WestStar Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational Team Announcement
(Courtesy of the Sun Bowl Association)
EL PASO, Texas – Since its inception 60 years ago, the WestStar Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational has proudly hosted one of the nation’s premier basketball tournaments.
The Sun Bowl Association and WestStar are pleased to announce the teams heading to El Paso for the WestStar Don Haskins Invitational, which will be held Tuesday and Wednesday, December 21 and 22 at the Don Haskins Center.
The tournament committee brings in teams that have all recently won their conference championships.
Bradley University, Sam Houston State and North Carolina will join UTEP miners at the Don Haskins Center this year.
âWe are very proud to bring competitive ground to the WestStar Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational,â said tournament director Barry Kobren. âThis year is no exception with teams all competing for a bid at the NCAA tournament next March. If past success is any indication, we’ll have a battle to see who wins the championship trophy. ”
âWestStar is proud to continue to sponsor this long-term competitive college basketball tournament in El Paso,â said David Osborn, President and COO of WestStar.
Bradley makes his first visit to the Sun Bowl Invitational.
The Braves have enjoyed tremendous success under coach Brian Wardle. In his first six seasons on the sidelines of the BU, Wardle made Bradley a permanent contender for the Missouri Valley Conference, crowned with back-to-back championships in 2019 and 2020.
Bradley has a history with UTEP having faced them in a memorable NCAA tournament game in 1986.
Bradley was led by his all-time top scorer, Hersey Hawkins, while the UTEP squad included Jeep Jackson and Tim Hardaway.
Sam Houston State will make his third Sun Bowl Invitational appearance after being in El Paso in 2010 and 2015.
The BearKats are led by head coach Jason Hooten, who has only won since taking over in 2010.
He averages 20 wins per season and has led the Kats to play 5 playoffs over a 6-year span.
Sam Houston won the Southland Conference in 2019 and attended the NIT.
The BearKats are entering their first season in the Western Athletic Conference this year.
North Carolina Central is making his first Sun Bowl Invitational appearance and is led by coach Levelle Moton, who completed his eleventh season at the helm.
In 2019, the Eagles accomplished something never before done in school history by winning a third consecutive NCAA tournament appearance by winning the MEAC tournament for a third consecutive year.
NC Central appeared in the NCAA Tournament in 2014, 2017, 2018, and 2019.
This year, the Eagle basketball team was also featured on ESPN. Chris Paul and Stephen A. Smith produced The Undefeated Presents âWhy Not Us,â an eight-part documentary series examining the distinct culture, experiences and challenges of a historically black college and university athletic program (HBCU).
The WestStar Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational values ââtheir relationship with the HBCUs as this is the 17th time in 22 years that they will feature an HBCU team.
The Sun Bowl Association believes this honors the legacy of the tournament’s namesake, Coach Haskins.
UTEP Miners, under first-year head coach Joe Golding, bring back leading scorer Souley Boum, who averaged 18.8 points per game to place third in C-USA in 2020 -21 and earn a place on the All C-USA 2021 third team.
Jamal Bieniemy is also back in the fold, who led the team with 4.0 assists per game to place sixth in the league.
The UTEP’s deep backcourt will also feature Christian Agnew (6.1 ppg) and Keonte Kennedy (8.6 ppg. 5.9 rpg).
Veteran Tydus Verhoeven also returns for Orange and Blue.
The 6-9 forward led the Miners in field goal percentage (62.7), offensive rebounds (47) and blocked shots (27).
There are a slew of newcomers for Golding including Bonke Maring (Blinn College), Jorell Saterfield (Ranger College), freshman Kevin Kalu, France freshman Kezza Giffa, Georgetown transfer Jamari Sibley. and the transfer of Oregon Alfred Hollins.
âWe have another competitive tournament planned for college basketball fans,â said Sun Bowl executive director Bernie Olivas. âThis tournament has become a tradition and the history of the teams and players who have come through El Paso is great. Our basketball committee, led by Barry Kobren, continues to seek out and work to bring quality teams to the Don Haskins Center. “
For more information on the WestStar Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational 2021, visit www.sunbowl.org.