UTEP Needs True Point Guard for 2020-21 Season
Yesterday, both Nigel Hawkins and Jordan Lathon re-entered the transfer portal, thus ending their time with the UTEP men's basketball team. Ironically, both players returned to the program after entering the portal one day apart last December. The Miners season went into a free fall around that time and at one point, the team had lost 13 of 18 games. A source close to the program told me that another player or two could also enter the transfer portal.
Lathon and Hawkins are two examples of failed experiments to convert a pair of athletic guards to the point guard position. As freshmen, both averaged more than 30 minutes per game on a bad Miners team that finished with only eight wins and failed to qualify for the C-USA Tournament. This season, UTEP featured a much deeper roster, but they lacked a point guard to run the offense. Head coach Rodney Terry was hoping that either Lathon or Hawkins could develop into that kind of player, but it never happened. Instead, their offensive production declined while they could not distribute and protect the basketball enough to help the Miners win conference games.
The point guard is the glue that keeps a team together on the court. Since we still do not know what the Miners roster will look like for next season, the only thing that is obvious at this point is that Coach Terry has to add a true point guard to his program. A veteran player would also be ideal, which means that UTEP would need a graduate transfer who can gain immediate eligibility. Graduate guard Daryl Edwards was the team's most valuable player down the stretch this past season and the Miners need to find a similar type player, but one who has played the point. There is not a large pool of graduate transfers in college basketball, especially when you are narrowing down the list to just one position. There is also a possibility that Coach Terry allows Souley Boum to play point, although that could affect his offensive performance. The sophomore was one of the team's most consistent offensive contributors this past season as a 2-guard.
Over the years, UTEP has had some of its best players at the point guard position. Bobby Joe Hill, Nate "Tiny" Archibald, Luster Goodwin, Jeep Jackson, Tim Hardaway, Prince Stewart, Eddie Rivera, Fili Rivera, Julian Stone...the list goes on and on. With a little luck, Coach Terry can add to that list and give the Miners some much needed help for the 2020-21 season.