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February 12, 2013The right attitude can drive a mediocre player to great success, but a very talented player can find himself on the bench if a poor mental attitude exists. That may be the case for UTEP junior center, John Bohannon.
During his freshman year he was one of only five UTEP freshmen -- and one of two since 1980 -- to post multiple double-doubles in a season. But that may have been overshadowed for many Miner fans by several incidents in 2011.
Bohannon served a one game suspension for academics, two weeks later in an NIT game at New Mexico was seen yelling and pushed UTEP assistant coach Greg Foster and was suspended the first two games of his sophomore season for that display.
Bohannon also caused controversy by tweeting, "#letsbereal it is NOT cool to be gay! (Zro voice) *jordanshrug*." Days after that remark he did issue an apology.
Coming in to his junior year many felt as if this UTEP team would only go as far as John Bohannon took them. After hearing of the hours he spent with Coach Foster, many fans expected many great things from him this year.
This season started out great. Bohannon scored in double figures in 7 of UTEP's first 10 games, including 2 double-doubles. He was the heart of this team, the leader on the court. He ran to the student section when the buzzer hit zero vs. Oregon. Bohannon played with emotion and heart, something that Miner fans had been asking for.
Bohannon quickly became a fan favorite. There is no way you can miss him on the court standing at 6'10", but like many have seen, there is also no way you can miss him in the stands with "Bozilla". He made everyone forget about his freshman struggles.
Well, not so fast.
Reports of a verbal altercation after Saturday night's loss to Tulsa between Bohannon and Coach Floyd only added to the long list of antics during his time in a Miner uniform.
In the last two away games Bohannon has played 59 minutes, scored 29 points and grabbed 19 rebounds.
In the last four home games Bohannon has played 14 minutes, scoring 11 points and had 4 rebounds.
Only the people that are in "need to know" basis really know what is going on. It has been an up and down ride for Bohannon and fans during his time at UTEP. Many think that time is coming to an end. No one really knows.
One thing that is certain though, is that many Miner fans are getting tired of these antics.
Most believe Bohannon needs to understand that he is not only hurting himself but the team. That Saturday's loss could have been a different result with him in the game. That he has had the support of many UTEP faithful but that support and patience is quickly dwindling down.
I had the opportunity to spend some time with Bohannon over the off-season and I can honestly say I did not see this happening again. He spoke with such maturity and leadership compared to previous years, and carried himself in a different manner.
I would love to see Bo silence all the critics, to silence every person that says he has not changed since that freshman season. To make everyone forget about those issues, again.
There is no question that Bohannon is a talented big man that has tremendous upside. There is no question that this team is better with him getting significant minutes.
But with a game tomorrow versus in state rival Houston on Wednesday, one does not know what to expect. Will it be the Bohannon of the last two away games or the Bohannon of the last four home games? This will be an ongoing issue game after game
But With the upcoming schedule many fans, myself included, hope it is the Bohannon of early in the season. The Bohannon many expected coming into the season that will lead this team to some more wins.
Let the roller coaster ride continue.
Chris Ybarra can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow him on Twitter at @Miner_Nation . Make sure to follow Miner Illustrated on Twitter at @minermaniac for more up-to-date news and information about UTEP.