Could the Newton Brothers Reunite at UTEP?
Yesterday, Adrian Broaddus took a deep look at the latest in UTEP men's basketball recruiting. As Joe Golding and staff prepare for their second round matchup in the Basketball Classic against Southern Utah, they are also looking closely at the future of the program. Two names to keep a close eye on over the next few weeks are Tristen and Jawaun Newton.
Most El Paso sports fans remember the Newton brothers from their days starring at Burges. They also know that their cousins are Aaron and Alvin Jones. What they might not know is that the Newton brothers could both be looking to change schools for the 2022-23 season.
Tristen Newton led East Carolina in scoring last season, averaging 17.7 points per game. He also led the team in assists with 151 over 30 games and grabbed 4.8 rebounds per game. That was good enough to be named second team all conference. The Pirates finished the 2021-22 season with a 15-15 record, but just 6-11 in the American Athletic Conference. The school fired Joe Dooley after the season and replaced him with former Tennessee assistant Michael Schwartz. It will be interesting to see if Newton sticks around to play his junior season for Schwartz or instead, he decides to go into the Transfer Portal.
Meanwhile, his older brother Jawaun just finished his fourth season at Evansville. The Purple Aces had a disappointing 6-24 season, including a last place finish in the Missouri Valley Conference. However, Jawaun was one of the few bright spots on the team. He finished second on the team in scoring, averaging 12.7 points and led the team in rebounds, pulling down 5.4 per game. He has one season of college eligibility remaining.
UTEP did not actively recruit either Tristen or Jawaun when both were starring at Burges. Multiple members of the previous Miners coaching staff told 600 ESPN that they made a big mistake by not pursuing Tristen and offering him a scholarship.
Currently, both Newton brothers have not put their names into the Transfer Portal and they could choose to stay at ECU and Evansville next season. However, it is no secret that UTEP could use both players in a big way, especially if they lose one or more of their guards off of their roster following their run in the Basketball Classic. Tristen (6-5, 190) and Jawaun (6-3, 170) would both fit well into Joe Golding's rotation. The Miners need skilled playmakers at the guard positions and both could give UTEP the kind of veteran presence that the team needs.
A few weeks ago, Tristen was spotted in Frisco to watch the Miners play in the Conference USA Tournament, along with Aaron and Alvin Jones. You wonder how much his cousins are trying to persuade him to come home.
If Tristen and Jawaun both enter their names into the transfer portal, they most likely would want to play together for the first time since they starred at Burges. With a new staff firmly in place, the Miners get a second chance at pursuing the Newton brothers. UTEP is the perfect place to reunite them, ensuring that the team's backcourt will remain solid no matter what happens. Let's hope that Miners fans receive an early Christmas gift.