PHOTO: Anthony Mathis took a moment to reflect in the Pit following practice before his final home game at UNM last season. Mathis is now looking ahead to being a graduate transfer, and today takes an official recruiting trip to Oregon. (Mark Smith)
By Mark Smith
Editor In Chief
The calls keep coming from colleges across the country for soon-to-be former New Mexico Lobo basketball star Anthony Mathis.
But a certain Duck call could very well be the most intriguing.
On Tuesday Mathis, who has decided to leave UNM to play his fifth season of college basketball, told Enchantment Sports he will make an official recruiting visit to the University of Oregon today — where his brother, Payton Pritchard, is a star point guard. Last week, Pritchard withdrew his name from this year’s NBA Draft and announced he is returning to Oregon for his senior season in 2019-20.
“Playing with Payton would be awesome, just awesome,” said Mathis, who is back home in West Linn, Ore. “I’ve talked to (Oregon) coach (Dana) Altman, and I’m really excited to visit.”
Mathis and Pritchard are more than close — and much more than a friend, as locally reported. They are related.
“He’s my brother,” Mathis said. “His parents are my legal guardians. I’ve lived with them since sixth grade.”
But while brotherly love might give Altman — an Eastern New Mexico alum — and the Ducks the inside track to landing Mathis, the 6-foot-3 guard said he still is undecided. Mathis said he might take more official recruiting trips, “I think I can take five,” but that he had not set any others up as of Tuesday morning.
“I’ll see how it goes at Oregon (today), and just see what happens from there,” he said. “It’s really been crazy, and a lot of fun talking to all the schools that have been calling.”
Mathis, one of the top 3-point shooters in UNM history, added his name to the NCAA transfer portal on Monday, allowing schools from around the country to contact him about transferring.
On Monday, he told Enchantment Sports that he had spoken to Michigan, Northwestern, Kansas, Oklahoma, Gonzaga, Boston College, Texas A&M.
On Tuesday, he said he spoke again with Kansas, as well as UCLA, Houston and Arkansas.
Mathis graduated from UNM in May with a degree in liberal arts and an focus on criminology. He said his goal is to work for the FBI when his playing days are over, but he first wants to give professional basketball a shot.
He said he hasn’t decided what he will pursue in graduate school, but that “academics will come into play heavily in my decision (about where he will transfer). I want to see what each school offers, and find the best possible schedule to balance academics with basketball.”
Mathis, who led the Lobos in scoring last season at 14.4 points a game, was recruited to UNM by former Lobo head coach Craig Neal. Neal was fired following the 2016-17 season.
Mathis seldom played during that 2016-17 season, when he was a sophomore. It was one of the most controversial campaigns in Lobo history and Mathis was one of at least eight players who said they would transfer that spring. But when Neal was fired at season’s end, Mathis decided to stay at UNM.
This past April, the NCAA granted Mathis a fifth year of eligibility, based on issues from that season. The NCAA didn’t release why it made that decision and Mathis has not gone into detail about the reasons.