It looks like the just-opened Muma Center might already be paying off for Coach Stan Heath and the men's basketball team. According to Bob Redmon of FightinGators.com, USF is in the running for Class of 2013 five-star point guard Kasey Hill. The 6'0" junior at the Montverde Academy in Montverde, about 20 miles northwest of Walt Disney World, has a final seven of USF, FSU, Florida, NC State, Kentucky, Louisville, and Missouri.
Hill visited USF earlier this summer with Class of 2012 recruits C Landry Nnoko and SG Dillon Graham, and Hill said the facilities on campus are some of the best in the country. (USF's basketball facilities! Some of the best in the country! I don't think that's been true for at least 20 years.)
Hill is an aggressive point guard who can beat his man off the dribble when attacking the lane. Kasey is also an excellent finisher in the lane and his court vision is off the charts. He's accurate shooting from about 18 feel right now, and that should only get better and stretch into three-point range as Hill gets older. Hill is also an exceptional defender with quick hands. If you don't believe me, just watch this. (Music might be a little NSFW.)
Redmon asked Hill why he is considering USF, and the close relationship Kasey has with Coach Heath and his son Jordan is playing a big part.
"I feel like I have a great relationship with Coach Stan Heath. I have known him since I was in about sixth grade when his son and I were on the same AAU team together. He would never recruit me. We just always talk about different things. We have built a great relationship and I trust him so much."
This would be a big coup for Coach Heath if he could land him. There are only so many times a big player like Hill is high on USF, and it's clear that the new facilities are already leaving an impression on recruits.
I think USF has more than a puncher's chance given Hill's relationship with Stan. Stan can pretty much guarantee Hill immediate playing time if he came to Tampa, which isn't something that most of the other schools can offer at this point.
Even if Hill doesn't choose USF in the end, it's good to see that the program is getting noticed by top-tier recruits. That's the first step of the long process of pulling USF basketball out of its current cycle.
We will keep you guys posted with any updates.