath, who recently signed a contract extension through the 2017-18 season.

Heath, 6-foot-2 and 165 pounds, led the Terrapins to a 31-1 record last season, averaging 12.4 points and 7.1 assists per game. He also had 4.2 rebounds and 2.5 steals per outing.

Heath said the fact that his father is USF's coach definitely worked in the Bulls' favor. But he said his official visit to USF last weekend, which included attending USF's football game against Florida State on Saturday night at a sold-out Raymond James Stadium, convinced him USF was the right decision.

''In the back of my mind, I was probably always leaning toward USF,'' Heath said. ''But the visit really made it clear that's where I should be. Just hanging out with the players, hanging out with them on the campus, meeting administrators and going to the football game - it was just a great experience.''

Heath had about a dozen other scholarship/financial aid offers, including Jacksonville, Lehigh, East Carolina and Princeton.

Terrapins coach Joe Fenlon said that because Heath is an honors student at Tampa Prep, Ivy League schools such as Princeton had a strong appeal. However, it was also attractive to play in the Big East for his father, who last season led the Bulls to the third round of the NCAA tournament.

Stan Heath had been offering his son a scholarship for months but also knew of his interest in an Ivy League education, Fenlon said.

''It had to be a tough dynamic at the dinner table,'' Fenlon said. ''But having coached my son (Conner), I can tell you there's nothing like it. Although it can be nerve-wracking, there's nothing like looking in a huddle and seeing your son in there. I think it will be extremely rewarding for both of them to have this opportunity.''

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