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UTEP basketball: Josh McSwiggan embraces his new home in hopes of fulfilling his dream

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Josh McSwiggan came across the pond to El Paso in search of his basketball dream.

Alex Nicolas

There was a shock factor when news broke that Josh McSwiggan would sign with UTEP.

It wasn't a who is this guy, and what are doing with him shock.  But more of, the coaches are serious in their promise about bringing in the best talent available no matter how far they have to go.

McSwiggan stands 6'7, with a frame that will become attractive to pro-scouts over the next four years of strength and conditioning, and oh yeah.....he can slash, shoot, and jump out of the gym.

"I'm loving it, it's real hot. McSwiggan said of his time so far in El Paso. "It's a huge difference from England but it's a nice place, friendly city.   I fell in love with the city as soon as I came here, huge culture shock but I'll adapt."

Josh was blown away by El Paso and UTEP's top notch facilities on his official visit which sealed the deal.

"First of all it was the coaches, they seemed real interested.  I went up the mountain, went around the city. On the basketball side of it, I've never seen such great facilities to use, and I went to a game and the fans were in love with the game."

McSwiggan also said former Southern Miss. guard Neil Watson endorsed UTEP while he was in the recruiting process.

"I spoke to Neil because he was at the same place I was.  He had nothing but good words for UTEP, he said it was a great place.  He said Conference USA is a big conference too, it was great advice from him"

The biggest question surrounding McSwiggan is how he will transition from his overseas competition to NCAA D-1 basketball competition.

"I think its going to be a a lot more physical and a lot faster." McSwiggan said.  "In England its quite slowed down, and especially when I went to the European Championships it was quite slow.  I think I'm going to get there soon, I just have to pick up on the physical side."

McSwiggan appeared in eight games for the Great Britain 20-and-under team in the European Championships this past summer.   Despite a rough shooting percentage in the tournament, the experience he gained playing at that level was priceless for his future growth at the D-1 level.

"Well I think its the IQ," McSwiggan said of biggest thing he learned from playing on the national team. "I'm playing against players that probably are already playing professional now in Euro League.  And I think its's the IQ side of it, when I was playing against them they were smart, so it brought up my game to make myself play smart also."

One of the best traits McSwiggan can provide in his UTEP career is his athletic versatility, and deadly shooting range.

He's the perfect physical mold for a successful wing in Coach Floyd's system, but also understands its not all about offense when you play on a Tim Floyd coached team.

"I think I'm quite versatile for my size," McSwiggan said. "After I put on a bit of weight I'll probably be able to guard positions two through four."

"The defense is a lot of different as well in America.  So I think as time goes on I'll develop my defense to Coach Floyd's style, but I'm excited.  Defense first really."

McSwiggan pretty much has in the gym range, and has showed off his ability to get the rim, and finish with a highlight reel flare in his mix tapes.

The potential this kid has to not only become a legit pro prospect in a few seasons, but to also become a fan favorite, and big time for producer for UTEP down the road will be exciting to watch for UTEP fans.

What gets lost when we look at highly prized and high potential recruits is simply they're just kids chasing their dreams.  No matter how far they come from they all have to deal with distance from their family, and the tough task of being a student-athlete.

"It's tough," McSwiggan said of the distance from home,  "I understand also that I need to get away especially to America to fulfill my dreams hopefully.  Along the line I think it will get tougher, but I think for now I'm pursuing my dream and that's all that matters."