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Like his uncle, play-calling comes easy for UTEP PG Jamal Bieniemy

EL PASO, Texas - Rodney Terry has the utmost trust in Jamal Bieniemy to run the UTEP Offense. It's why he recruited the Oklahoma transfer this past offseason.

“He's made shots at Oklahoma. I think he had a game where he made four or five threes against West Virginia." Terry says of Bienemy, who played two season at Oklahoma for Lon Kruger.

"He's made shots in games, you know you can't ever take that away once a guys done that in the lights.”  

It was a surprise to many that Bieniemy even entered the transfer portal, after serving as the Sooners' starting point guard in the 2019 NCAA Tournament.

So why would a player of his caliber want to look elsewhere?

“Just to get under a different role and just to see what it would be like. Just take a chance," says Bieniemy, who picked UTEP over AP Top 10-ranked Creighton. "I'm happy to be here."

The role which Bieniemy sought, Rodney Terry and the Miners could provide.

"We wanted him to take on a bigger role when he came here," says Terry. "We didn't want him to just be a facilitator, we wanted him to be a guy that could look to score the ball as well.”  

Its paid off thus far this season, with Bienemy scoring in double figures (10.4 ppg) and ranking in the Top 10 nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio. 

But Jamal''s success as leader of the UTEP offense shouldn't come as much of a surprise.

If you're familiar with his last name you know that play-calling runs in his blood. 

That's because Jamal’s uncle Eric calls plays for the Kansas City Chiefs, serving as coordinator for Patrick Mahomes and the NFL’s most explosive offense. 

“He's seem me play a couple times," says Jamal of his uncle Eric. "I've played in Kansas City before and he's come to games when I was in college"

"He always just gives me advice to keep going and be a professional off the court and on the court as well. He's very intense and passionate about what he does so he sets a great example.”  

It could be quite the year for the Bieniemy's, as uncle Eric should be in line for an NFL head coaching job this upcoming offseason given his success.

As for Jamal, he's ready to bring the Miners back to national relevance.

Texas Sports / UTEP

Nate Ryan

Nate Ryan is an ABC-7 sports anchor/reporter.


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