#125 UTEP Men's Basketball 2019-2020 Preview

UTEP Miners
2019-2020 Overall Rank: #125
Conference Rank: #6 C-USA
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UTEP knew it was going to take some time to rebuild the program. Coach Rodney Terry came to UTEP last season with a solid resume during his seven years as the head coach at Fresno State, but year one did not go well. The Miners won just eight games and three in conference play. Even with the low expectations, that was not what UTEP was hoping for in Coach Terry’s debut campaign. That was a very young team though and with more experience, and a handful of transfers, this is a Miners team that can take a huge step forward in 2019-2020.
2018-19 Record: 8-21, 3-15
2018-19 Postseason: None
Coach: Rodney Terry
Coach Record: 8-21 at UTEP, 134-129 overall
Key Departed Players:
Paul Thomas, Forward, 7.7 ppg
Evan Gilyard, Guard, 13.6 ppg
Kobe Magee, Guard, 3.5 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Jordan Lathon, Sophomore, Guard, 10.9 ppg
Nigel Hawkins, Sophomore, Guard, 12.6 ppg
Efe Odigie, Sophomore, Forward, 12.7 ppg
Kaosi Ezeagu, Sophomore, Forward, 3.2 ppg
Gilles Dekoninick, Junior, Forward, 2.0 ppg
Ountae Campbell, Senior, Guard/Forward, 3.0 ppg
Key New Players:
Tydus Verhoeven, Junior, Forward, Transfer from Duquesne
Souley Boum, Junior, Guard, Transfer from San Francisco
Bryson Williams, Junior, Forward, Transfer from Fresno State
Anthony Tarke, Junior, Guard/Forward, Transfer from NJIT
Kaden Archie, Sophomore, Guard/Forward, Transfer from TCU
Deon Stroud, RS Freshman, Guard/Forward
Jesse Zarzulela, Freshman, Guard
Eric Vila, Junior, Forward, JC Transfer
There were three freshmen who started last season and they are now very experienced sophomores. Efe Odigie was a dominate force in the paint, averaging 12.7 points and 10.1 rebounds. Guards Nigel Hawkins and Jordan Lathon also averaged double figures in the scoring column as freshmen. Both need to be more consistent shooting the ball and taking care of the ball, but the year of experience will help with that. Having more talent around them will help too. Of all five of the transfers with Division I experience, it is Bryson Williams who should make the biggest impact. He spent two successful seasons at Fresno State, averaging 14.0 points and 6.1 rebounds during his sophomore season. The frontcourt also adds Tydus Verhoeven, who started 27 games during his freshman campaign at Duquesne where he led the Atlantic 10 with 2.2 blocks per game. Wing Anthony Tarke averaged 15.7 points and 6.2 rebounds two years ago at NJIT, while Kaden Archie has a lot of potential after seeing very limited playing time during his one season at TCU. Souley Boum spent one year at San Francisco and proved to be a very capable all-around scorer. All of those transfers were on the UTEP sidelines last season so they should be able to come together quickly. If that happens, this group will be a contender in the Conference USA title chase.
Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 64.1 (337th in nation, 13th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 69.0 (110, 8)
Field-Goal Percentage: 40.1 (339, 14)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.1 (82, 7)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.9 (261, 10)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 32.1 (291, 12)
Free-Throw Percentage: 66.1 (320, 11)
Rebound Margin: 0.4 (177, 9)
Assists Per Game: 10.6 (338, 13)
Turnovers Per Game: 16.1 (432, 14)