When the UTEP basketball team was faced with the loss of four key contributors and over 40-percent of their points and rebounding production from the past two seasons, things were up in the air as far as expectations for year six in the CTF era.
But once Brodricks "Buddha" Jones choose UTEP after his de-commitment from San Diego State, his addition to an already dynamic recruiting class, mixed with a manageable schedule puts UTEP in the position to again compete towards the top of C-USA.
Jones possess a true NBA stretch-four skill set, with feather soft touch, and the ability to score off his dribble by either getting to the rim, pulling up from the perimeter, or even a little floater in the lane.
That versatility and almost polished offensive ability hasn't really been seen in the Don under Tim Floyd, and especially from a 6'9 true freshman who appears to be better and more skilled than advertised.
I mean not that he was overlooked or under recruited by any means; he did choose UTEP over Memphis, Syracuse, and Providence and is a Rivals top-150, and four star prospect.
But there were questions about what kind of impact he could have with UTEP's newly formed arsenal of versatile offensive weapons, but to see him live in person, he was just what this new group of Miners needed.
A full month of Floyd defensive principles, and Jones should be a reliable freshman starter who can average double digit scoring figures, while he finds his edge on the boards once the lights go on for real games.
Jones spoke with the El Paso media for the first time on Wednesday, here is a Q&A from his media session.
What made you ultimately decide on UTEP?
After I was de-committed to San Diego State, UTEP was second option before I committed, so those were my top two. I knew the coaching staff since they were at USC, so that was a big impact on me.
What will you bring the table for this current UTEP team?
I'm an athletic power forward that can run, defend, score, and do whatever it takes to help the team win.
What do you know about the history of UTEP basketball?
It's a historic college because of Don Haskins. I had a chance to meet his wife, so that made me want to come here. That was a big uplift for me.
Did you reach out to the coaching staff after you de-commitment, and was the process a no-brainer on selecting UTEP since they finished in your original top two?
I reached out to them afterwards. I had other options; I had Memphis, Providence, and Syracuse so it was a hard decision.
Talk about that warm welcome you received on your official visit and how that helped you to decide?
The people in this town, I love it. I was excited and felt really good about it. Once I had seen that, I was like, yeah this is the place to be.
What was your impression of the new team as you guys have had a pickup games since school started?
I had a chance to play with the whole team; everybody works hard so I think we could have a pretty good team this year.
What's the story behind the nickname Buddha?
When I was a baby my dad said I used to sit up like a Buddha to watch TV so that's how I got that nickname Buddha.
How cool is it to have two former high school teammates also here at UTEP with you?
It's kind of surprising because the year before Chris committed to UTEP, I committed to San Diego State, and T.J. (Tedric Johnson) was supposed to go to Tennessee-Martin. And I guess everything just happened.