Bryson Williams | Photo by Michael P. Reese

UTEP’s Bryson Williams named to Conference USA Preseason Team

DALLAS – UTEP senior forward Bryson Williams was named to the 2020-21 Conference USA Preseason Team Thursday as voted by the conference’s 14 head coaches.

Williams is coming off a successful redshirt junior season in which he was named to the 2020 All-C-USA First Team. He was the first Miner since 2015 to earn the prestigious honor. Williams was also named to the 2019-20 NABC Division I All-District team, in which he was the first Miner since 2011 to earn a spot.

In his first season played with the Miners, the 6-8 forward averaged 17.8 points per game (third in C-USA) and 7.2 rebounds (fifth in C-USA), and was the only league player who ranked in the top five in both categories.

Williams hit 81.1 percent (116-143) from the charity stripe, while shooting 49.9 percent from the field (ranked 11th in C-USA). The big man added a three-point shot to his repertoire, as he connected on 31-of-87 from downtown after making 1-of-4 in his first two years of collegiate ball at Fresno State.

The Fresno, California, product also led the Miners in blocked shots (29) and tallied 30 assists with 28 steals. Williams recorded five triple-doubles and registered a trio of 30-plus point games. It was the most 30-point performances by a Miner since the 2010-11 season.

Williams poured in a career-high 34 points, rallying UTEP from 24 points down to defeat UTSA 80-77 in overtime in the Haskins Center on Jan. 15. He added 10 boards and two steals against the Roadrunners. Williams tallied 33 points while setting a Haskins Center record with 15 field goals (17 attempts) in a victory over East Central on Nov. 27.

The Miners also won the 58th Annual WestStar Bank Don Haskins Tournament for the first time in five years behind Williams’s play. He opened the tourney with a 21-point, 10-rebound performance, leading UTEP past North Carolina A&T, then followed with 22 points against UC Irvine in the championship game to earn MVP honors.

Williams’s efforts led the Miners to 17 victories, the most in four years, while the Miners advanced to the C-USA Tournament for the first time in two seasons.

2020-21 C-USA Preseason Team

Bryson Williams, UTEP

Jordan Shepherd, Charlotte

Jahmir Young, Charlotte

Taevion Kinsey, Marshall

Jarrod West, Marshall

Javion Hamlet, North Texas

Jhivvan Jackson, UTSA

Keaton Wallace, UTSA

Taveion Hollingsworth, WKU

Charles Bassey, WKU

2020-21 C-USA Preseason Poll (first-place votes)

  1. WKU (11)
  2. North Texas (3)
  3. Marshall
  4. UAB
  5. Old Dominion
  6. Charlotte
  7. Louisiana Tech
  8. UTEP
  9. UTSA
  10. Florida Atlantic
  11. FIU
  12. Middle Tennessee
  13. Southern Miss
  14. Rice