UTEP All-Time Men’s Basketball Tournament: Sal’s Takeaways
Although we won't get to see any upsets in this years big event, perhaps we'll see some in the UTEP All-Time Men's Basketball Tournament. While going through the record books I was grinning from ear to ear when coming across names that I remember hearing about or actually witnessing as Miners. I'm sure anybody that has seen the brackets can remember players and the moments they brought like they were yesterday.
Digging through the brackets was exhilarating and it definitely made me conjure up my own thoughts on the selected 64 and what changes I'd vouch for. You'll find my entire 64-man list below in no particular order
Kent Lockhart is a guy that I think many UTEP fans appreciate, and rightfully so, but aside from the swinging fists against BYU in the 3OT game I don't really recall anything memorable. Yes, there were some NCAA tournament appearances but 8.1 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game isn't anything to gawk over when we're talking about the top 64 Miners to ever wear a uniform for two years or more. Without the punches against BYU I don't even think Lockhart makes the list. Give me Harry Flournoy who averaged 10.1 rebounds and 6.8 points per game throughout his Miner career over Lockhart.
A name that I came across and couldn't believe made the list was Arnett Moultrie. Although an inevitable NBA player who transferred, we really only saw one year of promise and one year of growth. Averaging only 9.3 points and 4.8 rebounds per game over his career, I don't think Moultrie stood out enough to really warrant a spot in the tournament. Had he stayed another year and given it a shot with the Miners in Floyd's first season as Head Coach in 2011 I really think that a) his career as a Miner would be far greater illustrated by himself; and b) there would be no meltdown in the C-USA title game. The Miners were not as dominant down low with both Caracter & Moultrie gone, Moultrie would have relished in another extremely athletic team as the lone star-big with loads chemistry that season.
One player whose name stuck out to me that didn't make the list was Mark Ingles. I don't think you can talk about three-point shooting when it comes to UTEP without mentioning Mark Ingles. Having hit 140 threes in only 57 games of action during his two-year stint at UTEP, I thought he would've made the round of 64 just based off his shooting prowess alone. In the end, Ingles body of work is just not enough to grant him a seed in the tournament. Also, without shooting, is Ingles next best asset enough for him to remain nearly as much of a threat on the court?
I was surprised to see that Ed Haller did not make the cut. A walking double-double at 16.4 points and 12 boards per game in the mid-50s, Haller was a force on the court. Even though the scoring might look good on paper, Haller averaged 5.1 field goals on 13.5 shots per game for a .378% shooting percentage. Despite not making this tourney, Haller is still known as one of the many talents to put on a Miners uniform. Given the scoring and rebounding numbers, I would probably switch out Eugene Costello or Arnett Moultrie for Ed Haller.
Here are the remaining 32 of my 64-man list. Some more names I would liked to have seen make the tourney would have been Jim Babers and Gerald Rogers over Bobby Lesley and Roshern Amie. Rogers averaged nearly 17 points from 50-52 and Babers averaged 15.6 his senior year in 1956 with 5.7 rebounds per game.
It has been tough trying to decide who to pick when it came down to who will represent the Miners in this tourney. One thing that did cross my mind though, is this tournament too 80's heavy? Yes the Miners enjoyed a great string of success in the 80's but is much of the love for them only because it was the last true great stretch of UTEP basketball? So many questions with so much time!
Stay tuned to our Twitter @600ESPNElPaso to cast your votes and also for tournament matchups and updates. Don't forget, you can also keep up with the Tournament and more on SportsTalk with Steve and Adrian, Monday through Friday from 4-6. Also, the Don Haskins Hour begins at 6 pm following SportsTalk until 7 with plenty of interviews featuring former players, coaches, and big sports names!
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