Less than 50 days remain until college basketball season begins again. Head coach Paul Weir said the players have been bonding quite well and he expects them to be a competitive team.
The coach said he went out to dinner with the seniors a couple weeks ago and asked them how they felt the team was connecting. They told him they felt the unity was better than in the previous years because everyone was interacting with each other, freshmen and seniors had closer relationships.
“Every coach is going to tell you it’s great,” Weir said. “But our energy from late summer to early fall has been the best since I’ve been here as far as the most amount of guys connecting together. I think at times we have had groups of guys connecting and other guys kind of trying to come along.”
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Even newcomers are feeling the comradeship. Former Texas A&M guard JJ Caldwell committed to New Mexico in January. He should be available for at least two seasons. To Caldwell, becoming a Lobo was an easy transition thanks to the staff and his teammates.
“Very excited even before I got here, everybody was taking me in with open arms. It’s been a real easy experience to go through since I got here,” he said. “We gel really well. On the court we gel and off the court we gel. It’s pretty easy to play together because we all have one goal in mind. Everybody wants to win obviously.”
At first he said the altitude in Albuquerque proved to be a little big of a challenge, but now the biggest challenge has been the different style of play the Mountain West has from the ACC. He also has individual goals he is working on both on an off the court. Off the court he said he wants to become a better communicator. On the court, Caldwell is working on his jump shot, stamina and conditioning.
The last member of the 2019-20 men’s basketball roster arrived late August. This player is Kurt-Curry Wegscheider, who had been in the NBA Academy Africa since 2017. The 6’3″ guard said he was liking Albuquerque so far, and that his teammates have been very nice and welcoming, making him feel at home. He is also pleased with his new coach. He said he was ready to work hard and do whatever he needed to do to help the team succeed.
“He’s a great coach,” he said of Weir. “I’m so happy to be here and follow what he asks me to do.”
Wegscheider said he didn’t know how to thank the NBA Academy for everything they had done for him. Now he is ready for this new chapter in his life, which is something he had been looking forward to for a long time.
“It’s like a dream come true,” he said. “As a kid I dreamed of playing in the United States, playing college basketball Division I. I’m so happy to be here.”