Steve Alford made waves again in his second year as the Lobos head coach by guiding them to a 22-12 record. New Mexico did not have a good run in the Mountain West tournament and loss to Wyoming, which cost them a shot at the NCAA tournament, so instead they went to the NIT and beat Nebraska before falling to Notre Dame. The 2008 season was a semi-failure because they were expected to go to the NCAA tournament, but the bad lose to Wyoming coupled with a few other upsets across the country regulated them to the NIT.
Newcomers to the team start with Junior-college transfer Darington Hobson who is the best recruit out of the 2009 class. Out of high school in 2007 he was the 33rd rated small forward and 127th player overall -- all according to Rivals. He is very versatile and is a triple double threat any time he steps on the court, but his scoring is what the Lobos will need most because UNM lost Tony Danridge and Daniel Faris who were the teams top two scorers from a year ago.
Below is the rest of the recruits, including Darington Hobson. The other three are not to make an immediate impact in the upcoming season.
|Chad Adams||SG||6-5||-||-||Albuquerque, NM|
|Jamaal Fenton||PG||5-8||160||-||Houston, TX|
|Darrington Hobson||SF||6-7||180||-||Price, UT|
|Matt Staff||PF||6-8||200||-||Houston, TX|
The preseason projections have the Lobos finishing fifth, which would be their lowest projections in the short Steve Alford era. Finding scoring for the upcoming year is the main focus, because Tony Danridge and Daniel Faris combined for 26 points per game for the Lobos. The scoring was fairly balanced last year but those two where the go to guys when they needed points.
The third year of the Alford regime will not allow a let down this year, so a 20 win season should be expected for the Lobos. They have a great home court advantage in The Pit which gets them a few extra wins. The non-conference schedule has no real challengers; the toughest games are against Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Cal and a road game at San Diego. Not Exactly a difficult schedule which would mean a gaudy record is needed to mae the NCAA tournament as an at large team, or hope the MWC is as good as last year which almost allowed four teams in the NCAA tournament.
Fifth place seems low for this team and all they are losing is their top two scorers, but they are gaining a star recruit. The team will need to find a legite go to scorer which is what they lost from last year team. With this scedule twenty wins and an NIT bid should be the base for the Lobos this season.