Tim Floyd Ready to Guide UTEP Men's Basketball


POSTED: Friday, October 15, 2010 - 1:48pm

UPDATED: Friday, October 15, 2010 - 11:33pm

Defending Conference USA regular season champion UTEP will join 344 Division I men’s basketball teams across the country in conducting its first official practice of the 2010-11 season on Saturday at the Foster Stevens Center.

UTEP practices are closed to the general public.

Per NCAA rules, UTEP coach Tim Floyd was allowed to work with his team for only two hours per week over the last month. Before that, he was permitted to conduct individual workouts with four players at a time for two hours weekly from Aug. 23-Sept. 15.

But starting on Friday, the Miners will go full bore in preparations for their first season under the direction of Floyd, who has taken 11 teams to postseason play in 16 years as a collegiate head coach.

UTEP returns three starters and eight lettermen from last year’s squad that finished 26-7 overall and steamrolled through C-USA with a 15-1 mark. The Miners entered both national polls for the first time in 18 years and made their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2005, losing to eventual national runner-up Butler in the first round.

UTEP has eight seniors who have combined to play in 610 Division I games – Randy Culpepper (103 games), Julyan Stone (103 games), Christian Polk (84 games), Wayne Portalatin (83 games), Claude Britten (82 games), Isaac Gordon (74 games), Jeremy Williams (60 games) and Eric Munoz (21 games). The eight seniors ties the 2005-06 team for the largest sum in school history.

The preseason Conference USA Player of the Year, Culpepper enters his senior year ranked no. 4 in UTEP history and no. 15 in the C-USA record book with 1,664 points.

Stone has 530 career assists, needing 34 to supplant Tim Hardaway (1985-89) as the Miners’ career leader and 103 to overtake USF’s Reggie Cohn (1999-03) for tops in C-USA annals.

Polk is UTEP’s third-leading returning scorer after averaging 9.4 points last season.

While backcourt depth is expected to be the strength of the 2010-11 Miners, they’ll need to replace the inside production lost with the departure of Derrick Caracter (14.1 ppg/8.1 rpg) and Arnett Moultrie (9.8 ppg/6.7 rpg). Williams will likely be counted on to assume more of the scoring load after collecting 10 points per game last season. The Miners went 16-2 after Williams was inserted into the starting lineup for the Southern Miss game on Jan. 16.

The Miners do have some size on their 2010-11 roster in 6-10 freshman John Bohannon, 6-11 Britten and 6-10 Portalatin.

UTEP will host Eastern New Mexico in its exhibition opener on Oct. 30. The Miners will tip off the campaign officially on Nov. 12 versus Pacific at the Don Haskins Center.

UTEP will also play host to the 2011 Conference USA Championship March 9-12.

Season tickets and C-USA Tournament all-access passes are on sale now by calling (915) 747-6150. In addition, Oct. 15 is the deadline for UTEP season ticket holders to reserve their seats for the Legends Classic games on Nov. 14 and Nov. 20 versus Mercer and Western Carolina, respectively.

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