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UTEP basketball signs two more 2017 commits

UTEP announced the official signings of Chicago's Evan Gilyard, and Mississippi forward Tirus Smith.

Gilyard is a 5-9, 160-pound guard from Simeon Career Academy in Chicago, which has produced numerous NBA standouts including Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker and New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose.

He is regarded as a three-star prospect by ESPN and the no. 13 player in Illinois. He averaged 13.5 points and 3.2 assists last season while shooting 49 percent from three-point range. He was second team All-City, two-time All-Conference and honorable mention All-State. He scored 14 points in the fourth quarter of the city championship game as Simeon beat Kenwood 54-49. Gilyard, who has led Simeon Career Academy to a 96-7 record, continued to turn heads on the AAU circuit this summer while playing for the Meanstreets’ 16- and 17-under team

“Look at Evan and Kobe’s teams last year in Chicago and San Antonio, how successful they were [61-6 combined record], and know that they are playing the most important position on the floor in terms of affecting winning,” Floyd said. “They bring a lot of speed, quickness and know-how to the floor and they are the kinds of guards that make others better.”

Smith is a 6-8, 230-pound forward from Petal High School in Petal, Mississippi. A three-year varsity letterwinner, he was appointed to The Clarion-Ledger’s “Dandy Dozen” as one of the 12 best players in the state of Mississippi for the 2016-17 campaign. He averaged 16 points, 11 rebounds and 2.5 blocks last season. Smith participated in the MAC/Mississippi Sports Medicine All-Star Classic as a member of the South team in March. Smith also played for the Elfrid Payton Elite AAU team.

“Tirus is closer to 6-9 than 6-8,” Floyd said. “We haven’t had an interior player who shoots it like he does from three-point range but make no mistake, he can also post. We feel like if he were here right now, he would help us as a high school senior. Like the rest of the guys we have signed, he has incredible potential and I believe he will reach it because of his high character. He has never had great point guards around him and I feel like that is going to help lift his game beyond where it is now. This is the best group of high school players in the state of Mississippi in the last 15 years, and he was ranked among the top-six seniors in the state.”

UTEP's class of 2017 now has three official members signed and sealed with Kobe Magee signing yesterday, UTEP is also including Prop 48 prospect Trey Wade and Canadian transfer Isiah Osborne along with the three now signed 2017 commits in their latest recruiting class.

The remaining unsigned 2017 commits are Ladarius Brewer from Mississippi, and Roderick Williams from California who have yet to officially sign, but in a release UTEP says more signees are forthcoming.