ARLINGTON, Texas -- The defending Sun Belt Conference champion UTA men's basketball program strengthened its backcourt with the addition of local products returning to home in transfers Deon Barrett and Edric Dennis.
Barrett, a 5-10 guard from Lancaster, played as a freshman last season at UTEP. Dennis is a 6-3 guard from DeSoto High School who played one season at Hill College before attending Jackson State last year.
Both players will attend UTA in the fall and sit out the upcoming season in accordance with NCAA transfer regulations. Barrett will have three seasons of eligibility remaining, while Dennis will have two.
"We are very excited to have Deon and Edric join our program," said UTA head coach Scott Cross, the winningest coach in UTA program history. "They are both dynamic guards who complement each other and will fit perfectly into our system. They both had very good high school careers and bring solid Division I experience to our program.
"It will be a big advantage that Deon and Edric will be able to use this year to integrate into our system then hit the ground running next year, especially since we lose seven seniors from this year's team."
Barrett was a key rotation player for the Miners as a freshman, averaging 3.4 points and 0.9 assists in 31 appearances with four starts. He led the team in 3-point percentage at .397 and made .857 percent of his free throw attempts.
He was named the Conference USA Freshman of the Week after tying the league record for 3-point percentage, making seven of eight attempts en route to a career-high 25 points in just 17 minutes at New Mexico.
A 2016 graduate of Lancaster High School, Barrett led the Tigers to consecutive state Class 5A titles and a 69-6 record over his last two seasons. He was a 2-time all-state selection for coach Ferrin Douglas.
Dennis averaged 14 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game as a sophomore at Jackson State and started 26 of his 29 appearances. He averaged 33.3 minutes per game and led the team in 3-point percentage at .329.
Following his prep career at DeSoto High School, Dennis played one season at Hill College and was an honorable mention all-conference selection. He averaged 9.4 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game with a high of 25 points in a win over Ranger College.
As a high school senior, Dennis helped lead DeSoto to a 29-5 overall record and 11-1 record in district play. He was one of the top 50 ranked players in the state of Texas for coach Chris Dyer.
The UTA men's basketball team returns 11 letterwinners and two starters from last year's team that won a program-record 27 games and fell just four points shy of advancing to Madison Square Garden for the National Invitation Tournament quarterfinals. Junior Kevin Hervey was named the Sun Belt Player of the Year, while Cross was honored as the league's Coach of the Year.
The Mavericks own 52 wins over the last two seasons, the second-highest total among Division I programs in the state of Texas.
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