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The Biggest Storylines Around UTEP Basketball Before C-USA Play

Welcome to the start of the USA Conference.

The UTEP men’s basketball squad (7-5) will prepare for its first league campaign under first-year coach Joe Golding and tips will kick off Thursday at UAB (5:30 p.m. GMT). Miners John Teacher’s voice will be on the call.

Let’s get into the biggest storylines surrounding miners.

Could a dark cloud of adversity leave UTEP basketball?

We get it, adversity has hit college sports hard due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the UTEP basketball team, one can begin to gauge the adversities they have faced.

Due to complications involving COVID, injuries (including two concussions in two different starters) and stomach flu, the miners are leading the nation with 10 different starting lineups in 12 matches. At least one player has missed a game in four consecutive matches. Only Keonte Kennedy, Bonke Maring and Kevin Kalu have participated in all 12 games this year.

“It’s been a tough season for me,” said young goalkeeper Sully Bohm, who struggled with stomach issues last week and missed the NC Central game. “I don’t try to make excuses. Broken hand, COVID, sitting, sick against McNeese and then stomach flu. I didn’t feel normal all part of the season. It was hard for me but I play through it. Our team has a lot of ordeals. But strong people go through things.” It’s like that and good things will happen.”

For coach Golding, barriers prevented the coaching staff from fully understanding the true potential of this team.

“One thing after another,” Golding said. “We just have to keep fighting. We have to get the players to play hard. And we have to know which group we have. The problem is, when you get close in tight matches we don’t tend to show as much discipline as other teams. It’s not our team’s fault because when you have [players] Outside, it makes it difficult.”

Second top scorer Conte Kennedy may miss Thursday

I think my first question was answered pretty quickly.

The miners’ roadblocks may continue this week as the status of guard QC Kennedy is uncertain and likely to be questionable in Thursday’s game. Golding did not specify what the injury was but Kennedy was not active in training on Tuesday and it is uncertain whether he will go to Birmingham for the UAB match.

We’ll see,” Golding said of Kennedy. “He’s going to get an MRI (Tuesday). It’s going to be a game time decision. We’re running out of time, so we’ll see. The way it looks now, I’ll say no.”

The setback comes at an inopportune time for Kennedy, who really plays his best basketball right now. He’s scored 20 or more points in three consecutive games (New Mexico, McNeese, and NC Central) and is now averaging the second best goal-scoring effort at 13.3 points per game. Kennedy is also the team’s best player with a rating of 5.9 per game and leads the team in heists (2.1 per game).

“I believed [Keonte’s] It was really good,” Golding said. Going back to the time he played point-and-shoot in New Mexico, I thought he surprised New Mexico and did a great job running our squad. He came back and was great against McNeese. He is one of our best defenders. has a length. has volume. He’s one of the best bounce guards I’ve ever trained. A tough break for him but if we learn anything, when adversity strikes guys have to step up and hopefully that will make us tougher.”

Tidus Verhoeven is back on the field

Top striker Tidus Verhoeven has missed the last three matches due to a concussion, but is back in the squad this week after a break. Before suffering a concussion, Verhoeven suffered a back injury that was bothering him.

He has played in nine out of 12 matches with Al-Minaem this year. When asked about the rollercoaster season, Verhoeven was pretty honest.

Verhoeven replied: “Uncontrollable. Crazy. Ludacris.” “I feel like something happens every day. I’ve never been a part of something like this. That’s the scene now. It’s made us a better team and a better unit, and hopefully it helps us in team play. It’s hard to watch three games but I benefited from that because I’m back in Back and notice going to play at conferences.”

Mini Q&A with new student Kevin Callow

AB: “Kevin, what’s it like being a college student?”

KK: “I’m learning a lot. It’s a challenge because he’s learning things like time management.”

Q: “How can you all improve this season?”

KK: “Keep playing hard, keep playing for each other and stay confident in the process.”

AB: “How did you get into basketball?”

KK: “At first I was wrestling. Everyone was saying, ‘You’re so tall, why don’t you play basketball?'” “I tried it. I wasn’t really nice at first but I kept working.”

AB: “How was the recruitment process?”

KK: “I didn’t have any shows because of COVD. No coaches could come to watch me. I started getting shows late when the AAU started backing up. That’s why I committed so late to UTEP.”

AB: “How was the C-USA Freshman of the Week award for you?”

KK: “It felt great. I know I have to keep working a lot. There is a lot I can improve.”

First Look at the USA Conference

The three most prestigious teams in C-USA — UAB (10-3), LA Tech (9-3) and Western Kentucky (8-5) — appear to have lived up to expectations so far on the non-conference roster. However, there are a few teams in C-USA that appeared during the early part of the season.

Don’t lose sight of North Texas (7-3), who are hoping to have a great season following their surprise 2021 NCAA Championship win over Purdue.

Not many FIUs (8-3) and Central Tennessee (9-4) expected to start the year the way they did. The Panthers and Blue Raiders were selected to finish last in the league by the C-USA Preseason Poll.

Miners are now somewhat in the middle of the C-USA. They were selected to finish 10th in the league. Golding has high standards for playing the league and this team.

“I think we’ve had really good non-conference teams,” Golding said. You have 18 matches [in C-USA]. You are trying to steal as many toys on the road as possible and protect the house.”

Scouting UAB

The C-US Pre-season favorites to win the league in the UAB (10-3) look as lethal as ever under coach Andy Kennedy. The Blazers are a perfect 8-0 at the Bartow Arena this year, while winning every game by 14+.

The UAB ranks first in the USA for fouling (82 points per gallon), scoring margin (21.2), stealing per game (12.4) and turning margin (8.6). Jordan Walker leads the Blazers (15.9 ppg, 4.8 apg) and Quan Jackson (10.8 ppg, 2.8 steals per game).

“They’re really good. I voted UAB to win the league. I didn’t know anything about them but the guys I recruited have a lot of respect for Coach Kennedy and his coaching staff. You can see last year they have the building blocks for good things.” [We] Got a chance to go on the road, and the best team in the conference played right off the bat so it’s a challenge but one that our guys are excited about. “

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