Stevens: Lobo Howl Brings Back Kirk & Halasz -- Plus Some New Friends

Oct. 11, 2012

The 2012 Lobo Howl - Friday 6-9 PM - The Pit

By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/

They're back: Alex Kirk and Sara Halasz. And they have some new friends.

If you are a Lobo fan wanting to meet the new friends and teammates of Kirk and Halasz then come to The Pit at 6 p.m., Friday and join the Lobos in their 2012 rendition of the Lobo Howl.

"It's a fun event and it's a special event for us," said Lobo Coach Steve Alford. "Our fans are second to none and this gives us a chance to open the season right along with our fans."

It also gives Lobo fans a chance to take a peek at the first-year Lobos who will be joining the returning Lobos in Steve Alford's and Yvonne Sanchez's charge at 2012-13 glory and Mountain West titles.

Kirk and Halasz aren't first-year Lobos, but they have to have an extra bounce in their step for the upcoming season. Kirk, from Los Alamos, N.M., sat out the 2011-12 season after having back surgery in the summer of 2011. Halasz suffered a season-ending knee injury in last year's Howl.

Sanchez's Lobos won't scrimmage Friday night, but they do have a special, surprise performance they plan to unveil during The Howl. This performance is top secret and the Lobos have been working on it behind closed (maybe locked?) doors.

Supposedly, it has nothing to do with basketball but a whole lot to do with teamwork. Come check it out. Bring your cameras!

You can also check out Kirk's and Halasz's new friends.

The Lobo men have added Cleveland Thomas, a 6-3 guard; Devon Williams, a 6-7 wing; Merv Lindsay, a 6-7 wing; and Nick Banyard, a 6-8 forward.

Those first-year Lobos will be joined by a handful of returning talent in Jamal Fenton, Kendall Williams, Tony Snell, Kory Alford (redshirt in 2011-12), Demetrius Walker, Chad Adams, Cameron Bairstow, Hugh Greenwood, Chris Perez - and Kirk.

An obvious challenge for Alford & crew will be replacing All-MWC center Drew Gordon inside. That might be more of a challenge considering that the 6-9 Bairstow and the 6-10 Kirk are the only true inside types. Bairstow is listed as a forward and Kirk definitely is an inside-out presence.

Coach Sanchez is looking at an unusual roster for the 2012-13 campaign. Well, unusual if you recall the walking wounded that Sanchez took to the court with in 2011-12.

And there were more than a few Lobos who never made it to walking-wounded status - including Halasz, who was expected to be the star on the 2011-12 squad.

Sanchez had to recruit some walk-ons from the UNM campus last year, but she'll take to The Pit's Howl on Friday with a fat 15-player roster. Last year it was all-hands-on-deck. This season Sanchez has some choices to make.

The first year Lobos are Antiesha Brown, a 5-10, guard; Alexa Chavez, a 6-foot, wing; Brea Mitchell, a 5-10, guard; Bryce Owens, a 5-4, guard; Jordyn Peacock, a 6-2, forward; Khadijah Shumpert, a 6-foot, forward, and Ebony Walker, a 6-2 post.

The returning Lobos are Halasz, Caroline Durbin, Jourdan Erskine, Jayme Jackson, Whitney Johnson (2011-12 redshirt), Maddie Muraida, Chinyere Nnaji, and Deeva Vaughn, who was awarded a medical redshirt season in 2011-12.

Sanchez might have a the same challenge as Alford. She is loaded with talent on the edge and has to find an inside presence with no player taller than 6-2. However, both Lobo teams are loaded with scorers and quickness.

Lobo sharpshooter Sara Halasz

Will there be some running and pressing in The Pit in 2012-13?

The doors to The Pit will open at 6 p.m. Sanchez's Lobos go first at 7 p.m., - don't forget that top-secret performance - and Alford's men will take over Bob King Court around 8 p.m.

The University of New Mexico Lobos' flagship radio station 770 AM KKOB and its sister station 610 AM The Sports Animal will be broadcasting from The Pit in the afternoon and Friday evening.

In addition to getting your first glimpse of the Lobo basketball teams this season, the Lobo Howl has plenty of activities planned for the entire evening. While at the howl, fans can:

  • Purchase season tickets.
  • Preview seat locations for season ticket purchases.
  • Get autographs from their favorite Lobos.
  • Shop for cherry & silver gear at the Lobo Den Store.

    The Lobo women have three seniors in 2012-13: Durbin, Erskine and Jackson. Alford's roster lists only two seniors: Adams and Fenton.

    The Lobo Howl is traditionally held in The Pit, but in 2009-10 it was held at the Sana Ana Star Center while The Pit was undergoing its facelift.

    The annual Lobo Howl has become a highlight of the preseason for both Lobos and their fans. It's a feel-good reach out by the Lobos to embrace an important part of their programs that helps make them what they are.