Electric. A freshman that seemed to overachieve every time he stepped on the court. Someone that UTEP needed to be the face of the program in three years. And just like that, Deon Stroud is gone.

Stroud, the 6-foot-5 guard, was a treat to watch each time he came off the bench for the Miners. His raw athleticism, his fast-paced skills, his emphatic dunks—Stoud was that dude. Almost every member of the team talked about Stroud as the best up-and-coming player on the team. Head coach Rodney Terry spoke very highly of him and deemed Stroud a key part of the future at UTEP.

The Fresno, Ca. native becomes the fourth Miner to transfer after the 2019-20 season, joining Anthony Tarke, Nigel Hawkins and Jordan Lathon. Throw Kaosi Ezeagu in as a mid-year transfer and the Miners have seen five members of their roster hit the transfer portal in the last four months.

As a freshman, Stroud played in 24 games and made two starts for the Miners. He averaged 4.3 points in 9.5 minutes per game off the bench with a total of 103 points, 24 rebounds, four assists, seven blocks and five steals.

On a crowded roster, Stroud struggled to get minutes off the bench, though. He played sparingly in the non-conference stretch of the season and played the majority of conference play off the bench.

He scored a season-high 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field, including 2-of-4 from 3-point range during a win against ENMU. But after scoring his second-best 10 points in the first half at FIU on 5-of-10 shooting, he didn't see any action in the second half.

And the dunks? Who could forget arguably the best dunk in all of Conference USA this past season?

And his smooth-touch finishes.

His ceiling was as high as it gets. Coming out of Trinity International High School (Fresno, Calif.), Stroud was named a 3-star prospect by ESPN, who averaged 20.5 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists per game. He had looks from Cal and Fresno State but elected to play at UTEP.

The saddest part for UTEP fans will be the "what-could-have-been" scenario if Stroud would have stayed. The way his skills were built up by his peers, one can tell that Stroud will be a special player. He'll now do that for another program. And that's the part UTEP will have to live with.

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