UNM Wants To Be More Physical;Alford’s Lobos Bulk Up In Preparation for Season

Ain’t no Mountain West Conference kin gonna push us around this

year! That’s the message that a bulked-up New Mexico Lobo

basketball team wants to send to the

rest of the league this season, and the Lobos made that loud and

clear during the program’s annual media day Thursday at the Davalos

Practice Center.

“We’ve got the bodies now,” said fourth-year UNM coach Steve

Alford. “If you look at our bodies, we can at least match up on

paper with a team like San Diego State.

“Our whole league is getting more physical, which we like. We

tried to bring that to our program. We want to wear people down. We

don’t want to just rely on the Pit ramp and the altitude. We hope

we can have some kind of influence with our physicalness.”

Official NCAA-allotted men’s basketball prac- tice begins today.

As a prelude on Thursday, the Lobos gave a handful of fans and the

local media their first look at the 2010-11 squad. Since September,

teams have been allowed to work out players up for two hours a

week. There is no limit to how many players can be at a workout

session at one time, and on Thursday, Alford had them all on the

floor for this week’s workout.

“I can’t wait for this season to get started,” said junior

shooting guard Phillip McDonald. “All the training and work we put

in this summer is really gonna pay off. … Drew (Gordon), Emmanuel

(Negedu), Dairese (Gary), all three freshman – we’ve got much

bigger bodies this year.

“Nobody is going to bully us.”

Washington sure did during its 82-64 blowout that ended the

Lobos’ 30-5 season in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in

March. The Lobos lost leading scorers Darrington Hobson and Roman

Martinez – a pair of talented, but slender southpaws – from that

squad and will have trouble replacing what they brought to the

floor. What they have instead are powerfully built transfers in

Gordon (UCLA) and Negedu (Tennessee).

Combine them with baby bull senior point guard Gary, and there

is a lot of meat on the Lobo bones this go-around.

“We’re going to be able to pound it inside a lot more,” says

Gary, a first-team allleague player last season. “We should be real

physical.”

Gordon, a 6-foot-9, 245-pound post who was named the MWC

preseason newcomer of the year, describes himself as “a garbage

man. I like to rebound, block shots … I don’t like to be pushed

around near the basket.”

Negedu is 6-7, 225 and says he’s added 15 pounds of muscle over

the summer. Toss in 6-8, 225-pound A.J. Hardeman – who will move

from starting center to his natural position as a power forward –

and the Lobos have one of their most solid front courts in

years.

Gordon, a junior, is eligible on Dec. 17, having transferred to

New Mexico last winter.

Negedu, a sophomore, received a waiver from the NCAA and is

allowed to play immediately. He had a heart condition that

prevented him from playing at Tennessee. Nov. 3

Eastern N.M. at UNM, the Pit, 7 p.m. Radio: KKOBAM (770)