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UTEP basketball: Orange and White Scrimmage Player Grades, Takeaways

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Lots to digest from an interesting scrimmage.

Positives

  • Guard play
  • Free Throw Shooting
  • Open Floor Scoring
  • Three point shooting
  • Dominic Artis/Lee Moore/Omega Harris/Earvin Morris
  • Effort, energy, nobody quit

Improved guard play was the theme on Saturday, and could become a new identity of the UTEP basketball team.  Led by Dominic Artis and Lee Moore who were on the Orange team, scoring looked easy, with a little flare from time-to-time.  Omega Harris and Earvin Morris also were solid for the White team.  Combined, both teams shot 16-out-of-20 from the free throw line, and both teams made a combined 16 three pointers, 11 coming from the Orange team.  Those shooting marks will be needed with the style of play we could see.  The most positive thing was the communication on defense, and the overall effort, and energy.  You can't coach those things, and even though it was a 32-point blowout, no one quit working.

Negatives

  • Rebounding/second chance points
  • Help defense
  • Allowing easy layups
  • Conditioning
  • Lack of physicality

The most concerning aspect of the entire scrimmage was the lack of physicality.  Like I mentioned, the effort was there for the entire 40-minutes, but only a couple of guys played with that physical edge on the blocks.  Second chance points, and rebounding were issues at times for both teams.  We will probably see lots of zone if UTEP can't figure out a way to keep guys out of the paint.  Conditioning maybe slighted a bit since there were guys playing extended minutes.  Artis pointed the conditioning out after the game, and is something that should improve with the next two exhibitions and pre-season practice time.

Overall grade: B-

Player Grades

Dominic Artis: A+

Fans are already calling the Oregon transfer a magician.  His ability to play and transition into different tempos was the big standout point.  He can execute offense at any tempo, he understood where to hit his teammates in easy scoring opportunities, but also knows when to get his own.  Artis is going to make his teammates better as the season goes along.  The guy is and will be fun to watch.

Lee Moore: A+

Smooth, easy flowing, and a deadly confident shot was on display.  People have said Moore could be UTEP's second best player, and Moore backed that theory up with a solid performance.  He made two three pointers with tough defense in his face, and is an effective cutter who seemed to finish everything around the rim.

Omega Harris: A-

Harris looks like he improved in a lot of areas.  He had only one or two erratic plays, and played efficiently with only two turnovers, and 7-of-15 shooting from the field. He did a good job of getting to the free throw line, and showed his next level speed that paired with the other guards will be an issue for other teams once he is eligible.

Earvin Morris: A-

Morris did a good job of creating his own shot, and showed he could be a nice rebounding option as well.  His touch around the rim will be a high percentage mark this season.  And his conditioning, IQ, and ability to create separation for a good mid-range look was in mid-season form.  Earvin looked a senior poised for big things.

Hooper Vint: B+

Hoop played well, but he still had a few flaws.  Yeah he went off for 30 points, and 15 boards, but should've had close to 40 points and 20 rebounds.  His inside-out game will be a big boost this season, and the most positive part was the chemistry he and Artis played with as teammates.  His decision making looked iffy on just two possessions, and he didn't stop himself in his back-to-the-basket moves as much as he used too.  He was pushed around a few times, and had balls tipped over his block out, but held his own for the most part as the tallest player on the floor.  Hooper also played with a sense of urgency.  In that he realizes he will see lots of minutes, touches, and has to become a senior leader of this young group.  Hoop could surprise folks, but it has to become consistent, this team needs this type of consistent production this season.

Terry Winn: B+

I really liked the aspects Winn will bring to this group.  He was the most physical, and one of the more active rebounders on the boards.  He showed he can dribble from the wing to inside the paint with fluid movement.  And even took a really good mid-range look, and had a few plays on the block where he showed his lower body strength.  Six offensive rebounds were impressive, and he looked fairly conditioned in playing 34 minutes.  Finishing through contact made his shooting numbers look inefficient, real refs would have called a few whistles on his physical drives.  He also had two nice blocks with an athletic backside swat that was really nice.

Brodricks Jones: C

Jones was 2/7 from the field, but didn't take a bad look.  There will be games in where is shot is on, and he becomes a nice factor.  He does a good job of using his length on 50/50 balls, and could become a very good/sneaky shot blocker with his length.  He had four impressive blocks, two from the backside in where he got up with explosion.  Kid has star potential in a season or two.

Paul Thomas: C-

Paul looked a little stiff, and made some freshman mistakes.  Like Jones his shot wasn't falling, but his shot selection was very good.  He will come along as the season goes, and like Jones, will have a breakout game sometime this year.  He did grab five rebounds, and could become a very reliable perimeter defender in his career.  Nothing to be down about, he will improve with more reps.

Tevin Caldwell: B+

Caldwell looked like UTEP's best power forward, but we all know he's 6'3.  His relentless on the boards was on display in a back-to-back offensive rebound sequence from Tev.  His offensive confidence has grown, and a productive 10 rebounds, nine point outing was very encouraging.  Really good showing from Caldwell.

Jake Flaggert: C

Jake played great defense, but couldn't get into an offensive rhythm. His footwork is improved, and was pretty active defensively with a steal.  He will be a nice option off the bench, and a nice match up defender.  His offensive game will come along in a few lineup combos this year, particularly his three point shot.

Trey Touchet: C

Creating his own shot is still a problem, but you can tell the basketball IQ in running the show is there.  He was the starting PG for the White team, and did a good job in the early stages of the scrimmage in setting up offense.  It wasn't his best showing, but he showed he can be reliable backup to Artis.  His three point shooting is going to be special to watch, CTF will have a few set plays to get him open.

Victor Mbachu: C+

Vic could be UTEP's most athletic guard.  His explosion to the hoop is pretty impressive, but finishing around the rim was an issue.  He could be a change of pace guard to give Artis a blow, and give UTEP a controlled speed guy to increase tempo if need be.  Interesting to see if he can crack the rotation this year, his showing on Saturday was good to see, and showed UTEP has plenty of options at guard with Harris out until December.

Ivan Venegas: B

Seven points, seven rebounds, he hit a three pointer, and made some smart plays.  A red-shirt is more than likely, but the kid showed he can play at this level, eventually.  Good touch, uses his body well, but is just a step slow as of right now.  Not a bad project at all for down the road, his play was surprisingly good.

Christian Romine: C

He could become a stud in a few seasons, but showed he is still a little behind.  He had shot block, and grabbed four rebounds.  The ability to take up space in the paint could be valuable behind Vint, and Willms this year.  He still needs plenty of work, but showed the diamond in the rough potential once or twice.