Two local Sun City stars suit up for Miner's men's basketball team
Updated: Thursday, January 9 2014, 09:45 PM MST
By: Genevieve Curtis
EL PASO, Texas--Off the field and onto the court, two local athletes plan to do it all for the Miners.
Thursday night Burges High School grads Aaron Jones and Alvin Jones will suit up for the University of Texas at El Paso men's basketball team after three spots opened up earlier this week.
Former players McKenzie Moore, Jalen Ragland and Justin Crosgile were kicked off the team for sports betting.
Now the two local athletes have been brought on board to fill the roster. Both men already play football for UTEP.
Their former coach at Burges, Paul Gutierrez, coached the boys their senior year. He said they are making their alma mater very proud.
"Aaron and Alvin, they don't lack talent, they have just as much talent as other division one basketball players," said Gutierrez.
He added they're not only talented but said they are the kinds of players coaches want wearing the team uniform.
"One thing they always had is they were committed. They were committed to practice, they were committed to the game, they were committed to their teammates. The other thing they both had was hard work," said Gutierrez.
The twins might be just what UTEP needs now that it’s down three players. The team is especially thin on point guards, a position Gutierrez said the boys can fill. But Gutierrez said they can play any role they are asked to play and are also good teammates.
"They were so enthusiastic, they just enjoyed the fact that today we get to play basketball. Their enthusiasm stimulated the other players on the court. Our practices were so exciting, and physical and challenging because of those two kids enthusiasm," said Gutierrez.
The coach said seeing the two play for UTEP is inspiring for their former Burges team.
"It's got to be uplifting to all our kids in this community to see a kid you grew up with, that you played with, that you saw in practice, and go and have an opportunity to play that the highest level. It gives everybody else hope of what they can do if they find themselves committed to something, if they understand what hard work is," said Gutierrez.
Gutierrez said his own kids are looking forward to seeing their favorite players on the court again.
"So they're going to get their wish to see Aaron and Alvin play," said Gutierrez.
It's too early to know what the season will hold for the twins and whether they will stay with the team beyond this season. But Gutierrez said if anyone can handle playing two college sports, it's the Jones brothers.
"Those boys can do it, No. 1 because they are athletic. Every single day they will work hard at the task that's at hand, whether that's football or basketball. They can do it because of who they are," said Gutierrez.
The coach said he hoped to see the El Paso community go out the games and support the two local stars.
The twins' first game is Tuesday night at 7 against Charlotte.