KTSM 9 News
by: Colin Deaver
EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Due to a variety of issues, including injuries, personal reasons and COVID-19, UTEP is expecting to be shorthanded vs. Louisiana Tech in its Conference USA home opener on Thursday.
The Miners had plenty of players at their disposal at practice on Wednesday evening and as of Wednesday, head coach Joe Golding said they were good to go to play the Bulldogs. However, things had to be moved around due to a variety of road bumps.
“We’ll be a little shorthanded, we’ve got some things going on just like everyone else in the country. We won’t have our full roster tomorrow, but right now, as of today, at the end of practice, we have enough to compete,” said Golding. “We’re still doing some different things but hopefully tomorrow we wake up and have enough guys to play the game. That’s the plan as we speak right now.”
Across college basketball, the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has hit hard, like it has across all sports and the entire world as a whole. UTEP’s road game at Middle Tennessee last Saturday was postponed due to COVID-19 cases in the Blue Raiders program.
The UTEP women had its C-USA games at Louisiana Tech and Southern Miss postponed due to COVID-19 on Tuesday, as UTEP currently has just three healthy players. The NCAA requires seven healthy players to play a game.
Golding again confirmed on Wednesday that Keonte Kennedy would be out for some time with a foot injury. Officially classified as week-to-week, Kennedy is in a walking boot and using a scooter to move around meaning it will likely be quite a while before he returns.
“You have to adjust on the fly,” Golding said. “For instance today, we found out 30 minutes before practice that Player A can’t go, Player B can’t go, Player C, and you have to adjust your practice schedule to go. So it’s been things like that, obviously frustrating at times but we have to continue to fight.”
At practice for the first time on Wednesday was San Diego State transfer Che Evans, who the Miners are hoping to get eligible immediately so he can play at some point in the 2021-22 season. Evans still has to get enrolled in classes and jump through a few hoops with UTEP’s compliance department. The Miners are hopeful he’ll be able to practice next week.
More on newest UTEP MBB player, San Diego State transfer Che Evans: still being on-boarded at UTEP. Once he is, he can practice (likely next week). As far as getting eligible for this season, it'll be an NCAA decision. Joe Golding said Monday there's not a timeline for that yet. pic.twitter.com/UrDQdo0mLY
After getting eligible this season, Golding said on Monday that the decision will be completely up to the NCAA and they haven’t set a timeline for him to become eligible. Sources told KTSM earlier this week that San Diego State is working with the Miners to help Evans get eligible and would also like to see him be able to play this season. That could help Evans’ case with the NCAA.
On the court, UTEP (7-6, 0-1 C-USA) will have to contend with a talented Louisiana Tech team (11-3, 2-0 C-USA), featuring bruising big man Kenneth Lofton Jr.
The Miners and Bulldogs will tip off at 8 p.m. MT on Thursday night at the Don Haskins Center, with the game airing on national television on CBS Sports Network.
Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Eighty-three Catholic organizations have sent letters to the presidents of Mexico and the United States urging them to end the “Remain in Mexico” policy.
The groups, including El Paso’s Hope Border Institute, are also calling on the U.S. to terminate the Title 42 public health rule that fast-tracks deportations of newly arrived migrants.
EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – The U.S. government today returned to Mexico the first asylum-seekers since the Biden administration re-started the controversial Migrant Protection Protocols program this week.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers late Wednesday morning walked two males – a Colombian and a Nicaraguan – to the middle of the Stanton Street Bridge in El Paso and handed them over to officials with Mexico’s National Migration Institute.
EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Saying immigration has become the top security concern in Texas, state Land Commissioner George P. Bush kicked off his “Secure the Border” tour Tuesday in El Paso.
“We’re covering roughly 1,277 miles from El Paso to Brownsville highlighting the efforts of law enforcement and exposing the weakness, unwillingness of the federal government to do its job and support these individuals who keep watch every day and make sure we remain a country of laws,” Bush said.
UTEP expecting to be shorthanded vs. Louisiana Tech on Thursday night – KTSM 9 News
KTSM 9 News