Scouting UTEP


I didn't go out for Halloween last night. Instead, I sat home and analyzed two hours of film in preparation for the basketball team's opener against the UTEP Miners.

Here's what I learned:

The Miners possess an all-black starting five and a coach who wants to get them to play "white basketball." They wear their shorts really short, and the players are partial to Smokey Robinson.

OK, so I didn't watch the most up-to-date game film. I watched the movie Glory Road about the 1966 NCAA Championship team at the school then known as Texas Western. That squad revolutionized the college game when coach Don Haskins sent out an all-black starting lineup against Adolph Rupp's all-white Kentucky team in the final game.

Even though Kentucky now has an African-American coach in Tubby Smith and eight black players on a 12 man roster, the movie isn't completely out of date.

One of the film's themes is not only how out of place the black players were on the basketball courts in the South, but also how out of place they were as students on their own campus.

That's where the similarity comes in today.

Today's UTEP campus, according to their Web site is 72.4 percent Hispanic with a great majority of them Mexican or Mexican-American.

However, the athletic program and the basketball team, specifically, don't reflect that. The basketball team contains the Brazilian Victor Ramalho and players named Alvin, Clarke, Henderson, Jackson, Jones, Kilgore, Sampson, Smith, Speight, Thomas and Vanwright.

And coach Tony Barbee is part of the 13-person list of head coaches with softball co-coaches James and Kathleen Rodriguez (nee Aguilar). The rest are named Adams, Ereng, Price, Todd, Pelletier, Brenzovich, Cross, Campbell, Kitchens and Murphy

In an era, when one of the most prominent Hispanics in the country is New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, saying any one of the other coaches or players is non-Hispanic would be speculation.

However, it is safe to say that much like 1966, the basketball team is in no way reflective of the student body.

Much more to come on the 2006-07 version of the Miners in next week's issues of the DP.

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.