"It's hard to believe," said USF Head Coach Stan Heath. "Just five years ago, none of this existed, it was just conversation, and to see it come to fruition is just amazing."
Heath and the Bulls have already been using the Pam and Les Mumas practice facility all season and the results have been better than anticipated as the Bulls went 22-14, earned the program's first NCAA tournament bid in twenty years, and Heath was named Big East Coach of the year.
"This building has been fantastic for us, and when you add a brand new Sun Dome, it doesn't get much better than this," said Heath. "This is the crème de le crème for a college basketball coach."
"To have our practice facility attached to the Sun Dome and having it all on campus, it can't get much better than this,'' said Heath, who said it also helps the basketball team. "Our guys just feel good about themselves, and feel like they're playing in the best environment and the best facilities you can play in."
Heath also said that the new facilities and new dome have a huge impact on his recruiting efforts.
"Obviously, from a recruiting standpoint, it's a slam dunk," said Heath. "People think kids choose schools based on academics and other things, but where you play is huge for recruits and what it looks like is huge. They are very much caught up into visionary things, what they can see. It's going to make a world of difference in our recruiting for our program as we move forward."
The 2012 class ranked 12th nationally by HoopScoop, includes Flint Michigan 6'5 shooting guard Javontae Hawkins, one of the most decorated players ever for Stan Heath's recruiting class, 6-11 center Waverly Austin from Palm Beach State College, 6-5 shooting guard Musa Abdul-Aleem from Georgia Perimeter College, and 6'7 power forward Zach LeDay from The Colony in Texas.
"Whats going to happen is we're going to consistently be able to recruit at a high level. Because of that we should be able to consistently have a very good basketball program," said Heath. "We're already seeing it going into the 20113 and 2014 recruiting class. You put those things together, facilities, winning, guys getting to the next level, and that's a combination that really appeals to young players that want to play at a high level.
After being hired in 2007, other Coaches told heath he may not want to take the USF gig, because of how tough it would be. Now things have changed.
"Now they say, man, you've got a great job,''' said Heath."You've got a great environment, great facilities, and great support. So now it's really turned into a special, special place.''
After earning the Bulls first NCAA bid since 1992, reaching just shy of the sweet 16, hanging that ban will be very special when the Bulls open next season.
"I haven't really put it all in perspective yet, but that's going to be a nice moment hanging that banner, it's something we haven't had in a long time, and it's something we want to continue to put up there," said Heath. "It's going to be a special day, just reflecting on what these guys have accomplished."
"In time we'll see where this exactly takes us,'' said Heath. "In my mind, there's no doubt that we can win Big East championships and can compete at the very highest levels, Final Four and all of the above at the University of South Florida. The future is very bright, and I'm happy to be a part of it."You can watch the video's here:
Heath's press conference -Watch Video.
1-on1 with Heath -
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