Men’s basketball ready to excite in Orange and White Scrimmage

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Men’s basketball ready to excite in Orange and White Scrimmage

UTEP men’s basketball head coach Tim Floyd instructs freshman guard Tedric Johnson during a Monday practice.

UTEP men’s basketball head coach Tim Floyd instructs freshman guard Tedric Johnson during a Monday practice.

Javier Cortez

UTEP men’s basketball head coach Tim Floyd instructs freshman guard Tedric Johnson during a Monday practice.

Javier Cortez

Javier Cortez

UTEP men’s basketball head coach Tim Floyd instructs freshman guard Tedric Johnson during a Monday practice.

Javier Cortez, Sports Editor

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This Saturday, Oct. 24, the UTEP men’s basketball team will present itself to their El Paso fan base for the first time this season in their annual Orange and White scrimmage at the Don Haskins Center.

With an offseason that has drawn plenty of headlines ranging from demoralizing injuries to key player transfers, the Miners come into the Orange and White scrimmage with a lot of intriguing pieces.

“This is something we got started five years ago as a team,” said Head Coach Tim Floyd. “I think it’s been a good thing that has allowed (our fans) to get to know some of our new players and it’s been very good for us because it gets our new players to get their out in front of the fans.”

Nearly half of the roster is made up of freshman, redshirts and transfers. Of that group— Dominic Artist, Lee Moore, Brodricks Jones and Paul Thomas are four of the highly coveted players who joined the Miners this season.

The scrimmage itself is no more than a pick-up basketball game, with little to no structure, but the events prior to the scrimmage are great ways to showcase the talents of the players from an individual standpoint.

Some of the key principles that coach Floyd has tried to instill in the past two weeks such as defense and rebounding will more than likely take a back seat, while the players just go out and have fun.

“You would like to see guys stay somewhat within what they have learned,” Floyd said. “You try to see if some guys can apply some of the defensive principles, which we are trying to make instinctive. Sometimes those things don’t really transfer (to the scrimmage), but all in all, it’s a fun day.”

The day starts off with a 3-point shootout with four contestants, followed by a dunk contest with four other contestants. Two years ago, former miner Vince Hunter and current miner Omega Harris made a name for themselves by putting their athleticism on display in the dunk contest.

The 3-point contest and dunk contest results might not be imperative to the Miners in game strategy, but Floyd believes those contests are two great outlets for the players to standout for the fans and coaching staff.

“That’s why we do (these contests),” Floyd said. “We really want to find out who stands out. We really have no idea up to this point.”

The participants in each event have not been selected yet, but transfer guard Dominic Artist said he will compete in both competitions and likes his chances of winning.

“I’m very excited,” Artist said. “It’s my first time playing in front of these fans, who are real passionate fans, which should be a nice experience. I might be competing in both (contests)… (my chances) are really good, really good. The 3-point contest… I think I should win that.”

The scrimmage itself is two 20-minute halves with referees. Coach Floyd will not be coaching in the game, but assistant coaches Bob Cantu and Ken Deweese will fill in for coach on both sides, respectively.

Last year, the white team, which featured Omega Harris, stormed back from a 20-point deficit in the second half to win the game in double overtime. The result of the game has no bearing on the season, but it does feature the competitive nature of the Miners.

“It’s a great way to see our new guys come out and play in a game-like setting,” said senior center Hooper Vint. “We have refs and everything. It’s a good chance for our guys to get up and down, have fun and play ball.”

Vint will be competing in the 3-point contest for the second consecutive year.

Echoed by coach Floyd and the players, the most important element of the scrimmage are the fans. Every year brings in new players, and the scrimmage is a great way for the fans to put a face to a name.

“I think these things are always exciting,” Floyd said. “Fans get into recruiting, new players and what’s going on. This (scrimmage) gives them a chance to put a face to the name that they’ve heard.”

The Orange and White scrimmage starts at 1:30 p.m. at the Don Haskins Center. Admission is free.

Javier Cortez may be reached at [email protected]

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