2023 WestStar Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational Teams Announced

EL PASO, Texas – The Sun Bowl Association and WestStar have announced the four teams playing in the 62nd Annual WestStar Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational with Norfolk State, South Dakota State and Wyoming joining UTEP in the Don Haskins Center on Wednesday and Thursday, Dec. 20-21, 2023.

All four teams have a very deep basketball tradition and plenty of success with all three out-of-town teams making the NCAA Tournament in 2022.

“The WestStar Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational is a staple here in El Paso and the teams that have been here before are beyond excited to come enjoy the great competition as well as the Sun Bowl hospitality,” said Executive Director Bernie Olivas.  “We know that South Dakota State, who is making its first appearance in our tournament, will leave with a great experience and memories of the Borderland.”

Wyoming returns four players from last season including Brendan Wenzel, who recorded 41 percent shooting from behind the arc and is bringing in five transfers with one being the NAIA National Player of the Year, one First Team All-American from NCAA Division II, and a 1,500 points scorer in Sam Griffin from Tulsa.

The Pokes made the NCAA Tournament in 2021-22 while Head Coach Jeff Linder is entering his fourth season at Wyoming. The Cowboys participated in the 2018 WestStar Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational and are making their third appearance in the tourney.

Norfolk State is still lead by Head Coach Robert Jones and was recently one of 15 head coaches who spoke at the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Championship Basketball Clinic, before making an appearance at the 2023 NCAA Basketball Coaches Academy just five days later.

The Spartans lost two-time HBCU National Player of the Year, guard Joe Bryant Jr. but looks to reload and do what it did in the 2018 WestStar Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational by making a strong run at the championship.

The WestStar Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational values its relationship with the HBCUs as this is the 19th time in 24 years that it will feature an HBCU team.  The Sun Bowl Association believes this honors the legacy of the Tournament’s namesake, Coach Haskins.

South Dakota State’s men’s basketball team has been one of the most successful over the past decade. The Jackrabbits have totaled 226 wins over the past 10 seasons. That total ranks 28th among all Division I men’s programs during that stretch. SDSU’s 101-6 record at home since 2015-16 is tied with Gonzaga (118-7) as the top home winning percentage in Division I men’s basketball during the span. Since 2011-12, the Jacks are 151-9 for a .944 winning percentage. That percentage only trails Kansas and Gonzaga, both at .947, for the best in the country.

South Dakota State made its first Division I NCAA Tournament appearance in 2012 and has been the most successful Summit League program since that season. Since the 2011-12 campaign, the Jackrabbits have earned at least a share of eight regular season Summit League titles while SDSU has won six Summit League Tournament Championships.

The UTEP Miners, who look to bounce back after a 14-18 season, are hoping to win the WestStar Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational Tournament once again.  The Miners fell by one point to Kent State in the 2022 title game.  UTEP is coached by Joe Golding who is entering his third year leading the team. 

For more information on the 2023 WestStar Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational please go to www.sunbowl.org.