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Texas-El Paso has another team loaded with the kinds of players coach Don (The Bear) Haskins loves—the talented and the tough. The most talented are seniors Juden (Beast) Smith and Dave (Cheez) Feitl, and the Miners will look to both for their scoring. To get more opportunities, the Beast, a 6'6" swingman with, says Haskins, "the fastest first step in the WAC," will see plenty of action from the off guard slot. Smith likes to take his man to the basket. His nickname says it all about his inside game, both offensively (12.8 points per game) and defensively (6.5 rebounds).
Feitl, on the other hand, is a 6'11" center who likes to face the basket from 15 feet and fire his deadly jumper.
Unlike Smith, Feitl won't beat many people with his first step, but underneath, he, too, is a rebounding (7.1 per game) force.
The tough athletes are Haskins's real favorites. "I'll take a player with a little less talent but who is mentally tough," he says. Point guard Hernell (Jeep) Jackson is just that sort. Having spent two years under the tutelage of departed all-WAC Luster Goodwin, Jackson now takes the reins. "All I have to do is play my game," he says. "Coach still doesn't think I'm a true point guard, but I'm not looking to score." Jackson will get a good run, though, from highly recruited freshman Tim Hardaway, out of Chicago. The 5'11" Hardaway, a true point guard, handles the ball with confidence and excels at the lob pass off the dribble.
Competition is tough all the way down the UTEP bench, making the Miners an ornery bunch that won't be easy for the rest of the WAC to handle.