C-USA basketball blog

North Texas has established itself as one of the top programs in Conference USA under Grant McCasland. The Mean Green will see some stiff competition in the next few years with the moves Western Kentucky and UAB have made in the last few days.

Conference USA quietly just got a whole lot more interesting when it comes to men's basketball over the last few days.

UAB has always been a school that cares about hoops and hired Andy Kennedy as its new coach late last week. Kennedy was consistently successful at Ole Miss, which is quite an accomplishment considering the level of competition in SEC.

Not to be outdone, Western Kentucky, another C-USA school that cares about basketball, landed a commitment from point guard Zion Harmon on Tuesday. The junior is ranked No. 40 on 247Sports' list of the top players in the class of 2021.

The rise of North Texas as a program under Grant McCasland has put basketball back on the radar for a lot of Mean Green fans.

UNT won the C-USA regular season title this season before the spread of the coronavirus caused the college sports world to shut down. C-USA canceled its conference tournament after the opening day of the event.

The Mean Green lost just one starter in senior forward Deng Geu and two guards in DJ Draper and Roosevelt Smart. Draper was a key weapon off the bench as a 3-point shooter.

UNT will be among the favorites in C-USA again next season, but there is little doubt that the arrival of Kennedy at UAB will make things interesting in the league. 

Kennedy was named the SEC's Coach of the Year twice. He was a standout player for the Blazers.

UAB has won at least 19 games in each of the last three seasons and is scheduled to have its top three scorers back.

The Blazers have long been a C-USA basketball power and should continue to be a contender with Kennedy taking over the program.

WKU picking up a commitment from Harmon is also a key bit of news, even though he still has another year of high school to go.

Harmon would be among the most highly regarded players to end up at a C-USA school in recent memory. WKU has a long history of signing elite national players due to its basketball history.

Not all of them have made it to campus. Mitchell Robinson, a five-star center who now plays for the New York Knicks, was supposed to make a pit stop at WKU on his way to the NBA but never played for the Hilltoppers.

Harmon hasn't signed a letter of intent, but he has a relationship with WKU coach Rick Stansbury.

There's a long way to go before Harmon is locked into playing for the Hilltoppers. He's bounced around quite a bit in his high school career.

It would be a huge win for the WKU if Harmon follows through and ends up playing for the Hilltoppers.

What is of little question is that addition of Kennedy and the prospect of Harmon playing in the league beginning in 2021 makes C-USA a whole lot more interesting. 

BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 and via Twitter at @brettvito.

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