EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – With the departure of two of UTEP’s top guards from last season’s squad, Miners’ head coach Joe Golding is searching for who will be handling the rock for the team next season and he might have nailed down one.

New Mexico State guard Mario McKinney Jr. announced his commitment to UTEP on social media on Friday.

The St. Louis, Missouri, native played 31 games and started five for NMSU while he averaged 3.8 points per game, along with 2.1 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game last season.

McKinney, scored in double-digits in three games for the Aggies, his season-high coming in at 12 points against UC Irvine in the Aggies’ season opener back in Nov. of last year.

One of McKinney’s stand out games came in the last season’s WAC Tournament championship game where he dropped 10 points on 3-of-6 field goal shooting and making 4-of-6 free throws along with collected four rebounds and two assists.

His time in Las Cruces was not without controversy. In February, McKinney was arrested on a misdemeanor assault charge, according to Dona Ana County records. McKinney served a one-game suspension as punishment.

This is a big grab for the Miners and Joe Golding who is continuing to construct his squad for next season after a successful campaign in 2021-22.

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