By Enchantment Sports
Lobo Nation was jubilant this afternoon to learn that “then former” Lobo basketball player Anthony Mathis had been granted a fifth-year waiver by the NCAA.
Just like that Mathis is back in The Pit. Well maybe.
So, both Mathis and New Mexico coach Paul Weir have choices and decisions to make in the next few months. With the addition of Mathis, the Lobos are one scholarship over the NCAA mandated 13.
Does Mathis stay at New Mexico?
Next month Mathis will graduate, his degree along with his waiver allows Mathis to come back to New Mexico or explore a graduate transfer elsewhere. Does Mathis decide to spend one more year in Dreamstyle Arena in his natural shooting guard position, or take his three-point shooting skills elsewhere?
How did he get the extra year? It wasn’t clear in the UNM news release (below). Actually, it wasn’t addressed whatsoever.
Transparency, you know, is the mantra in Loboland.
Hopefully that comes out during a UNM newsconference on this week. Just hope Enchantment Sports is there to ask, or we may never know,
Vance Jackson has declared for the NBA draft and has hired an agent. For those that were unaware, the rules on declaring for the NBA draft has changed. Jackson is using the new rule to be able and workout with NBA teams, see where he could possibly be drafted, or what he needs to work on the 2019-20 season; and after weighing his options decide to come back to New Mexico.
Coach Weir and other players on this team have decisions to be made as well. If Mathis chooses to come back to The Pit, JaQuan Lyle comes back healthy after missing last season due to injury, Jackson comes back, and the addition of Zane Martin and JJ Caldwell that is a large chunk of minutes that will be taken. Do young men like Dru Drinnon, Tavian Percy, and Vladimir Pinchuk add their names to the never-ending transfer portal?
What a great problem for coach Paul Weir, as he finds himself flush with talent.
Here is the official release from the University of New Mexico:
Mathis Returns for One More Season
Anthony Mathis, one of UNM’s most prolific scorers, will return to the Lobos in 2019-20.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The University of New Mexico men’s basketball senior and Lobo record holder Anthony Mathis will return for the 2019-20 season, the program announced Wednesday. Mathis has been granted a season of competition waiver by the NCAA and will return for one more season in Cherry & Silver.
“I am so happy for Anthony,” head coach Paul Weir said. “There hasn’t been a more committed member of our team the past two years and to have him for one more is an absolutely huge boost for our program.”
Mathis remains with the Lobos after breaking the UNM record for most 3-pointers in a single season in 2018-19 and currently ranks fourth in UNM program history for most threes in a career with 222. He concluded last season with 980 career points, just 20 away from becoming the 35th player in Lobo history to reach 1,000 points.
Mathis, a 2019 All-Mountain West Third Team honoree, will also enter the 2019-20 season on a 25-game streak scoring at least one three, ranked fourth in UNM history.
“This is the best news I have ever heard. To be able to come back and truly have a full career here is absolutely a dream come true,” Mathis said. “I can’t thank everyone at UNM and the NCAA enough for making this happen.”
Mathis led the Lobos last season, averaging 14.4 points per game while firing at a clip of 41.6 percent from behind the arc. He led the Mountain West with 3.31 threes per game and finished ranked in the top 35 in the nation in several statistical categories including free-throw percentage (88.8, 13th), 3-point field goals per game (3.31, 20th), total 3-pointers made (106, 26th) and 3-point field goal percentage (41.6, 32nd).
“Anthony is an amazing player, but he is an even better person to have helping to put this program back where it belongs,” Weir said. “I am looking forward to the upcoming season and all that we can accomplish with him back for another year.”
Mathis is a two-time All-Mountain West Team honoree, was named to the 2017 NABC Honors Court and earned a spot on the 2016 Academic All-Conference list. He will be a redshirt-senior during the 2019-20 season.
Squeal to join Fredo?
Even before Steve “Lobo for Life” Alford was officially announced as new coach at Nevada, after being fired at UCLA in December, rumors circulated that former Alford assistant and ex-UNM coach Craig “We Love Noodles” Neal would join his Lobo lifeline with the Wolf Pack.
“He told me, there was no way he was ever coming back to college coaching again,’ ” a close friend of Neal’s and fellow basketball coach told Enchantment Sports earlier this month.
When contacted again on Tuesday after two other sources said Alford and Neal were trying to work out a deal, the source said, “Neal told me no way he would ever return to coaching. But we are talking about Craig Neal. So who knows?”