Nov. 16, 2013
UTEP has addressed a need for backcourt help by signing three high school standouts to national letters of intent.
Omega Harris (Bethany, Okla.), Chris Sandifer (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Trey Touchet (Lafayette, La.) are all slated to join the Miners for the 2014-15 season.
"We're looking for all three to be able to impact our program as freshmen," UTEP coach Tim Floyd said.
The 6-2 Harris is regarded as a top-three player in the state of Oklahoma by future150.com (no. 1), Scout.com (no. 3) and 247Sports.com (no. 3). He averaged 17.9 points a year ago at Putnam City West High School.
"Omega is a dynamic guard who's very good in the open court," Floyd said. "He can really get in the lane and make plays for others. He has a great ability to score the basketball."
The 6-5 Sandifer is a four-star recruit and top-100 prospect by multiple scouting services. He is playing his senior year at Taft High School in Woodland Hills, Calif. after spending time at Price and Junipero Serra high schools previously.
"Chris has great size for his position," Floyd said. "He's an explosive athlete who can shoot the three."
The 6-2 Touchet (pronounced two-shet) was chosen the 2013 Louisiana Player of the Year by Gatorade and USA Today. He averaged 20.3 points last season for Saint Thomas More's state championship team.
"We think Trey is a really smart player who has been exceptionally well coached," Floyd said. "His ability to drive and ability to shoot impacts winning."
Complete bios follow on UTEP's signees.
UTEP Basketball Fall 2013 Signees
Guard, 6-2, 175
Bethany, Okla. (Putnam City West HS)
Rated the no. 29 point guard in the nation, the no. 114 overall player and the number one prospect in Oklahoma by future150.com ... listed as the no. 3 player in the state of Oklahoma by Scout.com and 247Sports.com ... also a three-star recruit by Rivals and Scout.com ... averaged 17.9 points, four assists, four steals and two steals as a junior at Putnam City West High School ... scored 28 points, including five three pointers, in a victory over Lawton Ike that clinched a spot in the 2013 6A state playoffs ... also had a big game against Edmond Memorial, scoring 33 points including 7-of-10 shooting from beyond the arc ... averaged 13 points as a sophomore and was tabbed the conference Defensive Player of the Year ... two time All-Conference during his prep career (first team as a junior, second team as a sophomore) ... played for the Oklahoma Rams AAU team ... participated in the 2013 NBPA (National Basketball Player's Association) Top 100 camp.
"I think his best basketball is yet to come because he works so hard. He is the hardest worker I have been around. He has a motor. He doesn't stop. Whether we're in preseason running on the track or in the weight room, he's the first to get there and he stays and lives in the gym. Coach Floyd definitely has a good player with a chance to be a great one. Going against guys where are at his level every day will bring out the best in him." -- Coach Lenny Bert, Putnam City West HS
Guard, 6-5, 180
Los Angeles, Calif. (Taft HS)
Four-star recruit and the no. 95 player in the United States by Rivals.com ... listed as the no. 86 player in the country, the no. 23 shooting guard and the no. 9 player in California by 247Sports.com ... ranked the no. 37 shooting guard in the nation, the no. 129 overall player and the no. 10 recruit in California by future150.com ... Scout.com pegged him as the no. 17 shooting guard in America and a four-star recruit ... playing his senior year at Taft High School in Woodland Hills, Calif. after spending time at Price and Junipero Serra high schools previously ... led Serra to a 20-6 mark in 2012-13 and the CIF 4AA title ... participated in the Pangos All-America camp in Long Beach, Calif. during the summer of 2013, putting up multiple 20-point games ... played for the Belmont Shore and Oakland Soldiers AAU teams.
"Chris is a special talent. He works extremely hard to get better on the floor. He can really shoot the ball. Based on what I've seen, he's a natural scoring guard who has the ability to move over and play the point as well. He's versatile. He's 6-5, he's athletic and he's long. He has a bunch of different attributes that coach Floyd and his staff will be able to take advantage of. I think he'll be able to play multiple positions. He should provide scoring as a freshman, and play point if they need him to." -- Coach C.J. Williams, Taft HS
Guard, 6-2, 175
Lafayette, La. (Saint Thomas More HS)
Rated the no. 41 shooting guard in the country and the no. 8 player in Louisiana by future150.com ... appointed the 2013 Louisiana Gatorade Player of the Year and the state player of the year by USA Today ... averaged 20.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.3 steals as a junior while shooting 57 percent from the field, 41 percent from three-point range and 83 percent from the line ... led the Cougars to a 34-4 record and the school's second state title ... averaged 23.8 points in four Class 4A state tournament games ... tallied 15 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals in the 46-40, title-clinching victory over Istrouma High School ... named the Class 4A outstanding player in Louisiana ... also the district 5-4A MVP ... named to the All-Tournament team at the Country Day High School tournament and the Sunkist Shootout, and the MVP of the St. Louis Tournament (Lake Charles, La.) and Northwood Shreveport Tournament ... chosen the NOLA.com Offensive Player of the Year, wing player of the year and Most Valuable Player ... has scored over 1,200 points in his prep career ... started as a sophomore as well and averaged 15.6 points per game ... has maintained a 4.0 prep grade point average ... member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes ... has volunteered on behalf of Habitat for Humanity, The Extra Mile's adopt-a-family initiative and Miles Perret Cancer Services' Games of Acadiana.
"I have been coaching for 30 years and never had a more intense player. He is a gym rat. His life is consumed with the sport of basketball. He's working in the gym all the time. His intensity is going to really help UTEP. He plays every possession like it's the last. He gives 110 percent all the time and never stops. I consider him to be a complete player. He's not really flashy, but he's crafty and he knows how to play and score and defend." -- Coach Danny Broussard, Saint Thomas More HS