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Horn makes it official: WKU staff joins him

New USC men’s basketball coach Darrin Horn officially announced three hires to his staff Wednesday, while stating the preferred criteria for the remaining coaching spot.

As expected, all three assistants from Horn’s Western Kentucky staff have joined him in Columbia. Scott Cherry and Cypheus Bunton will be full-time assistants; Neill Berry will fill a role to be determined, according to a statement.

Berry is expected to end up being the director of basketball operations, a job that entails administrative duties as well as some coaching. That would leave Horn a spot for a full-time assistant.

“Ideally, that will be filled by someone who has recruited at a high level,” Horn said in a statement. “It would be a bonus if he has experience in the SEC. More importantly, I’m looking for the best person to fit with our staff and fill any other needs we may have.”

There are no known candidates. Sources have said it is unlikely Horn will retain one of former coach Dave Odom’s assistants.

Cherry, 36, is the most experienced of the three new staff members. He played at North Carolina from 1989-93, winning a national title as a senior, and spent the majority of his coaching career at George Mason, going to the Final Four in 2006. He joined Horn at Western Kentucky before last season.

Bunton, 36, was a teammate of Horn’s at Western Kentucky, and rejoined him on the Hilltoppers staff four years ago. Prior to that, Bunton spent nine years playing professionally, most of it overseas.

Berry, 25, spent the past three seasons on Horn’s staff, first as a graduate assistant then one season as a full-time assistant. He played at Southeastern Louisiana, which is a member of the Southland Conference.

“I’m very excited about this staff,” Horn said. “They have a great knowledge of our system and are outstanding with young people. While we will spend a lot of time recruiting the state of South Carolina, this staff has had success in recruiting the areas outside the state, such as Georgia, Florida and North Carolina, where we need to have a strong presence.”

Reach Emerson at (803) 771-8676.

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