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UTEP basketball: Five burning questions for the 2015-16 season

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With a new nucleus, you could really ask about 10 or 15 legit questions about UTEP’s upcoming season, here are the five most important.

Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports

Trying to replace an insane amount of rebounding and scoring percentage from a year ago will raise an insane amount of questions for Tim Floyd's new group as practice is underway.

Here are some key questions the Miners will have to answer early and throughout the season.

Who is going to rebound?

The biggest question UTEP has is who will replace the rebound magnet that was Vince Hunter, and the consistent rebounding and paint presence of Cedrick Lang.

Tim Floyd even posted the question himself before UTEP's first official practice.

"We're going to have to be able to rebound it, and that's one of the primary questions that this team has is going to be our ability to rebound the ball."  Floyd said. "I question that at this point. Hopefully someone will show us that they can."

At this point, consensus is a rebounding by committee approach would be an almost ideal situation, but with a month of practice lets hope someone steps up to the forefront in order to develop a legit rebounding committee.

The bigger concern is the Miners lack of a true center which could be factor when it comes to rebounding margin, and allowing second chance points once the season starts.

Will rust be a factor?

Dominic Artis, Lee Moore, Jake Flaggert, Trey Touchet, and Tevin Caldwell all did not play a singe minute of game action last season.

Will the layoff affect these guards who will be relied upon for shooting, and defensive pressure in the early going?

How long will Matt Willms hold up?

He will be ready for the season, but on a limited basis.

Floyd has said one flare up, seemingly major or minor, means surgery and an end to his season.

Very, very, high risk, but what kind a of reward will a limited, and possibly hobbled Matt Willms bring to an already thin front court?

Which freshmen emerge?

Notice it's a plural meaning of freshman.

CTF has said UTEP's deep freshman class will be relied upon this year, but who is the first to emerge?

Brodericks Jones will provide plenty of offensive versatility, and Paul Thomas and Christian Romine have great upsides and will also be thrown into the fire early according to Floyd.

All have the ability to emerge especially in the OOC part of the schedule, and throw in red-shirts Terry Winn, and Trey Touchet into this question as well.

The quickest to adapt defensively could be that guy at their respective positions.

Is Earvin Morris ready for a star player role?

Coming off a productive junior year, Morris earned preseason all-conference honors and looks poised for a strong senior year.

Its not about scoring 20 a game, or shooting 45% or higher from three (which would be nice), but from a leadership standpoint Morris has the task of guiding this young team to new heights.

With an apparent high tempo, and athletic approach that would mean more production from Earv, Morris will be heavily relied upon especially in the early OOC slate and could set the table for a big year with a strong start.

Bonus

Are we going to see a high tempo, high octane approach as a new identity?

With so many guards, a ton of speed and upgraded athleticism in the back court, are we going to see a completely different style of UTEP basketball than what we have been used too under Floyd?

The ability to constantly press teams, and the thought of a shorter shot clock makes sense in pressing more than usual when you don't have a consistent pair of rim protectors UTEP has had at their disposal on the defensive end.

Now that UTEP is guard oriented it wouldn't be surprising to see the Miners press almost exclusively, run and gun, and shoot better than they have in the past five years.