When UTEP (1-1) hosts Sul Ross State (0-1) on Tuesday, five El Paso products are returning to their hometown to face the Miners.

Sul Ross' five players from El Paso players include graduate forward Julian Paredes (Canutillo HS alum), junior forward Mitchell Martinez (Eastwood), sophomore combo guard/forward Omar Ibarra (Ysleta), combo guard Christian Nevarez (Americas) and guard Manny Flores (Chapin).

Located about 225 miles away from El Paso, Sul Ross has picked talent from the Sun City over the years to compete among the Division III ranks. In recent years, they've recruited local talent like Tristen Licon (Americas), Mike Huffman (Eastwood) and Rocky Feliciano (Hanks).

(Julian Paredes) Photo credit: Sul Ross State Athletics
(Julian Paredes) Photo credit: Sul Ross State Athletics

Among the current group of players with El Paso ties, Paredes is shining for the squad. He has started every game since his sophomore season and has averaged over double figures in scoring over back-to-back seasons. Last year was his best with the squad, averaging 15.2 points, 8.2 rebounds and totaling 28 steals. He's coming off a 14-point performance in their 85-66 loss to Texas Lutheran University.

True freshman Nevarez also played in 16 minutes off the bench for Sul Ross in their season-opener. He finished with seven rebounds to lead the team. Nevarez was one of the top players in El Paso last year, as he helped the Trailblazers go four rounds deep in the 6A Texas basketball playoffs. The Americas grad averaged 12 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.8 steals per game in his senior year. 

UTEP feeling themselves 

The Miners are coming off a significant 67-64 rivalry win against NM State this past Saturday. Tae Hardy (14), Ze'Rik Onyema (13) and Mario McKinney Jr. (10 points) led the way for the Miners against the Aggies. This was the program's first win against their rivals since 2019. After their matchup on Tuesday night against Sul Ross, the Miners will participate in the Jim Forbes Classic at the Haskins Center. They will face Alcon State (Nov. 22), CSU Bakersfield (Nov. 23) and Texas A&M Corpus Christi (Nov. 25) as part of the MTE.

Fans can hear the UTEP-Sul Ross State came on 600 ESPN El Paso, with MinerTalk following the broadcast, presented by the Oscar Arrieta Agency.

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