Lobo Men's Basketball Continues Run of Success off the Court as Well

June 13, 2012

The University of New Mexico basketball program has been reaching plenty of new heights under Steve Alford, especially this year. The team went 28-7, picked up championship number three (winning a share of the regular season crown) and then championship number four (the tournament title in Las Vegas), and got within a basket of the Sweet 16.

Yes indeed, life is pretty good in Lobo basketball land. Drew Gordon is a lock to get drafted in a few weeks after breaking a nearly 50-year old record for rebounds in a season. He, Kendall Williams, and Tony Snell were all honored in various ways by the conference, from All-Conference to All-Conference Tournament. UNM has had the most wins over any five-year period in school history.

And while all of those things are great (and they are in fact great), Steve Alford will be the first to point out UNM's academic successes as well, as it is an integral part of his "Blueprint for Success". Now that the 2011-12 academic year has closed out, Alford can put some tremendous academic successes for this season next to those successes on the court.

For the ninth consecutive semester, Lobo men's basketball achieved a cumulative grade point average of 2.7 or better, extending the squad's school record for the men's basketball program. In addition, the program will once again score a perfect 1000 in the single season APR, the first time in school history that the team will have gotten a perfect 1000, let alone in back-to-back years.

A pair of Lobos, Alex Kirk and Kory Alford, were named to the Dean's List as well.

"We work very hard as a program and we talk about the `Blueprint for Success'. A cornerstone of that is what we do academically," said head coach Steve Alford. "I greatly appreciate what our guys have done in the classroom."

This past year saw all three of Alford's seniors in Drew Gordon, Phillip McDonald, and A.J. Hardeman all earn their bachelor's degrees. In his four years, Alford's has had seven of his eight seniors (Gordon, McDonald, Hardeman, Dairese Gary, Roman Martinez, Daniel Faris, and Chad Toppert) graduate, with J.R. Giddens ready to complete his degree once his professional career ends.

Alford has also helped raise UNM's APR score. When he arrived, UNM was in danger of incurring penalties. Now, once all the official scores are tabulated later in the year, UNM will be safely above the threshold, most likely with another school record cumulative score.

Whether it was on the court, or in the classroom, 2011-12 can certainly go down as a record breaking, championship season.