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MinerManiac's Corner

by Mark Hatch

July 21st, 2003

Here 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 upon us.

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 Miner Digs message board. Miner fans, please continue to search for potential UTEP recruits, and post any info you receive.

Recruiting Needs

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 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, 54th by HoopScoop Online, and 44th by Both and 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, 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, and both and 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. 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. ranks him as the 11th best player in the state of Texas.

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.

Go Miners!!!!

E-Mail the Author: Mark Hatch




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