Toughest challenge yet
Published: Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 13:05
In less than a week, the UTEP men’s basketball team will tip off the 2012-2013 season against Southeastern Oklahoma at 7 p.m. Nov. 3 at the Don Haskins Center.
“We feel that we are very prepared to play the teams,” sophomore forward, Julian Washburn said. “I feel the new players we received this year are going to help us out a lot. They are great defenders, and they hit the open shot. So even though we are still very young, we still have enough talent to compete with any team, including the big name teams.”
With two weeks of practice behind them, the Miners are ready to showcase what they have been preparing for—the toughest schedule in the program’s history.
The early lineup includes games against nationally ranked Arizona and tournament regulars such as Oklahoma, UNLV and Oregon.
Seven of UTEP’s games will air on networks like ESPN2, FOX Sports and CBS Sports, bringing national attention to the Miners’ court play.
The Miners, who finished 15-17, last season still have a lot to prove as one of the youngest teams in the nation. They said they are looking to exceed their previous record while keeping their expectations realistic.
“We never put limitations on our teams,” head coach Tim Floyd said. “I think looking at the schedule, most coaches would tend to run and hide, but we like our guys. But we are the 12th youngest team in the country so because of that you do not really know how they are going to perform every night, but I like the talent. I think we have made improvement and we intend to be very competitive.”
The Miners have added a retro twist to their upcoming season.
Inspired by some of UTEP’s past success, this season has been dubbed “Bringin’ Back the ‘80s” in hopes of recreating the success of the Miner teams in that decade.
“I think ‘Bringin’ Back the ‘80s’ is a wonderful concept. I was here in the ‘80s, (assistant) coach Greg Foster was here (as a player), and we had some great teams, so the mindset is to return to the level of greatness that was on the floor during that time,” Floyd said. “However, at this point we are still premature of reaching that greatness but it is definitely on the horizon.”
On Oct. 27 the Miners played in the Orange and White Scrimmage, which gave fans the opportunity to check out this season’s line up and the new recruitment for the team.
“It felt great to come out and show the fans what we are going to do this season, especially with it being my first game here at UTEP,” graduate student and new guard Konner Tucker said. “It felt good to be playing in front of a crowd and it gave us one more opportunity to play as a team. Together we are working on putting up a tough defense and executing on the offense this season.”
With a celebrated theme for the season and the scrimmage in the books, the Miners are set to take on the challenges the new season presents.
“We feel pretty confident this year because we have a lot of depth, so we can interchange a lot of guys in and out of the different roles that we have,” senior point guard Jacques Streeter said. “We are just glad to be back in the gym and working hard. We are still a young team, so to be able to compete competitively on the court we have upped the enthusiasm and intensity of our defense so I would like to believe that the sky is the limit for us.”
Audrey Westcott may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.