UTEP Men’s Basketball Recruiting Radar: Commits, Updates & More
After almost two months into Joe Golding's tenure at UTEP, the recruiting front has been a little slow-moving and unrushed for the men's basketball squad.
This shouldn't be a huge red flag for the team, however. Golding still hasn't finalized his coaching staff, while also evaluating who will stay and which players will decide to leave the program. Let's take a dive into the latest and what we are hearing.
Bryson Williams update
As we reported on Friday, sources told 600 ESPN El Paso there is a large belief that two-time All C-USA forward Bryson Williams will be exploring Power-5 options to leave as a graduate transfer. Some thought that Williams could end up staying in El Paso for his sixth year, especially since he has still been practicing with the team.
Despite the team's initial push to keep their top playmaker, Williams will still be looking to move on to a school that will try to compete for a conference title and an NCAA appearance to try and boost his NBA draft stock. He earned offers from the likes of Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, USC, Arizona State, Washington, Washington State, Texas A&M, Arkansas and Vanderbilt. Of course, the Longhorns have to be a prime candidate to land Williams with the connection between him and former UTEP coach/current Texas assistant coach Rodney Terry.
Miner fans will be sad to see Williams go. Instead, the UTEP faithful will see him sporting a new uniform next season.
Jorell Saterfield commits over the weekend
Las Cruces prep standout Jorell Saterfield is the latest prospect to commit to Golding's squad at UTEP. The 6-foot-4 wing follows forward/center Bonke Maring as the two commits thus far into the recruiting process.
Saterfield starred at Mayfield high school, where he initially committed to Southern Miss. Instead of playing in C-USA, Saterfield chose the JUCO route where he played at Ranger College over two seasons. Ranger College made it to the NJCAA Final Four and Saterfield led the squad in scoring (18.0 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists, .471 3-point FG).
He will help provide some serious depth in UTEP's backcourt and offer the Miners help in their shooting. The Miners need some bucket-getters to fill their roster. The former Division I recruit in Saterfield will have a chance to be a reliable off-the-bench scorer.
Where the team stands
Here's a tentative/potential depth chart for UTEP men's basketball:
- PG Jamal Bieniemy
- SG Souley Boum
- G Keonte Kennedy
- PF ?
- PF Tydus Verhoeven
- G Christian Agnew
- C/PF Bonke Maring (Blinn)
- G Jorell Saterfield (Ranger)
- PF Ze’Rik Onyema
- F Gilles Dekoninck
- G Cam Clardy
- G Emmanuel White
The Miners are set to return four of their five starters from last season, including Tydus Verhoeven who announced that he will rejoin the squad following a brief stay in the transfer portal.
UTEP will still need to find either a true forward that can play alongside Verhoeven in the frontcourt or grab a true center big man that can help down low. UTEP lacks a true playmaker that has experience storing in bunches at the Division I level. Souley Boum, who led the team in scoring during 2020-21 (18.8 ppg), will be their go-to scorer as it stands, but he will need some serious help. UTEP will also look to add some shooters to help the team out on the perimeter offensively.
Some of the current targets for UTEP that we know about include Maryland transfer Jarius Hamilton, McNeese transfer Keyshawn Feazell, TCU transfer Mickey Pearson Jr. and France basketball player Kezza Giffa.
The Miners have been targeting Hamilton early into their recruiting process. The 6-foot-8 forward averaged 6.5 points and 2.5 rebounds (43% 3-point FG) in 20.5 minutes off the bench in 2020-21.
Sources have told 600 ESPN El Paso that Feazell, a 6-foot-9 forward, is a target to keep an eye out for. Prior to playing for the Cowboys, Fezell played in 24 games off the bench for Mississippi State, where he averaged 1.4 points and 1.8 rebounds per game. He sought an expanded role and joined McNeese state last year and was successful, having averaged 13.5 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game. He closed out his time with McNeese by scoring in double-digits in 16 of his last 18 games.
TCU Redshirt freshman forward Mickey Pearson Jr. is another intriguing prospect for the Miners too. The former three-star recruit from Lincoln, Alabama played in 19 games, averaging 7.5 minutes, 1.2 points, 0.9 rebounds, and 0.3 assists per game in 2020-21.
Another prospect that the Miners are targeting is France point guard Giffa, who has four years of eligibility in the U.S. The 6-foot point guard averaged 17.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.8 assists most recently for Jeep Elite U21. Georgia and BYU are also in the mix for Giffa.
UTEP currently has four scholarships remaining for this recruiting process. If they were to zero in and get a commitment from at least two of the three targets, UTEP would have two scholarships left under their belt going into the summer.