UTEP men’s basketball head coach Rodney Terry introduced Kenton Paulino to the media on Wednesday as his top assistant coach.
“We’re really excited about Kenton Paulino joining our staff,” said Terry. “He’s a guy who comes to us with a wealth of playing experience and coaching experience. He’s won at every level and is a winner. He’s a rising super star in this business and we can’t wait to get to work.”
Paulino most recently served as an assistant at Tulsa. He was with the Golden Hurricane for two seasons, helping them to back-to-back winning campaigns.
Paulino has a history with Terry as he served as his assistant at Fresno State from 2012-17 and played at the University of Texas while Terry was an assistant.
“I am extremely excited to join the UTEP family and reconnect with coach Terry and staff,” said Paulino. “I am ready to get to work and help build on UTEP’s basketball tradition.”
While at Fresno State, Paulino was primarily responsible for game preparation, recruiting and skill development.
In his first season at Fresno State, the Bulldogs won 11 games. Paulino was instrumental in the development of the program as Fresno State was victorious 21 times during the 2013-14 season and advanced to the CBI Finals. The Bulldogs made a big splash during the 2015-16 campaign as they won the Mountain West Conference Tournament and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2001. Fresno State tallied 20 wins during Paulino’s final season and competed in the NIT.
Paulino’s first assistant coaching job was at Lamar in 2011-12, where he mentored the Cardinals to the Southland Conference Tournament title and their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2000. Additionally, Lamar topped 20 wins for the first time in 24 years and its 23 wins tied for the third-highest single-season total in program history.
Prior to his time at Lamar, Paulino worked for three seasons (2008-11) as a special assistant at Texas under head coach Rick Barnes. The Longhorns won 75 games while advancing to three consecutive NCAA Tournaments and garnered the program’s first no. 1 ranking in the AP and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls (2009-10).
Paulino was recruited to Texas by Frank Haith and played for the Longhorns from 2002-06 when Terry was an assistant coach. A two-year starter and four-year letterwinner, Paulino was a member of four NCAA Tournament teams and made trips to the Final Four (2003), Elite Eight (2006) and Sweet 16 (2004). He appeared in 106 games, playing both the point and shooting guard positions, and was a tri-captain as a senior.
During Paulino’s senior season (2005-06), he helped the Longhorns to a 30-7 record, the Big 12 Conference regular-season title and an Elite Eight appearance. He started all 37 games that season and earned the Lowe’s Home Improvement Most Improved Player award from the team. He also was a member of the conference’s All-Underrated Team as selected by the media and was one of six players nationally named to the Sports Illustrated “All-Glue” team.
The senior put his stamp on March Madness with a game-winning three-pointer as time expired that sent the Longhorns to the Elite Eight with a dramatic 74-71 win over no. 22 West Virginia.
After his senior campaign, Paulino played two years professionally. He spent a year oversees in Turkey and another as a member of the Austin Toros (2007-08), the NBA G League affiliate of the San Antonio Spurs.