As Joe Golding finalized his staff and introduced his assistants to the El Paso media this week, the Miners will now turn their focus to finalizing their recruiting class for the class of 2021.

The Miners have signed four players thus far—Jorell Saterfield (Ranger College), Bonke Maring (Blinn College), Kezza Giffa (France) and Jamari Sibley (Georgetown). Now with two scholarships left, the coaching staff will prioritize finding some more size for the Miners.

"I don't think there's any secret that we're looking for size on our roster," explained Golding.  "We're looking for bigs. Everyone in the country is looking for bigs. We're looking at all angles, whether it be high school, JUCO, transfer portal. I like where we are at recruiting in that. We just have to win some recruiting battles down the stretch. We're challenging ourselves with guys that we think are some of the best bigs available in the portal and we are not going to settle."

The coaching staff has a strategic approach to their next recruiting stretch. Plus, coaches are now able to visit prospects in person following a year-long moratorium period due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Golding and his three assistant coaches—Jeremy Cox, Earl Boykins and Butch Pierre—plan to hit Philadelphia and Dallas this weekend. They previously visited Phoenix last week. The plan for this coaching staff is to cover as much ground across the country that they can.

"I don't look at UTEP as you have to recruit Texas," said Golding. 'We have to start here in El Paso. There are some good players here. Then we'll branch out in Texas. But we're going to recruit nationally. UTEP has a brand. It's an old brand but it's still there. People recognize UTEP when you walk into gyms so we're going to recruit nationally and make sure that UTEP gets back as a national brand."

"I think when you look back on UTEP's history, they were able to recruit across the country. We're going to go get the best player for UTEP wherever he is."

- Joe Golding, UTEP head coach 

 

With two scholarships remaining, Golding believes that the coaching staff could take multiple approaches to personnel. They are focusing on forwards, but they won't shy away from grabbing another guard.

"If we can't get a player that won't help us win Conference USA, we aren't just going to sign anybody," said Golding. "We're not going to settle so I think everything is in play right now. I think there is a need to get more size in the locker room. In a perfect world, we get two. You could go one guard, one big, or we could sit on one. I think everything is in play."

One offer that we know about from last week is Elijah Saunders, a 6-foot-8 forward out of Scottsdale, AZ. The class of 2022 prospect has earned offers from the likes of New Mexico, Fresno State, UC Riverside and Rice. We can expect to see more recruiting activity this weekend from UTEP.

 

As for the current signees that are now on campus, the coaching staff has been able to get a first look at the players from the first week of summer workouts. The only player that isn't on campus yet is Kezza Giffa, who is in the process of getting to the US from France.

"I'm excited about all of the guys," Golding said. "When you look at each one, they're on their own journeys coming in. We're excited about all three. Jorrell [Saterfield] being a local kid up the street is exciting. Been excited about Jorrell, he has a great work ethic and has been in the gym all the time.

"[Jamari] Sibley obviously has a lot of athleticism, played at a high level. What we liked about him is he has a chip on his shoulder. He wants to prove himself. Didn't have the year he wanted last year. He works his butt off and has a big-time motor.

"Bonke [Maring] is a work in progress, but he has a great work ethic and wants to learn every day. He's gotten better each day since he's been here, but he's a typical JUCO transfer and there will be some improvements he has to make. We will take our time with him and that's why we're still looking for some more bigs."

After they complete their recruiting class, UTEP will hope to release its full schedule in July.

"Scheduling's challenging and difficult, but we are working on that and hopefully we can get something released in July. That's a work in progress," Golding said.

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