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
“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
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
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)