UTEP looks to regroup following Lathon transfer


EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Roughly 48 hours after news broke that guard Nigel Hawkins entered the transfer portal, 24 hours after guard Jordan Lathon entered the portal and Hawkins then removed his name from the portal; UTEP head coach Rodney Terry met with the media on Monday morning to discuss the state of the Miners men’s basketball program.

The message to his team, the media and Miners fans in El Paso: stay the course.

“Throughout any course of the season, you are going to have some adversity and some things you have to deal with,” said Terry. “This time in college basketball, that’s [player transfers] what it is. Either you adapt and adjust to it, keep rolling and don’t worry about it. You have to stay the course. I’ve always been a guy that stays the course.”

Since the start of the college basketball season, nearly 100 Division I players have entered the transfer portal. It is a trend that has taken over the game and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

“You have to keep recruiting your players because if you’re not, someone else is doing it. I promise you,” said Terry. “You can’t be afraid of it, you have to embrace it and look around. It used to be guys who just weren’t playing. Now it’s guys playing who are impactful.”

Hawkins was at practice on Monday after taking to Twitter on Sunday night announcing his intentions to stay with the program. He is now the starting point guard and the Miners believe they still have enough to make a run to the NCAA Tournament.

“We have all the pieces we need to win a conference championship,” said junior Bryson Williams. “It’s a matter of us working hard, getting better, and do what we need to do to make that happen.”

The Miners will travel to Miami, Florida in a matchup against FIU on Thursday night, followed by a crosstown road trip to FAU on Saturday. Getting off to a fast start in Conference USA play is imperative for this program.

“I think it’s big for us, especially coming off this rough stretch where we’ve have with a lot of turmoil, I guess you could say,” said junior Anthony Tarke. “We are looking past that and we are excited for our next challenge.”

“I’m excited about our team,” said Terry. “I’m excited about starting conference play and our guys are [excited]. Everyone here is two feet in and they’re excited about conference play.”

UTEP is 9-4 this season and will look to win their first road game since March of 2018 when they take the floor on Thursday night against the Panthers. Tip-off is scheduled for 10 a.m. MT.

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