A look at next season’s UTEP Miners, keeping in mind that some coaches can shuffle roster players like card sharks during the off-season.
It appears UTEP basketball, roster-wise, is not oversaturated with guys on scholarship.
Coach Tim Floyd has a history of going over the limit, but then retreating back to the 13 max at the last minute. In other words, heads get chopped one way or another.
From the way the roster looks, there appear to be 14 scholarship guys, one over. But that’s counting point guard McKenzie Moore, who is reportedly enrolled at UTEP but has not been academically eligible. He may not be officially on scholarship.
Here’s how coaches generally handle too many guys on scholarship:
1) There can be flunkouts. It happens. And sometimes coaches don’t mind that it happens. If he really need a player who may be struggling in class, he gives him a heavy dose of tutors, and there’s usually an assistant coach assigned to make sure players go to class. If you don’t need him, because you can get a better player, you kinda let him die off the eligible list.
2) Coaches often help a player find a different school, one where he may see much more playing time.
Coach: “Hey, Stretch, you’re not going to see a lot of playing time here. But I’ve talked with the coach at Eastern Northwestern Tech and he said you could start for his team.”
That’s happened a lot at UTEP, and at many other schools, over many years.
3) And some guys just plain quit, as did Darius Nelson one game into this past season.
So that’s why a coach is not in a lot of trouble if he’s one or two scholarships over the limit at this time of the year.
But since coaches are always on the lookout for even better players than they already have, they are known to line up these new players during the summer, and then they go through the above process before it’s time to turn in the official scholarship list.
Sometimes it’s a dirty deal.
What’s unfair to a player is if he’s a good student and works hard in practice , but the coach found somebody whose a better basketball player. So his scholarship gets yanked when he and his parents had expected scholarship money to pay for his college education.
So far UTEP has announced the signing of three freshmen-to-be, while losing only senior Gabe McCulley, who has used up his eligibility. And Nelson quit.
I counted 10 scholarship players on the 2011-12 season set to come back next season:
John Bohannon (6-foot-10), D’Von Campbell (6-0), C.J. Cooper (6-0), Cedrick Lang (6-9), Mike Perez (6-3), Jalen Ragland (6-6), Jaques Streeter (6-0), and Julian Washburn (6-7).
Add in Malcolm Moore (6-7) and Hooper Vint (6-10), who both missed most of this past season with injuries.
Add in new signees: Twymond Howard 6-6), Chris Washburn (6-8) and Dustin Watts (6-4).
Point guard McKenzie Moore would make 14.