UTEP Miners

Tim Floyd
Associated Press

Three-star point guard headed to UTEP

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UTEP currently has just one scholarship point guard on its roster, resulting in head coach Tim Floyd and his staff actively pursuing another option in the Class of 2016. Thursday the Miners landed that recruit, as 5-foot-10 point guard Deon Barrett announced that he’ll be attending the Conference USA school. Barrett is UTEP’s first verbal commitment in the Class of 2016.

Barrett, who attends Lancaster HS in Lancaster, Texas (located in Dallas County), just recently received a scholarship offer from UTEP and it didn’t take him long to commit. Barrett, who won a Class 5A state title alongside Texas A&M freshman Elijah Thomas last season, will take his official visit to UTEP this weekend. Barrett averaged 15 points and seven assists per game as a junior, a year in which he showed himself to be a good perimeter shooter as well as a distributor.

As noted above UTEP was in need of additional depth and a possible answer for the future at the point guard position. At present time junior guard Dominic Artis is UTEP’s lone scholarship point guard, with the academic ineligibility of sophomore Omega Harris (he’ll miss at least the first semester) leaving the Miners without a player who could occasionally spell Artis at the point.

While Barrett obviously can’t help UTEP with that depth issue this season, he can upon his arrival on campus for the 2016-17 season.

UTEP adds four-star forward Brodricks Jones, former San Diego State commit

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With Brodricks Jones asking San Diego State for a release from his National Letter of Intent last month, a talented four-star prospect was suddenly on the market. Sunday Jones’ second recruitment came to an end, as it was confirmed to NBCSports.com that he’ll join Tim Floyd’s program at UTEP. Jones made the decision while visiting the El Paso campus, doing so days before scheduled trips to Memphis and Providence.

News of Jones’ commitment was first reported by CBSSports.com.

Jones is the seventh addition to the UTEP program, joining junior college transfers Dominic Artis and Lee Moore, and freshmen Josh McSwiggan, Paul Thomas, Kelvin Jones and Christian Romine. And with the Miners losing Vince Hunter to the NBA, the addition of Jones is an important one for them for the 2015-16 season.

UTEP also returns veterans Hooper Vint (redshirt senior) and Matt Willms (redshirt junior) to the front court, however it was reported earlier this week that Willms is expected to miss the entire season due to a foot injury (guard Omega Harris is expected to miss the fall semester for academic reasons per that same report).

With that being the case, the addition of Jones becomes even more important for a team that will be young in the paint this upcoming season.

Former San Diego State signee Brodricks Jones trims list to four

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In late June forward Brodricks Jones, who was expected to be a key piece down the line for San Diego State, surprised some people when he requested to be released from his National Letter of Intent. Jones, a four-star 6-foot-9 power forward, hasn’t lacked for attention since reopening his recruitment and Saturday night he announced via Twitter that he’s now considering four schools.

“I have narrowed my choices to Memphis, UTEP, Syracuse and Providence and will take visits in the very near future,” Jones tweeted.

In regards to Memphis the Tigers find themselves in this race just days after losing their best front court player in Austin Nichols, who asked for and was granted a release from his scholarship. Without Nichols, the Tigers return senior Shaq Goodwin in the front court with freshmen Dedric Lawson (whose brother K.J. will be in the running for minutes at the three) and Nick Marshall joining Josh Pastner’s program.

As for UTEP, the Miners have two upperclassmen in Hooper Vint (senior) and Matt Willms (junior) with four freshmen coming aboard. However, like Memphis Tim Floyd’s program is right at the 13-scholarship mark at this time. Providence, which lost two front court players (Tyler Harris and Paschal Chukwu) via transfer this offseason, has an available scholarship with sophomore Ben Bentil being their most experienced front court player.

Syracuse, which added Chukwu to its roster, has an available scholarship but does have to consider NCAA sanctions that led to them losing 12 scholarships over a four-year period that begins in 2016. Should they land Jones, the Orange would be at 12 scholarships counting commit Matthew Moyer for the 2016-17 season (provided everyone who can return does), which would be two above their new limit. Syracuse is also in the race for five-star guard Tyus Battle.

In their front court for the 2015-16 season the Orange return three upperclassmen, with junior Tyler Roberson being the most experienced of the three (DaJuan Coleman and Chinoso Okoboh being the others), and freshmen Tyler Lydon and Moustapha Diagne join the program.

Where Jones lands remains to be seen, but the four programs listed offer up interesting scenarios for the Californian. And in the case of Memphis and UTEP, adding him will likely lead to some scholarship juggling.