Monday, February 19, 2007

Catching Up With -- Melvin Buckley

Does that name ring a bell? It should. Melvin Buckley made a splash at Purdue as a freshman by scoring 20 points in Purdue's first round NCAA tournament victory over LSU in 2003. As a freshman, he led Purdue in three point field goal percentage by hitting 42.6% of his shots. Having Buckley as a deep threat to compliment David Teague gave Purdue a lethal combination on offense.

As a sophomore, Buckley's playing time and scoring opportunities increased, but it wasn't up to his standards. In a puzzling move he left Purdue after his sophomore season, taking his shots at the program on the way out the door. Had he stayed in West Lafayette, he would have been in prime position to crack the starting lineup for his final two seasons. He claimed he "was going to the ACC, where he could get more love."

Buckley didn't quite make it to the ACC. He opted for the South Florida Bulls, doormat of the new Big East. How is Buckley doing in the sunshine state? After going 1-15 in the Big East last year, the Bulls are 12-14 (3-9 in the Big East) and have lost to the likes of Richmond, TAMU CC, Missouri State, & Mike Davis' UAB Blazers. But most importantly to Melvin, he can shoot lots of 3's and not have to worry about defense. He is averaging 38.5 mpg and 15.5 ppg, and is on pace to finish #2 all-time for three point field goals made at USF.

When recently asked about his career at USF, Buckley replied, "When I came here three years ago, I wanted to be able to say I helped turn the program around and built the foundation for a powerhouse." Way to go Melvin.