ALBUQUERQUE N.M. (KRQE) – Lobo Basketball’s upcoming season will feature a lot of new faces. It will be the first year with Head Coach Paul Weir, and as of now five new players will be on the roster. UNM Head Basketball Coach Paul Weir picked up six guys this summer, but only five will be eligible to play, with Vance Jackson having to sit out one season.
“I am hopeful that we are going to add at least one more player to this roster, maybe two, and kind of continue to mold this team for this season,” said Paul Weir.
As of right now, two new Lobos have been practicing with the Lobos, Jachai Simmons and Chris McNeal. Jachai is a 6’7” guard/forward that played at Midland Junior College. He averaged just over 14 points and six boards per game. He has the ability to shoot, and his length along with speed is what he thinks will make him stand out.
“You know, we going to be able to stretch the floor a little bit, and run some teams out the gym,” said Jachai Simmons.
From the start, Paul Weir has said that this team is going to run a lot more and play a different brand of basketball, and with the six guys he has picked up this summer he is feeling pretty confident heading into next season.
“I think that every person that we have added so far has the ability to shoot the 3-point shot, and kind of has the speed we want to play the style of play that we are trying to do,” said Paul Weir.
“Coach Weir, he recruited me and told me what to expect and that’s why he recruited me, because he feels like I fit the mold of the guys that he wants in his system,” said junior guard Chris McNeal.
Six-foot-one junior, McNeal is 1 of 2 point guards that Weir picked up this summer, and Coach feels confident in both of their skills.
“Chris McNeal is obviously terrific. You know, he already played Division 1 basketball at Western Kentucky. Added Antino Jackson who played Division 1 basketball at Akron and scored 1,000 points. So, I feel at the point guard position we have really increased our experience level,” said Weir.
The Lobos still have three guys coming in to start practicing with the team: 6’5″ shooter Makuach Maluach (who has a wingspan of 6’11″), 5’11″ point guard Antino Jackson, and 6’1” Troy Simons. The Lobos still have two more open scholarships for the next year — and while new faces could bring new problems, the players have embraced the new guys and the judgment of Paul Weir.
“It’s going to look like we played together for four years, and actually it’s only been a couple of months,” said Jachai Simmons. “A lot of it is Coach Paul, which kind of brings everything together. So, it’s recruiting, it’s picking guys with good attitudes, it’s kind of setting the standard of how he wants things,” said UNM Forward Connor MacDougall.
“The returners have been terrific about buying into me, and then the newcomers have been great as far as meshing in with those guys. So, far we are having a really tight unit, which is what we want,” said Paul Weir.
UNM will open their season on November 11 against Western New Mexico at Dreamstyle Arena.