MINERS
UTEP Men's Basketball Team to Christen 2010-11 Season Saturday

Randy Culpepper

Randy Culpepper

Oct. 26, 2010

The UTEP men's basketball team will tip off the 2010-11 season -- and Tim Floyd will make his debut as the Miners' head coach - on Saturday. UTEP will take on Eastern New Mexico at 7:05 p.m. in the first of two exhibition games at the Don Haskins Center.

The Miners will also host Texas A&M-Kingsville on Friday, Nov. 5, leading up to the regular season opener versus Pacific a week later.

Tickets to both UTEP exhibitions are $10 and are available by calling (915) 747-5234. UTEP season tickets are for sale through Nov. 11 by calling (915) 747-6150.

UTEP has had a total of 12 practices since the official NCAA start date of Oct. 15.

"In retrospect, we would've preferred to schedule the first exhibition a little later," Floyd said. "It has come really quick, given that we have 13 players adjusting to what we're trying to do in a short period of time. It will be a really educational night for our staff in terms of seeing who is grasping what we're doing and who has a ways to go. We should get a better idea of our strengths and limitations as a basketball team."

The Miners are coming off a banner 2009-10 season that produced 26 wins, a Conference USA regular season championship and NCAA Tournament berth. While the Miners have eight letterwinners and three starters back from that squad, they have a gaping hole inside left by the departure of Derrick Caracter and Arnett Moultrie, who combined for nearly 24 points and 15 rebounds per game a year ago.

Floyd said he hasn't settled on a starting lineup for the exhibition opener.

"It really doesn't matter who our starters are at this point, because I'm sure they won't be the same on opening night," he said. "We're still learning about this team. We may be looking more at putting different combinations of players on the floor."

 

 

One player who needs to work his way back into the mix is freshman center John Bohannon, who has missed a week's worth of practices due to illness but should return to the floor on Wednesday.

Eastern New Mexico, a Division II team out of Portales, was 10-16 last season but has a completely rebuilt roster with only five returning players. The Greyhounds' top returnees are senior forward Tyler Jefferson (11.7 ppg/5.8 rpg) and senior swingman Victor Reid (9.2 ppg). Reid is an El Paso native who played for former Miner Jim Forbes at Andress High School.