He we are in late June, and things around the Miner Nation are going to start heating up soon. Of course, we here in El Paso have already been extremely heated up by the 100 degree weather, but now we should have some news to read as well. A-MAC is obviously the "Dig" master, but I'll go ahead and put out a mini dig for the news of the past couple of days.
Jack Fields Chooses Boise St -
Honestly, who could blame the kid? A chance to play at the best mid-major program in the nation, I don't think many of us would choose UTEP. However, I also would like to see CMP make a stronger push at our local talent. Granted, they are few and far between, but those stars that we produce could really make a great impact if we could somehow keep them here. Now, that's not to say that CMP and his staff don't try to keep these athletes. I would just like to see them do anything they can to keep these guys here at home, instead of watching them go out and get minimal playing time at these power programs.
Culpepper and Stone not taken in NBA Draft -
It's a little upsetting that neither player got the respect that they deserve. Both are amazing athletes, and could definitely be an asset to any team that would sign them. I really feel that both of these guys will wind up getting a chance somewhere with a free agent deal.
-The problem with RC3 is the fact that he is just too small. If the guy was 6'3 he'd be a solid first rounder, but when you get to the NBA everyone has the talent that he has. When it comes down to it he's too small to play the 2, and he hasn't shown enough in his time at UTEP to play the 1 on the big stage. Hope he gets his chance, best of luck to Randy.
-Julyan Stone I felt had the better chance of actually getting picked in that second round. He's a 6-7 PG for God's sake. He's huge, he can rebound, he takes care of the ball, and he can definitely guard 3 if not 4 positions. His only setback is his scoring. I say only, but really its huge. Julyan was a great asset to our team, and could turn into a great PG at the pro level, but he's just not a scorer. As a guard you HAVE to be some kind of offensive threat. His 3 point shot is far from good, and that's another thing he REALLY needs to improve on to make an NBA roster. Like RC3, I think he'll get a chance. Best of luck.
Cliff Tucker to play football for UTEP?
I've got to admit that this is absolutely shocking news. Tucker used up his eligibility in basketball at Maryland, and he actually had quite a role on that Terrapin team. The NCAA however, allows for a student athlete to play a fifth year in another sport as a graduate student. Greg Paulus, who played basketball at Duke, exercised that right to play some quarterback in the Big East for Syracuse.
Back to Tucker. Apparently Cliff went out to play for the football team at Maryland, but after he wasn't given a scholarship he decided to explore other options. It's going to be very interesting to see his transition between sports. Granted, the guy was a standout WR when he played high school ball here in El Paso, but he hasn't played serious football in 5 years. That's an extremely long time to be out of such a physically demanding sport. It'd be nice to see him do well. It would've been even better to see him do well in football and basketball at UTEP over the last four years.
Damon Cromartie-Smith works toward degree
Damon Cromartie Smith was an exceptional athlete here at UTEP, but he left without earning his degree. The standout safety signed a deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2010 and landed on the practice squad. He is still on the practice squad in Pittsburgh, and is looking for a bigger role in 2011.
Currently, as we all know, the NFL is 100 days into its lockout, and DCS is using that time wisely, working towards getting his degree in communications. Cromartie-Smith has returned to El Paso to work on the 15 hours he needs to get his degree, all while staying in shape for the upcoming season
Former Miner gets head coaching job
Former UTEP Miner basketball player Chris Craig has been hired as the new head basketball coach at Midland College. Craig, who played with the Miners in 2002-2003, takes over for Ross Hodge who bolted for an assistant job here in C-USA at Southern Miss. Craig beat out 48 other applicants for the job to become the 13th head coach of Midland College. Reports put his annual salary at $54,000 a year.
We've kinda reached a rough time in sports for all of us fans. Basketball has ended, football is locked out, and baseball is the only thing on (not a bad thing if you're a fan). Its just a slow time of year, but we're heading into July and before we know it football season will be back in full swing. If not the NFL, for sure the NCAA. You all don't forget to check out my blog, The Sports Loop, at www.inthesportsloop.com. No, its not exactly Miner news, but it gives us fans something to talk about while we are in these "hard times". Feel free to come over and chime in. No need to sign up, just drop a comment. Hope to see you there and Go Miners!