Miners look to dazzle in Orange and White Scrimmage

FILE PHOTO/ The Prospector
Then freshman forward Vince Hunter takes a jump shot in the 2013 Orange and White Scrimmage.

FILE PHOTO

FILE PHOTO/ The Prospector Then freshman forward Vince Hunter takes a jump shot in the 2013 Orange and White Scrimmage.

Javier Cortez, Sports Editor

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On Nov. 1, the 2014-15 UTEP men’s basketball team will showcase their talents to the city of El Paso for the first time this season in the fourth-annual Orange and White Scrimmage.

It’s become common in men’s college basketball for there to be a preseason scrimmage where the fans get to see the incoming talent. The scrimmage itself is more or less the least important and entertaining event of the night.

Players showcasing their talent with long-range shooting or heart-stopping dunks are what the fans come to see. Some schools have gone further than entertaining fans with basketball. At Kentucky, Grammy-nominated rapper Drake was the emcee to what the Wildcats call
Midnight Madness.

With comedy, dance and an assortment of theatrics, the preseason scrimmage has gone to a whole new level. Head coach Tim Floyd has embraced the preseason fun and loves to see a good turnout.

Last year, Floyd stated that the atmosphere is always better when people attend and the players themselves are more excited to play.

This year’s Orange and White Scrimmage will have much of the same as last year’s event, but the promotion of the game has been amped up. With free admission, fans will get a chance to meet players from the men and women’s team at the Sun Bowl Stadium concourse.

Also, fans that purchase season tickets at the scrimmage will have a chance to make that purchase free. At the end of the scrimmage, fans whopurchased season tickets can partake in a half-court shot contest, and those who make the shot will get their season tickets for free.

On the court, the fan favorite 3-point shootout and dunk contest are back. Competing in the 3-point shootout are senior C.J. Cooper, junior Earvin Morris and freshmen Lew Stallworth and Trey Touchet.  In the dunk contest, it will be sophomore Jake Flaggert, freshman Omega Harris, sophomore Vince Hunter and freshman Terry Winn. Flaggert is the defending champion from last year as he beat Julian Washburn and
Vince Hunter.

With the scrimmage coinciding with a football game later in the day against Southern Miss, some UTEP students are excited about the prospect of seeing this year’s team.

“I didn’t get the opportunity to go last year, but I am looking forward to it this year,” said Diajesma Orozco, junior organization and corporate communication major. “I think it’s going to be pretty exciting, fun and something for students to do.”

As much as the scrimmage is a show to entertain the fans, it is the start of a new season in which the Miners are predicted to do big things. With the majority of the team’s major players returning, the Miners are predicted to finish second in conference. The Orange and White Scrimmage is the first of many basketball events that have big expectations.

“I think the team is pretty together this year,” Orozco said. “I’m really hoping that they’ll do better this year than last year. Hopefully they’ll get it together.”

Despite the Miners’ chances at soaring to new heights, some students still don’t have an interest in the scrimmage or the season itself.

“If they were good, I would probably go eventually,” said Mark Fernandez, freshman criminal justice major. “I’m busy usually and I pretty much don’t do any extracurricular activities at this school.”

Last year, the Miners finished 23-11 and fifth in Conference USA. This year, the Miners boast an even tougher schedule right from the start of the season. Washington State and New Mexico State are the Miners’ first two home games, before they travel to California for the prestigious Wooden Legacy Tournament.

The Orange and White Scrimmage will be the start of a very interesting season for the Miners. Doors will open at the Don Haskins at 2:30 p.m..

Javier Cortez may be reached at [email protected]

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