UTEP men’s basketball picked 10th in preseason C-USA poll; Boum selected to preseason team


EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – In Joe Golding’s first season at the helm of UTEP men’s basketball, the Miners will attempt to sneak up on the rest of Conference USA.

UTEP was picked to finish 10th in the C-USA preseason coaches poll that was released on Thursday by the conference. The Miners’ C-USA West rival UAB was picked to win the league; Louisiana Tech was tabbed second and Western Kentucky third.

“It’s a lot of motivation, but we pride ourselves on being underdogs and proving people wrong,” said UTEP senior forward Alfred Hollins, a graduate transfer from Oregon State. “We use that as motivation to keep working and never be satisfied. We don’t listen to outside noise, we listen to our circle. Whether we’re ranked first or 10th, we keep grinding to win as many games as we can.”

The Miners are coming off of a 12-12 (8-8 C-USA) season in 2020-21, the last under former head coach Rodney Terry. In an up-and-down campaign, the Miners finished fifth in Conference USA West, before Terry bolted to be the associate head coach at Texas under Chris Beard, resulting in the hiring of Golding at UTEP.

UTEP guard Souley Boum was also selected to C-USA’s preseason all-conference team on Thursday. A 2020-21 All C-USA third team member, Boum ranked third in C-USA in scoring (18.8 ppg) and fifth in the league in total points (450).

He also paced the conference and was 15th in the country with 130 made free throws. Boum knocked down his free throws at a rate of 81.2 percent, which was good enough for eighth in C-USA. He also led UTEP in steals (34) and dished out 60 assists.

Boum is currently sidelined in the preseason with a broken hand, but UTEP is hopeful that he will return to the lineup early in the regular season for the Miners.

UTEP will open the season Nov. 9 at home vs. Western New Mexico at 7 p.m. at the Don Haskins Center.

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