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El Paso, TX — UTEP’s Vince Hunter was named the Conference USA Freshman of the Year on Tuesday, based on a vote by league coaches and media. He is the third freshman of the year in UTEP basketball history, joining Henry Hall and Roy Smallwood who were honored by the Western Athletic Conference in 1990 and 2000 respectively.
Hunter has been named Conference USA Freshman of the Week a league-leading five times this season. He is the third player to earn C-USA Freshman of the Week honors five or more times since the award’s inception in 2011. Tulane’s Ricky Tarrant was a seven-time winner in 2011-12 and Rice’s Max Guercy was a five-time recipient in 2012-13.
Hunter ranks second among all C-USA freshmen in scoring (14.5 ppg) and field goal percentage (.569), and third in rebounding (6.6 rpg) for league games only.
He scored 26 points in two games this season (Louisiana Tech and Southern Miss) to tie the UTEP single-game freshman record. Hunter has led UTEP in scoring a team-leading 10 times this season and also tops the squad with five 20-point games. The five 20-point games are two shy of Giovanni St. Amant’s freshman record seven in 2002-03.
Hunter has scored 389 points, third-most in a season by a freshman in school history, with 206 rebounds (fourth). He is averaging 12.5 points and 6.6 rebounds with a .574 field goal percentage. The field goal percentage would be a UTEP freshman record. He has also established the UTEP freshman single-season standard with 189 free throw attempts.
Joining Hunter on the C-USA All-Freshman Team are Florida Atlantic’s Marquan Botley, Marshall’s Kareem Canty and Ryan Taylor, Rice’s Sean Obi and Tulane’s Jonathan Stark.
Washburn is the second Miner to garner multiple placement on the Conference USA All-Defensive Team. He was also selected to the squad a year ago. Julyan Stone was an All-Defensive honoree in 2010 and 2011.
Given UTEP’s limited backcourt depth, Washburn has often been called upon to defend point guards this season despite his 6-8 stature. He has played a pivotal role in UTEP holding the opposing team’s leading scorer under his season average in 21 of the last 25 games.
Joining Washburn on the C-USA All-Defensive Team are Charlotte’s Pierria Henry, Louisiana Tech’s Michael Kyser and Kenneth Smith and Middle Tennessee’s Tweety Knight.
Fifth seed UTEP (22-9, 12-4 C-USA) will face either no. 12 seed East Carolina or no. 13 seed UTSA in the Conference USA Championship on Wednesday at 6 p.m. MT in the Don Haskins Center.
C-USA Championship single session tickets are available by calling (915) 747-5234. Men’s single session prices range from $15-$50, and women’s single session tickets are $10.
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