Head coach Todd Golden was fully aware of potential factors that could have kept Jamaree Bouyea from choosing to return to San Francisco for an extra season of eligibility.
There was the team’s 1-7 finish last season when the Dons struggled to regain their form after a COVID-19 interruption to their schedule. There were professional options for Bouyea to consider.
“Jamaree wanted to take some time to evaluate his situation and see what his pro prospects were,” Golden said. “If he wanted to grad transfer, he could have gone anywhere in the country. He’s a unique individual and a wonderful young man. We were lucky he’s a loyal young man and wanted to come back here.”
Bouyea, a first-team All-West Coast Conference selection last year after averaging 17.3 points, is making the most of his fifth season at USF with career highs in points (17.9), rebounds (4.9), 3-point accuracy (40.6%) and free-throw percentage (77.1). His assists (3.8) and steals (1.6) match last season as career bests.
Bouyea’s play has caught the attention of NBA scouts. His name has popped up on draft boards.
“He’s always been a solid shooter,” Golden said. “This year he turned himself into a fantastic shooter. He’s 38.6% (on 3-pointers) in Division I games. These aren’t easy catch-and-shoot 3s. These aren’t someone driving and creating a shot for him. This is him creating off the bounce. He’s a really great defender, too.”
It should be an interesting matchup with the 6-foot-2 Bouyea and 6-0 senior Khalil Shabazz versus Gonzaga’s counterparts Andrew Nembhard and Rasir Bolton. Bouyea, Shabazz and Bolton might be the fastest three guards in the conference.
Bouyea had 32 points on 14-of-24 shooting to go with five assists and seven turnovers in two losses to Gonzaga last season. Shabazz made just 5 of 26 shots en route to 21 points, eight rebounds, four assists and five turnovers against the Zags.
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