UTEP Frontcourt Outshines Guard Play in Loss to Texas
A strange thing happened last night during UTEP's season opening game against 12th ranked Texas. The Miners frontcourt outplayed the guards for most of the night. What is especially promising is that backcourt is expected to be the strength of UTEP's 2022-23 roster.
Miners head coach Joe Golding recruited a team filled with depth at all positions, although they lack an experienced 5 at the moment. Last season, UTEP received the majority of their offense from three players: Souley Boum, Jamal Bieniemy, and Keonte Kennedy. This group is different; there are no offensive standouts like Boum and instead, the Miners are filled with experienced players who can all score even if they don't take over a game offensively.
Only one Miner finished in double figures against the Horns and it was someone few fans would expect to lead the team in scoring. Ze'Rik Onyema finished with 10 points in 22 minutes, including a three-point basket and 3 of 4 from the foul line. It is only one game, but Onyema had confidence and did not shy away from taking it to the rim against Texas. He was no the only big man to make an impact. Otis Frazier III (9 pts), Calvin Solomon (7 pts), and Kevin Kalu (5 pts) also played key roles for the Miners.
If you had to grade out the UTEP guards from last night's loss to Texas, the end result did not match the preseason expectations. Shamar Givance and Tae Hardy combined for 17 points on 6-14 shooting. Givance did have six assists and just two turnovers. Jamari Sibley came off the bench to score seven points on 3-8 shooting, but he led the Miners with seven rebounds. Givance and Hardy are capable of scoring much more than they did last night, but both players will need to develop team chemistry to improve their offensive games. You can almost say that same thing about everyone on the UTEP roster since Coach Golding has only three players from last season.