The Scorer's Table: An Early Look at the 2013-14 MW Men's Basketball Season
June 17, 2013
This is the sixth in a series of MW men's basketball blogs detailing developments involving the league's hoops programs since the conclusion of the 2012-13 season. We continue today with New Mexico.
New Mexico Lobos
Last Season's Record: 29-6 overall, 13-3 MW (1st)
Key Losses: G Tony Snell; G Demetrius Walker; F/G Chad Adams; G Jamal Fenton.
Key Returners: G Kendall Williams; G Hugh Greenwood; C Alex Kirk; F Cameron Bairstow.
2013-14 Signees: G/F Deshawn Delaney; G/F Arthur Edwards; G Cullen Neal; F Tim Myles.
Sizing Up The Recruits: The 6-5 Delaney, a two-time junior college All-American, averaged 17.1 points and 8.6 rebounds in two seasons at Vincennes University in Indiana. He posted 23 career double-doubles and scored in double-figures in 60 of 68 games, including 26 games of 20 or more. Edwards, a 6-7 guard/forward arrives from Northwest Florida State College, where he averaged 6.4 points and 3.2 rebounds last season for a team that finished 30-4 after reaching the NJCAA national championship. He also added 45 steals and 30 assists. Neal, a Parade All-American and the son of Lobos head coach Craig Neal, is a 6-5 guard from Eldorado High School in Albuquerque. The 2012 New Mexico Gatorade Player of the Year, Neal averaged 26.5 points per game last season in leading his team to the New Mexico 5A state title. Myles, a 6-7 forward from Etiwanda High in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., was tabbed a second-team all-state selection by CalHi Sports.
Overview: The Lobos, who have won the MW regular-season and league tournament each of the past two years, return four starters from a team whose No. 3 NCAA tournament seed last season matched its highest in school history. Williams, the reigning Mountain West Player of the Year, led the Lobos with an average of 13.3 points last season. An All-MW first-team selection, he also paced the Lobos in assists (4.9). Kirk, selected to the All-MW second team, averaged 12.1 points and 8.1 rebounds, while Bairstow contributed 9.7 points and 5.9 rebounds. Together, the combination of the 7-foot Kirk and the 6-9 Bairstow produced an average of 21.8 points, 14.0 rebounds and a total of 84 blocks, 63 from Kirk. Greenwood, who along with Bairstow was an All-MW honorable mention, averaged 7.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.4 assists. New Mexico has won four MW regular-season titles in the past five years. No team has ever won five of six.
Changes At The Top: Craig Neal, who served as the team's associate head coach for the past six seasons, was named head coach after Steve Alford announced he was leaving to become the head coach at UCLA in late March. Neal spent a combined nine seasons with Alford at New Mexico and Iowa, with the two programs averaging 24.2 wins and earning five NCAA tournament berths. The Lobos won 155 games over the past six seasons with Neal orchestrating an offense that finished in the top four in the league in scoring offense each year. Neal has tabbed former University of Washington assistant Lamont Smith to serve as associate head coach. Washington was Smith's second Pac-12 stop after he spent four seasons at Arizona State from 2008-12.