EL PASO, TEXAS (KTSM) – Back-to-back losses last week have UTEP in a bit of early season desperation for a victory, as the Miner are in the midst of a tough stretch of games.
After road defeats at Saint Mary’s and Arizona, the Miners will travel to the Valley of the Sun on Wednesday to play Arizona State. When they get there, UTEP could get a big boost to its roster.
According to Stadium’s Jeff Goodman, the NCAA is expected to recommend the immediate eligibility of all transfer players for men’s and women’s sports on Wednesday. If it happens, North Alabama transfer Christian Agnew would be able to play this season for the Miners.
Agnew has been redshirting due to transfer rules, but if the NCAA waives that policy for this season, the junior could play. He would be a big help, too; the man they call “Saucy” led North Alabama in scoring last year with 12.8 ppg and 4.4 rebounds per game.
“Saucy is a guy that will pretty much complete our team in terms of, he gives us more guard depth, and a guy that can come in and pick the ball up 94 feet,” UTEP head coach Rodney Terry said. “When he comes in the game, he’s going to make a difference both defensively and offensively. He really shores up our guard rotation.”
Agnew is also a good shooter; he hit on 35 percent of his three-pointers a year ago. The Miners are hoping for good news from the NCAA, but in the meantime, UTEP still has to get ready for Arizona State.
The Sun Devils are a young, but very talented team coming off a win over Grand Canyon over the weekend. ASU has gotten great guard play thus far this season, particularly from Remy Martin, who is averaging 18 points per game for the Sun Devils.
It will be a tough test for UTEP after a pair of defeats against Saint Mary’s and Arizona, respectively. The Miners’ guards will have to be up to the task.
“We’re coming in knowing we have to have a good team defense and a good 1-on-1 guard with those guys,” UTEP junior guard Souley Boum said. “They like to break out and they’re very talented, so they’re very capable of getting hot and scoring the ball a lot, and fast. We know what they do and their tendencies, so we’ll be ready for it.”
Led by Martin, four Sun Devils players are averaging double figures in scoring early in the 2020-21 campaign.
It’s a 7 p.m. tip-off for UTEP and Arizona State on Wednesday in Tempe. The game can be seen on the Pac-12 Network.