The Big Dance is currently taking place but the season is over for many college basketball teams, including the University of New Mexico. While they probably wish they could still be playing in March, several Lobos are already looking ahead.
Redshirt junior JaQuan Lyle got a ruptured Achilles tendon during a practice before the season started. Whether or not the 6-foot-5 point guard would stay in New Mexico after his recovery was a question mark for many fans. He had already sat out a year at UNM due to transfer rules. On March 15 however, Lyle made his intentions clear by tweeting about his loyalty to the state.
No way I can pass on playing in front of literally the best fans in the country or playing for my guy Pdubb, Harry, Bmase, or Rome..I appreciate all the love and support here in Abq ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
— JaQuan Lyle (@_jlyle13) March 16, 2019
Another player who waited patiently this season is Zane Martin. He officially joined the Lobo roster in July 2018 after transferring from Towson, where he led the offense by averaging 19.8 points per game during the 2017-18 season. The junior guard was named MVP of the Basketball Hall of Fame Belfast Classic and earned All-CAA and NABC All-District 10 Second Team honors. Martin had declared for then NBA draft in April, without hiring an agent, but was not invited to the combine.
Lyle and Martin didn’t see any time on the court, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t feel like they were part of the team. Lyle even teased the official UNM men’s basketball Twitter account for not including him and Martin on a Valentine’s Day post. Throughout the season, he also tweeted things that showed support for the team including urging fans to come to games and expressing support for head coach Paul Weir.
Martin did not want to wait until next season to start getting fans excited. He tweeted that it would be smart to jump on the bandwagon right now.
A new face, redshirt freshman Vante Hendrix, also made his allegiance to the Lobos clear. He is enrolled in online classes at UNM but not on scholarship yet until the summer. Due to transfer rules, he won’t be eligible until December. On March 21, he made things feel more official on Twitter.
🐺🐺🐺🐺 #14 pic.twitter.com/xM8zVRYhnh
— V1R4H (@Vante_Hendrix14) March 21, 2019
UNM commit Emmanuel Andrew said the Lobo fan crowd during the Mountain West Tournament in Las Vegas looked “elite.” A couple days later he quoted a tweet by Lyle about how next season starts now.
While they won’t be here next year, seniors Anthony Mathis and Dane Kuiper also used social media to express positive feelings regarding their time at UNM.
“And that’s it Lobo nation… been an amazing journey, can’t thank you guys enough for welcoming me to abq with open arms. Lobo for life,” typed Mathis.
Kuiper, who comes from Alaska, also felt quite at home in New Mexico.
“Thank you Lobo Nation! Albuquerque will always have a special place in my hear,” he said.
Here are more tweets from current members of the roster: