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NMSU’s Mario McKinney Jr. reverses course & commits to rival UTEP

NMSU Athletics

EL PASO, Texas - The rivalry between the UTEP Miners and the New Mexico State Aggies reached another level Friday night, and we have the transfer portal to thank.

Friday night, NMSU guard Mario McKinney Jr., announced via Twitter that he'll be taking his talents east on the I-10 to nearby rival UTEP.

In his tweet McKinney Jr. said, "After a talk with my pops I’m blessed to say I am committing to UTEP. From an Aggie to a Miner, can't wait to see what the future holds."

McKinney Jr. had entered the transfer portal shortly after NMSU announced the hiring of Greg Heiar as the next men's basketball coach at NMSU.

McKinney Jr. was a transfer who was recruited by former NMSU head coach Chris Jans.

In his one and only season with the Aggies during the 2021-2022 season McKinney Jr. played in 31 games and averaged 3.8 points a game.

McKinney Jr. was a four star recruit coming out high school in 2019, and was ranked 19th nationally at the point guard position.

He signed with Missouri following his high school career and played just one season with the Tigers.

The following year during the 2020-2021 season he played at Logan College before transferring to NMSU at the conclusion of the season.

McKinney Jr. will join a UTEP team that's in need of some guards after the Miners lost several to the transfer portal this off season.

The actions of McKinney Jr. is very reminiscent of what Evan Gilyard did in 2019, only in reverse.

Gilyard played at UTEP before he then transferred to NMSU at the conclusion of the 2018-2019 season.

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Adrian Ochoa

Adrian Ochoa is ABC-7’s Sports Director.


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