EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The final dominoes from UTEP’s 2021-22 roster under Joe Golding have officially fallen.
Guard Keonte Kennedy, who averaged 14.1 points and 6.1 rebounds per game for the Miners last season, entered the NCAA Transfer Portal on Tuesday after weeks of speculation. Shortly before Kennedy entered, forward Che Evans also went in the Portal. Evans came to UTEP in January, but never played for the Miners.
Kennedy has already received his degree from UTEP and will leave El Paso as a graduate transfer with two years of eligibility remaining. Evans, a transfer from San Diego State, will still have four years of eligibility left wherever he ends up. He was never on scholarship at UTEP.
“I would like to say thank you to Coach Rodney Terry and his staff, as well as Coach Joe Golding and his staff. This program and fanbase is in great hands with (Director of Athletics) Jim Senter and Coach Joe Golding for years to come,” Kennedy wrote as part of a statement he issued on social media to announce his transfer.
Kennedy’s departure from UTEP is by no means surprising; the Miners coaching staff has been operating in recruiting as if he wouldn’t return, while also hoping that he would. With Evans and Kennedy leaving, that leaves just three players from the 2021-22 roster for next season: Kevin Kalu, Ze’rik Onyema, Jamari Sibley.
11 players from Joe Golding’s first season have now exited the program: 10 to the transfer portal or professional ranks and one to graduation. The Miners will also have to replace over 90% of their scoring output from the 2021-22 season in which they won 20 games and went to the postseason for the first time since 2015.
Golding and his staff have been hot on the recruiting trail to get new players. Burges graduate Jawaun Newton, an Evansville graduate transfer, was one of multiple players who took official visits to UTEP over the weekend. More players are expected to take official visits next weekend as well.
They’ve also received commitments from four different players already: Jamal Sumlin, a high school player from Cleveland; Mario McKinney, a guard from New Mexico State; and two Junior College forwards, Jonathan dos Anjos and Derick Hamilton.
Kennedy’s transfer means that only one player remains from the Rodney Terry era at UTEP. Ze’rik Onyema is the lone survivor from Terry’s time in El Paso.
With the final dominoes falling into the transfer portal, Golding and UTEP can now focus fully on recruiting for the 2022-23 season.