Isabel Gonzalez
@cisabelg

It has definitely not been a boring offseason for the University of New Mexico men’s basketball team. There have been a couple staff and roster changes recently but the players staying must continue to prepare for the fall.

JaQuan Lyle, who was forced to sit out last season with a ruptured Achilles tendon (and the previous one due to NCAA transfer rules), is counting down the days to get back on the court. Here is what he had to share regarding this offseason.

Recovery

“It’s going well. The first couple practices this summer coach didn’t let me do the live action stuff so I was kind of upset with that, but for the past two weeks they have been letting me loose so that’s been good,” the 6’5″ guard said. “I haven’t really had any restrictions, any soreness, any pain. I feel good right now.”

Lyle admitted he was scared when the injury first happened because a lot of people told him he was never going to be the same after tearing his achilles. However, he has become more confident and now feels he is going to be ok.

“The first month and a half was the worst month of my life because I overthought things,” he recounted. ” I was just thinking in my head, ‘what if I’m not the player I was before?’ But now that I’m back out there and I’m seeing me being the player I once was, and even in certain things better, I’m happy where I’m at right now. It’s still a long process to go.”

Staff Changes

  • Assistant Coach Chris Harriman left the Lobos for a job at Cal. The team hired Dan McHale, most recently head coach at Eastern Kentucky University, to fill Harriman’s spot.
  • Director of Operations Ryan Berryman moved across the street to become UNM’s Associate Athletic Director for Business Operations. Ralph Davis, the men’s basketball team video coordinator, was promoted to take Berryman’s job.

“Both my guys. They both decided to move on and I’m happy for them,” Lyle said about Harriman and Berryman. “Getting to met coach Dan has been a good experience, even if we’ve only had like two days so far. Ralph is Ralph. He has been with us for a year now. We know Ralph and I’m happy that coach Weir decided to keep it in the family and promote him.”

Roster Changes

  • Senior Anthony Mathis graduated after last season but the NCAA granted him another year of eligibility. The 6’3″ guard decided to play his last year of college basketball with the Oregon Ducks as a graduate transfer.
  • Sophomore forward/center Vladimir Pinchuk recently announced he was entering the transfer portal after two years with the Lobos.

“It’s hard because you build relationships with people,” Lyle said. ” Tone and Vlad, those two guys have been here the whole time I’ve been here. I’ve built relationships with them. To see them go hurts but at the end of the day they are doing what’s best for them, so I’m happy for them. As far as coming in everyday and not knowing what’s going to happen, you gotta come in everyday regardless. Whoever is on this ship, you have to be ready to work.”

Next Season Goals

Lyle doesn’t really have any personal goals he wants to achieve next season. He explained that he believes his team will need him less as an individual player, and more as a team leader.

“I don’t think we will need 30 points a night or 10 assists a night from me. I think the biggest thing is just being a great leader on and off the court for eight months straight.” he said. “At Ohio State I was young, but I was a point guard so I was kind of forced into the leader role because point guards are always like the coaches on the court. Now that I’m older and I went through certain experiences, I can help a lot of guys on and off the court.”

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