All 16 members of the 2012-13 UTEP men’s basketball team will arrive on campus this weekend, in time for the start of summer school on Monday. And, for the first time ever, the Miner basketball staff will have the opportunity to work with the squad collectively prior to Sept. 15.
In the past, NCAA rules prohibited coaches from conducting skill-related instruction during the summer. All summer activities, including strength and conditioning, were voluntary.
New legislation, adopted in January of 2012, allows two hours of full squad, skill-related instruction and six hours of mandatory strength and conditioning per week, sprayed out over an eight-week period.
In other words, UTEP coach Tim Floyd and assistants Phil Johnson, Ken Deweese and Greg Foster will have 16 hours of on-court teaching, with all team members present, between now and mid-August. And that’s a significant development for a squad that has as many freshmen (six) as returning letterwinners (six).
“We would have liked to have had it last year too,” said Floyd, who began building his program from the ground up with nine newcomers last season. “It gives us an opportunity to move our guys forward, and we’re going to try to utilize this period to initiate some team offense. Hopefully we’ll have some retention when we get into September and can resume [practices] after this eight-week period.”
UTEP’s 2012-13 freshmen include redshirts Tim Jacobs and Hooper Vint, and incoming recruits Twymond Howard, Chris Washburn, Dustin Watts and Matt Willms. Malcolm Moore is in line to join Vint for a redshirt year after tearing his ACL seven games into the 2011-12 campaign. McKenzie Moore is a sophomore transfer from City College of San Francisco. That makes a total of eight newcomers on the roster.
“We like the guys that we signed,” Floyd said. “Generally you have a little buyer’s remorse after you sign a guy and start picking him apart. But our staff hasn’t gotten to that point with these guys. We’re really excited about each and every player that’s coming in here.
“It’s always fun to watch new guys come in and try to integrate with your returning players. I think the kids are excited about it, and I know as a staff we’re ready to hear the balls bouncing again.”
“I’m looking forward to the summer with everybody coming back and the new guys coming in,” said sophomore guard C.J. Cooper. “It will be interesting to see how their games are. This summer is going to be big for me personally. I have been working on my game at home for the last few weeks, but I want to continue to get better with my ball handling and get stronger.”
“This is probably the most exciting time of the year, with the unknown becoming known,” Deweese said. “You sign these [freshmen] in November and you follow them all year, and all of a sudden they’re here and it’s reality. Now’s the time where you see what they can bring to the table, and what strides the returnees have made in terms of strength and maturity.”