Cass Wastes No Time In Deciding

Manuel Cass, a post-graduate student at South Kent, is off the board. The Illinois native found a comfortable fit in Conference USA over the weekend.

Tony Barbee may be new to UTEP and a first time head coach but its not taking him long to get going. On Saturday night, Barbee secured his third commitment from the Class of 2007 and his best one yet.

Joining what already was a strong class with guard Randy Culpepper and Malcoln Kirkland, is combo forward Manuel Cass, a native of Illinois.

Barbee wasn't on Cass long but his pursuit was intense after seeing him early in the fall. "UTEP actually got involved early in pre-season conditioning," Cass said. "It was an open gym and they came through to watch Papa Dia and they found me.

"I liked the situation and I looked into it. (Barbee) was real in what he was telling me and I like the situation. They've been on me for a good month now but it's been a real good month."

Providence, Seton Hall, Georgetown, Kentucky and Rutgers were among the schools showing interest in the one-time Bradley and DePaul commitment.

Cass, an explosive player who spent a lot of time inside as a high schooler, has always wanted to expand his game. To his credit, he's worked diligently on becoming a more perimeter oriented player and has shown steady improvement during the last year and a half.

"That's coming along pretty well. I'm shooting it more consistent and my dribbling has gotten better. Coach Chillious is letting me play my game and I'm getting better every day."

So is UTEP's 2007 recruiting class and its got Cass fired up to be a Miner.

"I know Randy Culpepper and I've seen him play the past few years. I like his style of play and the way the coaches talked about (Kirkland), I was liking that. We can have a tremendous class and a tremendous team. We should be able to do some damage."

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