New Mexico opens its season on Nov. 6 at CSUN. Isabel Gonzalez/The Lobo Lair
Isabel Gonzalez
@cisabelg

Less than two weeks remain until college basketball season begins. Here are some of the latest updates on the University of New Mexico men’s basketball team.

Carlton Bragg

Bragg was officially added to the roster this week. It’s important to note that this does not mean that he is eligible to play right away as the NCAA waiver has not gone through. It did, however, mean that head coach Paul Weir was ready to officially welcome him to the team.

This happened on Tuesday night, as Bragg completed the last goal given to him by the coaching staff. Weir said the time Bragg spent working on those goals helped them get to know each better.

“When you take a mid-semester transfer, sometimes you don’t have a lot of time to go through the recruiting process, the background process, to really get a feel for everything.” Weir explained. “We kind of laid several different things out in order for Carlton to kinda fully be a member of the team. The last one that he happened to meet was a weight goal that would demonstrate basically eating the right way, living the right way and training the right way.”

Half-court defense

Weir spent a good amount of time on Wednesday working on defense.  The coach said the Lobos did some good things offensively last year, but that improving the defense, half court specifically, was one of his goals for this season.

“For a few reasons,” Weir explained. “One, I think we have a chance to be a very good defensive team. We have very good personnel there and it kind of fits our strengths. And two, just talking to people about our team and us evaluating our team, it was one area that I feel we needed to improve from last year.”

Dane Kuiper

Kuiper fell during the Cherry & Silver scrimmage last week and then spent the rest of the night watching from the sideline with ice on his left shoulder.

Dane Kuiper took a fall during the Cherry & Silver event and had to sit out for the rest of the night. Isabel Gonzalez/The Lobo Lair

The senior was at practice on Wednesday but did not stay for the whole time. While his teammates were wearing their usual jerseys, Kuiper only wore a red tank top. There were three warmup stations the players had to go through, with groups rotating every couple of minutes. Kuiper stayed at one station the whole time, then proceeded to do stuff on his own while the team had regular practice.

The coach said that so far all the X-rays and MRIs haven’t showed anything concerning. The coaching staff is “cautiously working him back” because this is not how they want Kuiper to spend his last year as a Lobo.

It was only a couple weeks ago that Kuiper was sitting out due to a muscle pull on his back. A similar approach was taken as Kuiper slowly eased his way back into practice.

“I don’t think it’s anything that would keep him out for an extended period. At the same time, he is a senior. He’s been through a lot,” Weir said. “Like I told him (Tuesday), when he comes back, I don’t have to worry about it again.”

Recruiting

Last week’s buzz, other than the Cherry & Silver event, was all about four-star recruit Terry Armstrong being in New Mexico for an official visit. Armstrong was deciding between three schools: Arizona, New Mexico and Oklahoma. He made his official announcement through Twitter on Wednesday, selecting the Arizona Wildcats.

But the Lobos did get some good news this week as Emmanuel Andrew announced his commitment to UNM on Tuesday. The 6’6″ guard, also known by the last name of Kuac, grew up in Canada. The country where Weir and assistant coach Jerome Robinson are from.

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