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April 19, 2007About a month ago, Orane Chin wasn't very interested in playing basketball for the University of South Florida. In fact, the 6-foot-7 Miramar High School senior says he didn't know much about the Bulls.
Things changed quickly when Stan Heath was hired as USF's head coach just over two weeks ago. With only three scholarships available, Heath made Chin a top priority.
The 190-pound Class 6A all-state first team selection rewarded Heath for his efforts today when he verbally committed to the Bulls. He said he expects to sign his binding letter of intent on Friday when he receives the paperwork from USF.
"I chose USF because of coach Heath, it's close to home and the Big East Conference is the best in the country," Chin said. "He told me I was number one on their radar and he thinks I could make an immediate impact, which also weighed heavily in my decision. He is straight forward, honest and has a great personality."
Chin averaged 25 points and 17 rebounds in leading Miramar to a 23-7 record and a district championship. He played two seasons at Miami Dr. Krop High, where he averaged about 17 points. The recently turned 19 year-old played his first season at Miami Pace.
"Orane had offers from St. Joseph's and Central Florida and other schools were interested," Miramar head coach Ken Kelly said. "Coach Heath has been great through the whole process and stepped right in. I believe Orane can play the three (small forward) and four. He can shoot off the dribble."
Chin, who is also a standout high jumper, said he made his decision on USF several days ago, after consulting with his family. He credits Heath for making him aware of the Bulls program and showing interest.
"I called coach Heath today (Thursday) and I told him I was coming. He said he was happy to hear about it and that I could make an impact right away," Chin said. "I feel real good about it and my family, especially my mom, is happy. The Big East is the best conference and I am excited about playing in it."
The native of Jamaica said he wasn't concerned about USF's struggles in recent years and he believes Heath is going to take the program in a new direction.
"I really trust coach Heath and think the recruiting will go up and we will make it to the NCAA Tournament," Chin said. "I wasn't interested in USF before coach Heath came in and I am not sure how they felt about me. I believe I can help the program. I think my strengths are my rebounding and ability to get to the basket and I am a hard worker."
Chin said he hopes to enroll during the spring or summer to get an early start on his basketball career. He visited USF last weekend and was at the spring football game.
Chin shot 57 percent on two-point field goals this past season, was 37 percent from 3-point land and 61 percent from the foul line. He had one of his best games during the regular season against eventual state champion Pompano Beach Ely when he scored 26 points and had 13 rebounds in a 63-62 loss.
He also was the leading scorer for Broward with 17 points in the annual Dade-Broward All-Star Game.