The UTEP basketball team has added another seven-footer to the roster with the signing of Roman Silva to a national letter of intent. The NLI was received and validated by the UTEP compliance office on Sunday.
“We’re really excited about Roman and the potential that he brings to our program,” coach Tim Floyd said. “At seven-foot-one, he has a knack for putting the ball in the basket and he has great hands. We really believe he’s a fine player and he’s only going to get better. He has a 4.2 grade point average and wants to major in engineering at UTEP. We look forward to watching him progress both academically and athletically. Adding Roman gives us some insurance with Matt Willms’ foot injury, and the development of Kelvin Jones will allow us to play two bigs at one time.”
The 230-pound Silva just completed his senior year at Diamond Ranch High School in Pomona, Calif. He averaged 18.6 points, 10.8 rebounds and 2.8 blocks. Silva led Diamond Ranch to a 25-9 record, the CIF Division 3AA championship and a Hacienda League co-championship. He was named the CIF Division 3AA Player of the Year.
He was a two-time first team All-Hacienda League selection and was also appointed to the first team at the McDonald’s Classic Tournament in El Paso. Silva participated in the Tribune/Star-News All-Star Classic in La Verne, Calif. on Friday.
In early February, Silva was tabbed the SoCal Prep Legends Boys Athlete of the Week after registering 21 points (versus Los Altos), 26 points (against West Covina) and 19 points (El Camino) in three games. He was a San Gabriel Valley Tribune All-Star and an Inland Valley All-Star.
“It was an easy decision to go to UTEP because the coaches are really friendly and I felt like I could trust them,” Silva said. “That was a big part of the whole process for me. They were genuine, and that’s something my family and I appreciated. There were quite a few schools looking at me with a lot of interest. But the fact that coach Floyd came to see me and offered a scholarship right away showed that he trusted in me, and that was huge.
“I feel like I can make a big impact in the frontcourt for the Miners. I’ve worked really hard to establish a post presence and once I get stronger, it will be even bigger than it is now.”
His high school coach was Eric Cooper, the uncle of former UTEP guard C.J. Cooper. C.J. is an assistant coach at Cooper International Academy prep school.
Silva also attended Etiwanda High School in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., where he played on the freshman team and on the varsity squad as a sophomore before transferring to Diamond Ranch High School.
“He has a passion to be the best that he can be,” Eric Cooper said. “He didn’t have the skill level and everything that he needed when he came to our school, and within a short period of time he put the work in, developed and turned into a totally different creature. Within two months he had a decent jump shot, he hit his free throws, he worked on his post moves down low and he had a little jump hook. If you saw him six months ago, you wouldn’t believe he was the same player that he is now. His future is much brighter than his past and he’s going to improve really quick.”
“Getting Roman to UTEP is big,” C.J. Cooper said. “I enjoyed my time there and I taught him a lot about the program. He is a good player. He has all the skills to be successful. All he has to do is get stronger. He hasn’t been playing basketball for very long. He has a really strong work ethic. It’s crazy how much better he has gotten and he has so much more room to grow. The sky is the limit with him.”