EL PASO, Texas - UTEP men’s basketball guard Souley Boum lights up whatever room he’s in, and he loves being around people.
If you really want to connect with him, though, basketball is his first and true love.
“(Basketball) is all I know,” Boum said. “I started watching basketball and started playing when I was a little boy. Kobe (Bryant) was my favorite player growing up. I wanted to be like him. I just love watching basketball, loving playing basketball, love working on my game. Just everything, it’s in my blood.”
There’s a lot for fans to love about Boum’s game, but he has his own perspective.
“My favorite part of my game is how hard I play, how much I work and how much I want to compete and want to win,” Boum said. “I’d say my competitiveness (is what stands out) because I want to be good so bad in everything on the floor. I just want to do good all-around and be a complete competitor.”
While his scoring stands out the most (roughly 20.0 points per game), he also accounts for four rebounds per game, three assists per game and more than 1.5 steals per contest.
But make no mistake about it, he can really score the basketball in all sorts of ways.
He’s among the nation’s leaders for free throws made and attempted, and also connects on multiple 3-pointers per game to place in the league rankings.
The end result has been a consistent offensive output with nearly double-digit outputs in every contest he’s played in, including a pair of 30-plus point bursts against FIU and Marshall.
He now has three such efforts, making him one of 11 Miners in program history to do so.
Boum has also thrived off the court, evidenced by graduating with his undergraduate degree in multidisciplinary studies in December of 2021.
Earning that degree is something that meant a lot to Boum.
“It was really good,” Boum said. “It was good that I got my degree. It was a lot of work that I had to put in at my previous school and here (at UTEP). So I’m just glad that I got that accomplishment to be able to get that degree for myself and my family. Just having that discipline to graduate and get that degree.”
Boum is an only child, something he thinks helped him develop his game, especially with the support of his mom.
“It was good. My mom (Mariam) didn’t have to worry about other brothers and sisters wanting to play sports,” Boum said. “She was fully invested in what I wanted to do. She knew I loved basketball, and she was fully invested in me. She took me to my games and knew I wanted to be good. She always pushed me and influenced me to do good and watch basketball and stuff. She knew how much I loved it.”
That basketball connection with his mom continues to this day.
“Me and her have a basketball connection,” Boum said. “She knows basketball. She watches basketball, and she tells me what I do good and what I need to work on. We are really close with it.”
Boum has been near the top of or leading Conference USA in scoring for most of the season, but he remains humble about everything he is accomplishing.
“That’s just how I grew up, that’s just how I was raised,” Boum said. “That’s just how I am. I don’t like to brag about myself or about the stuff that I do good. I just want to put my head down and keep working.”
He’s well known now for his basketball accomplishments, but that wasn’t the case coming out of high school.
Even with success now of being a member of UTEP’s 1,000 point scoring club and all-conference and all-district honors to his credit , he continues to work.
“I wasn’t highly touted out of high school,” Boum said. “A lot of people didn’t think that I was going to be in the position that I am right now. I always had a chip on my shoulder. People were doubting me in high school and to this day. I keep going no matter what. I just keep my head down and keep working because your work is eventually going to show. I just try to stay humble and try to keep working because good things will happen.”