Terry Winn Breaks Silence on UTEP Departure
For the first time in the Tim Floyd era, a former member of the men's basketball team has publicly spoken out about the events leading to his decision to leave the program. In the last 72 hours, sophomore forward Terry Winn gave interviews to both CBS 4 and The Prospector explaining why he chose to leave the team. However, today's story in The Prospector was more in-depth and even included a text message from Winn and UTEP head coach Tim Floyd.
UTEP has refused to comment on the issue and Coach Floyd has said he will not talk about former players. Since we do not know all of the details prior to Winn being sent home from Charleston, all we have is speculation as to what could have led up to the coach's decision. Was Winn a distraction on and off the court and the Charleston incident just the straw that broke the camel's back? The former player did admit that he smiled while getting chewed out by Floyd at practice. Even if that was his way of brushing off the criticism, it could easily infuriate a coach who prides himself on disciplining his players. Also, Winn telling The Prospector "big deal" when describing his foul trouble in the Wake Forest game is a sign of immaturity.
On the flip side, Winn's comments about Floyd in The Prospector will be seen by thousands of students who attend UTEP. As it is, student support is horrible at football and men's basketball games. This story will not make students feel inclined to watch the Miners play basketball. Although it is a one-sided account, it paints a negative picture of the UTEP men's basketball program. A much bigger ramification is recruiting. You can bet that every program who recruits against UTEP will try and use this to their advantage. Even if the Miners say that the comments are from a disgruntled former player, you have to wonder if Winn describing the UTEP basketball atmosphere as fake and that nobody cares about players' best interests will have an effect on the program.
The bottom line here is that the Miners will be without one of their top offensive players for the remainder of the season. With Matt Willms' health also in question, senior Dominic Artis and junior Omega Harris will need to lead this team for the remainder of the season. Winn's departure also gives sophomore forward Paul Thomas a golden opportunity to step up in his absence. UTEP has faced adversity before, and Floyd's best coaching job was three seasons ago when he lost three players to the gambling scandal. Hopefully, he can get this group to overachieve for the next three months and surprise people in conference play.