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Noriega playing for UTPA


After turning down a scholarship offered to him by USF men’s basketball coach Stan Heath, guard Shaun Noriega will play his final season with his medical redshirt at the University of Texas Pan-American.

The Bull-turned-Bronco missed the last 23 games of the 2012-13 regular season for USF because of a fractured foot. Now healthy, the 6-foot-4, three-point specialist joins UTPA on a scholarship agreement for the 2013-14 academic year with one year of eligibility.

In the eight games Noriega started before his injury, he averaged a career high 8.4 points per game which included shooting 40 percent from the field and 34 percent from three-point range, along with going 8-for-10 from the foul line.

Noriega is a Florida native, but what makes the move to Texas more interesting is that he will be coached by the father-son duo coach Dan Hipsher and associate coach Andy Hipsher.

Noriega worked with the younger Hipsher at USF. In April 2013, Andy became part of his father’s staff after two years as a USF assistant coach and two years at USF as director of operations. Dan said he attempted to recruit Noriega out of high school, according to UTPA Athletics.

Both Andy and Noriega’s career highlight happened at the same time when, for the first time in 20 years, USF advanced to the NCAA Tournament in the 2010-11 season.

That year, Andy helped USF to a Top 15 recruiting class while Noriega shot 37 percent from the field and 38 percent from three-point range, showing his talent from beyond the arc, going on various shooting streaks.

— Staff report