EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – UTEP Head Coach Rodney Terry will enter his second season with an upgraded roster. The new Miners’ squad will host New Mexico Highlands in the 2019-20 season opener Tuesday night. The 99th season of UTEP hoops is set to tipoff at 7 p.m. in the Haskins Center.
Sophomore Souley Boum, junior Anthony Tarke, sophomore Tydus Verhoeven and junior Bryson William sat out all of last season due to NCAA transfer rules. But the quartet practiced in Terry’s system during that year and will finally step onto the hardwood to begin their UTEP careers Nov. 5.
“Anytime a kid has a year to sit out, has a chance to work on his game and expand his game, it’s an advantage,” Terry said. “With Bryson, we worked particularly on trying to expand his game in terms of shooting the basketball, handling the basketball and passing at a more efficient level. They made our guys from last season play better as well. We started three freshmen and those guys got a chance to play against older players every single day in practice.”
Fans had the opportunity to witness Terry’s new troops in the action Oct. 12 when they played host to 2019 national runner-up Texas Tech in the #ElPasoStrong Charity Game.
Another one of Terry’s stud transfers graduate student Daryl Edwards made a huge impact after hitting 6-of-8 from downtown and leading the way with 24 points on 8-of-10 shooting. Williams electrified the Miner faithful with thunderous dunks while scoring 19 points and leading the team with nine rebounds. Boum got off to a slow start, but dished out a team-leading four assists. The fourth dime came on an ally-oop to Williams, who slammed it down, giving the Miners a 12-point and sealing the victory.
Lathon, who was one of four freshmen to play significant minutes last year, finished with 15 points and pulled down eight rebounds in 34 minutes against the Red Raiders.
“The freshmen played meaningful minutes at critical times. They gained valuable experience and learned from their mistakes a year ago,” Terry said. “To be honest, a lot of them tried to pace themselves a little bit through games because they had to stay on the floor. This year, we have great depth and a number of guys who can play. We’re in a unique situation where our younger guys got to play and we didn’t have the older guys. This year, we have a great mix of players.”
The new squad will face a New Mexico Highlands team that finished 22-10 overall last season. The Cowboys are in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and posted a 14-8 league record. NMHU averaged 87.2 points per game, while making 10.3 three-point baskets per contest (331-903, .367 percent).
Senior Raquan Mitchell returns after leading the team in points per game (20.6), while the 6-3 guard averaged just over four boards per contest. First-year head coach Mike Dominguez took over at the helm after serving as the associate head coach the previous two seasons. Junior guard Desmond Carpenter returns after averaging 6.4 points per game.