The Tim Floyd Era at UTEP is Officially Over
Earlier this week, sophomore guards Evan Gilyard and Kobe Magee both announced on social media their intentions to transfer from UTEP. Their decisions to leave the program were hardly a surprise, considering both players struggled to find their place in Rodney Terry's system. Gilyard received plenty of plenty time on a team with a shorthanded roster, but his point production slid during the season, especially in conference play. Magee struggled for minutes and when he was on the court, his offensive contribution paled in comparison to UTEP's other guards.
Coach Terry prefers bigger guards, evidenced by 6'4 freshmen Nigel Hawkins and Jordan Lathon, 6'3 transfer Souley Boum, 6'5 Prop 48 Deon Stroud, and 6'6 combos Anthony Tarke and Kaden Archie. UTEP's two incoming freshmen recruits Jesse Zarzuela and Brendan Wenzel are 6'3 and 6'6 respectively. The 5'10 Gilyard and 6'1 Magee were smaller and more of a defensive liability on the court for the Miners. They were also used to playing in a system as freshmen that gave both the freedom to do whatever they wanted on offense. Coach Terry has a much more structured system and Gilyard seemed lost with his role on the court as the season progressed. As Hawkins and Lathon developed over the last few months, Gilyard's shooting suffered and frustration grew. During this time, the Miners also continued to sign players, and rumors swirled as to who would stay with thee program and who would not be back. To the credit of both Gilyard and Magee, they showed flashes of brilliance at times that will help them land with other D1 programs, while not being major distractions to the team on and off the court.
The two transfers combined with Paul Thomas graduating officially marks the end of the Tim Floyd Era at UTEP. Despite high hopes prior to each season, the Miners were never ever to deliver on Floyd's promise to return UTEP to the Glory Days of the 1980s. Those teams were ranked in the Top 25, one of the top programs in the WAC, and were always hanging banners from their NCAA Tournament appearances. Times have changed in college basketball and it has become tougher than ever to win consistently as a mid-major, especially when competing in a 14-team league that only sends one school to the Big Dance. Coach Floyd found that out the hard way and the current group under Coach Terry will try and reverse the trend for the Miners beginning next season.