ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The goal is to get students more involved with Lobo basketball. Craig Neal and his Lobos held open practice for a small crowd of University of New Mexico students Thursday night.
Neal said he was not disappointed with the turnout. He went on to say, “we start winning some games people will come back.”
Some of the students in attendance applauded the idea. Some felt it was needed.
“We had, like, a nationwide known student section for quite some time, especially during those three years we won the Mountain West Tournament,” said Evone Garcia. “Now, it just went down hill.”
Another UNM student said the experience of going to the open practice helped him to make a connection with the team.
“It makes it more personalized,” said UNM student Justin Cooper. “You get to know the basketball team and you want to come and support them because it’s more personal. You’re like oh hey that kid is in my class.”
Coach Neal plans to open practice to UNM students at least one more time before the regular season starts.
Right now, it sounds like it will be on another week night. That is not what Neal wanted.
“We wanted to do it on the weekend,” said Neal. “I was vetoed on that and I still don’t understand why. I wanted to do one during the football weekend so we could have people come during tailgates.”
A few of the players are banged up and did not participate much. Lobos leading returning scorer Elijah Brown warmed up, but sat out of most of Thursday’s workout due to a hamstring issue.
Guard/Forward Sam Logwood has a contusion on his left tricep. Freshman guard Jalen Harris has a knee strain and guard/forward Aher Uguak has a partially separated shoulder and will be back in practice Monday.
The Lobos will start play with an exhibition game against Western New Mexico on November 2.