Saying the New Mexico men’s basketball team is not having a good season is an understatement. While fans have been expressing their disappointment throughout the season, things got worse after the Lobos fell to San Jose State on Tuesday night.
New Mexico, now 11-16 overall and 5-10 in conference play, needed to win all four of its last games to avoid a losing record before the conference tournament in March. The Spartans sat at the bottom of the Mountain West and were on a 17-game losing streak. San Jose State was supposed to be an easy win for the Lobos, but they proved that nothing in college basketball can be taken for granted.
Head coach Paul Weir has been feeling the pressure since the season started. During the press conference after the Lobos’ 75-65 loss to the University of Pennsylvania in December, the coach admitted that he began worrying after what he saw from his team during the closed scrimmage the Lobos had against Northern Arizona before the season even started.
“I told my team after the game that I think they initially, up until the Northern Arizona scrimmage, read everything everybody wrote about us and seemed to think that wins were just going to happen,” he said. “The night of the Northern Arizona game I got off social media, I slept in my office and I knew what I saw then was scary. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to put that same fear into our guys.”
The Lobos went 3-5 in December, with two of those results being a 65-100 loss to in-state rival NMSU, and a 60-85 loss to Saint Mary’s at Staples Center. In January, Weir once again gave an insight into the stress he had been under.
“Personally I’ve been in a very dark place for a month now….But this is what this profession does to you. So now you sit here and you think about whether all this stuff is worth it and things like that,” he said during the press conference that followed UNM’s 85-58 victory over Nevada on Jan. 5.
This season, it hasn’t been uncommon to hear Weir take responsibility after a loss. After the SJSU result, it seemed as if some Lobo fans were more ready than ever to part ways with the coach. Whether they meant their negative comments or not, they still flooded social media. Albuquerque Journal beat writer Goeoff Grammer said on his own Twitter that he is seeing more negative comments from fans now than he did during the Craig Neal years.
However, not everyone had something negative to say about Weir. There were some positive things being said by players who have worked with the coach.
On Wednesday morning, JaQuan Lyle had a short and simple message on Twitter: “In Weir I trust.”
In Weir I trust. ❤️🤞🏾
— JaQuan Lyle (@_jlyle13) February 27, 2019
Later that day, former Lobo Antino Jackson said Weir was a good role model because he takes responsibility for losses instead of passing the blame. Joe Furstinger, another former Lobo, quoted Jackson’s tweet and labeled it as “big facts.”
Big facts. Great coach and better person https://t.co/2CbfoxmKH3
— Joe Furstinger (@JoeFurstinger) February 27, 2019