is the initial recruiting list for the class of 2004. I am sure that
this list will grow quickly now that the summer recruiting period is
Please recognize that the list is far from inclusive, as it
only lists players whom we have been able to find connected to UTEP
through the Internet. Please also realize that the opinions expressed
here are my own, and not those of the coaching staff. My opinions on
the players are formed from reading what the recruiting experts have
to say about the players and from what others who have seen them play
have to say. Thanks to everyone who has contributed info on any of
these players, as I have only been able to compile this list through
information provided by posters to the
Digs message board. Miner fans, please continue to search
for potential UTEP recruits, and post any info you receive.
We will lose four seniors from this yearís squad: PF/SF Roy
Smallwood, PF/SF Darius Mattear, SG Omar Duran, and PG/SG Chris Craig.
Unfortunately, unless we get an exception to the 5/8 rule, we will
only be able to sign three players this year, as we signed five
players in the class of 2003. Our primary need is for inside help, as
the only true inside player on the squad is SO C/PF John Tofi. The
staff should also look to bring in at least one freshman player in the
backcourt, as the majority of the guards on our 2003/04 roster are
juniors and seniors.
Carl Nelson, 6-10 C, Buffalo (TX) HS
Nelson averaged 16.9 points, 17 rebounds and five blocks for
Buffalo High last season, leading them to the state semifinals in
Class 2A. According to his high school coach, Mike Anderson, Nelson is
aggressive, runs the floor very well, has a nice jump hook, and can
shoot facing the basket w/in 10 feet. He was chosen to the Class 2A
all-state team and was the District 22-2A co-defensive player of the
year. Until recently TexasRoundball.com had him rated as the 36th
best player in Texas, but he has dropped to #78 in their latest
rankings. Nelson needs to add weight, as he only weighs 210 pounds. He
has given a verbal commitment to the Miners.
Alex Galindo, 6-6 2SF, St. Benedictís Prep School, Newark, NJ
Galindo is a multi-talented player that really came on in the
spring. The MVP of the Southern Invitational Tournament held in May,
Galindo can do a variety of things well: handle the ball in traffic,
drive and finish, pass, and shoot the 3. These skills have not gone
unnoticed, as Galindo is ranked as the 64th best player in the nation
by Rivals.com, 54th by HoopScoop Online, and 44th by HoopMasters.com.
Both Rivals.com and TheInsidersHoops.com list him as a four star
athlete. Galindo, a native of Puerto Rico, is close w/ Miner assistant
Sergio Rouco, also a PR native. In addition to UTEP, Galindo is also
considering NC State, Villanova, Virginia, Seton Hall, St. John's,
UConn, and Miami.
Hector Hernandez, 6-8 SF/PF, Abraham Lincoln HS, Denver, CO
Hernandez, a native of Chihuahua, Mexico, is highly thought of by
Tracy Pierson and Greg Hicks of TheInsidersHoops.com, who list him as
a high major player. While he has a power forward body, Hernandez
displays a lot of SF type skills, as he is highly adept at putting the
ball on the floor and shooting from outside. He is ranked 132nd in the
nation by Rivals.com, and both Rivals.com and TheInsidersHoops.com
list him as a three star athlete. His list includes UTEP, Oklahoma,
Wyoming, Colorado State, Fresno State, New Mexico and San Diego State.
Ivan Almonte, 6-5 PF, Southeastern CC, West Burlington, IA
Almonte, a teammate of incoming PG Filberto Rivera at NJCAA champ
Southeastern CC last season, is an extremely aggressive, if
undersized, PF. Almonte, a native of the Dominican Republic, averaged
11.7 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game last season,
shooting 54% from the floor. He plays w/ a lot of energy, aggressively
hitting the boards, diving for loose balls, and taking charges.
Rivals.com lists him as a three star athlete. He is close w/ Rouco and
Rivera, and subsequently lists UTEP as his favorite, w/ Pittsburg also
showing a lot of interest.
Patrick Britton, 6-8 PF, Southwest HS, San Antonio
As a junior Britton averaged 20.1 points, 7.3 rebounds and shot 53%
from the field, leading Southwest High to a district 27-5A
championship. Britton needs to get stronger, but is athletic w/ a
variety of skills. He can handle the ball, shoot the jumper, block
shots, defend multiple positions, and runs the floor like a guard.
TexasRoundball.com ranks him as the 11th best player in the state of
Ryan Coldren, 6-8 PF, Marist HS, Eugene, OR
Coldren averaged 16 points and 6 boards a game last season, helping
to lead Marist to the Oregon 3A playoffs. He appears to have good
offensive skills, but is a little slight in stature. He currently
favors the University of San Diego, but is also showing interest in
Northwestern, Oregon, Oregon State, Loyola Marymount, Portland, Santa
Clara, Stephen F. Austin, and UTEP.
Antonio Cool, 6-4 SG/PG, University of Arkansas Fort-Smith
Cool, who played for Miner assistant coach Doc Sadler at Arkansas
Fort-Smith last season, averaged 14.1 ppg as a freshman, while
shooting 45% from the field, 35% from beyond the arc, and 76% from the
line. He has ďscaryĒ athletic ability and is a decent ball handler. I
know that, in addition to UTEP, Illinois State has shown interest, but
Iím not sure who else is involved.
Aaron Jackson, 6-3 SG, Hazelwood Central HS, Florissant, MO
Jackson averaged 16.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.6 steals last
season, earning 3rd Team All-Metro Honors (as Selected by St. Louis
Post Dispatch). He is capable of exploding for big scoring numbers, as
he proved in a four game stretch last season when he scored 29, 27, 26
and 28 points. He has a good mid-range game and can take the ball to
the hole. Comments from his coach indicate that Jacksonís weaknesses
are that he is sometimes too unselfish and needs to develop more
confidence in his game. According to PrepStars the Miners have
offered, and he is also hearing from Missouri, St. Louis, Kansas
State, and Marquette.
I donít know what to think about Carl Nelson. While itís nice to
have an early commitment, especially at center, where we are currently
very thin, I wonder if we didnít reach on this kid. His 17 ppg and 17
rpg are certainly nice stats, but he did it in 2A ball, where it
should be extremely easy for someone of his height to dominate. It
seems to me that with the contacts that Gillispie and Sadler are said
to have in the state, that they should be able to bring in a player
more highly touted than to be ranked somewhere between 36th and 78th
in the state. It is entirely possible, however, that I am being too
hard on this kid. I have never seen him play, which the staff has, and
they apparently really like his potential. Hopefully he will turn in
to the next Brandon Wolfram rather than the next Jon Bomba.
My favorite player on the list is Galindo. Heís earned all kinds of
accolades, and would be a big time get if Rouco and the staff can pull
it off. Iím hoping that his relationship w/ Rouco, the chance to play
w/ Rivera, albeit only for a year, and El Pasoís Hispanic community
can lure him here, rather than to one of the higher profile programs
that are pursuing him.
I also like what I here about Almonte and Cool, but, w/ the dearth
of young players on this team, I would prefer to stay away from JC
players this time around. Either Hernandez or Britton would be a
welcome addition, as would Aaron Jackson.
Good luck to the staff on the recruiting trail this year.
E-Mail the Author: Mark