I wish I were better at guestamating a crowd because there were quite a few people at The Pit Saturday night for the annual Lobo Howl. I would say the East side was completely full; the west sides was ¾ full and the North and south side were full at least 10-12 rows across. It was a great turnout to see this year's editions of the Lobo Men's and Women's basketball teams.
First up the women's alumni game which was a lot of fun with some old Lobo favorites (sorry ladies) Abby Garcheck, Jordan Adams, Miranda Sanchez, Mandi Moore, Lindsay Arndt, and a host of others. It was a fun-filled game that The Pit faithful really enjoyed. Following that was the 3-point shooting contest won by Abbie Letz, and this year's women's basketball team. I will leave all that to our women's writers as we now have two.
Then came the Lobo men's alumni and let me say this, the gals take much better care of themselves then the fellas do as Everyone's a Lobo **gasp** **gasp** **gasp**… Just kidding fellas' it was great to see guys like Rob Robbins, Canochet Neves, Lewis Lamar, George Scott, and many other Lobo greats, but the man that stole the show had to be Bob Toppert (73-75) who still has his shot! Everyone was surprised that neither Greg Brown nor Michael Cooper showed up as many were expecting both of them to play.
There was a buzz as Head Coach Ritchie Mc Kay took the floor and introduced this year's Lobo basketball team, and really these are the guys that Lobo fans really came to see as UNM fans for the first time were able to see Ryan Kersten, Kyle Prochaska, Joel Box, J.R. Giddens, Daniel Faris and Anthony Teague live.
There is a new look this year as the Lobo players are wearing the headbands this year. Mc Kay credited new Lobo J.R. Giddens with bringing that bit of flair to the Lobo program and let me tell you right now J.R. does have flair. He is flamboyant and there is no doubt he has game. It's too bad we won't see it till next year, but J.R. is explosive! Mc Kay also had Kersten come up to the mic and prove he was Australian by letting everyone hear his accent.
Just some quick thoughts, now remember this is their 2nd practice together and their first time under the lights if you will so take everything with a grain of salt.
David Chiotti is going to have a super year. He looks bigger and more defined if that is possible, and really is the biggest player on this basketball team both in size and presence on the court.
Mark Walters is very explosive to the hoop and his defense is nails. He along with Chiotti are the leaders of this team and it is obvious the players look up to him.
Kris Collins was really pushing it today and there is no doubt that he is disappointed after last season. He can still penetrate and takes the ball to the rack hard, hopefully he can dish to some of the guys that are on this team.
Darren Prentice I believe will have a breakout year this season. He seems stronger and quicker if that is possible and Mc Kay talked about how much harder he is working.
J.R. Giddens is a very explosive player like I said and once he learns the offense and can temper his enthusiasm with basketball savvy I have a feeling he will be one of the best Lobo basketball players ever.
Joel Box seems like a good player that is a step slow as he is learning the system around him, however, I can see why the coaches like him. He can move with the ball in his hands and can take it to rack. He will have to work on fine-tuning his body and getting that banger mentality.
I really didn't get too much more of a feel for any other players as I mostly keyed in on these guys, as we get the opportunity to go to more practices and check these guys out we will bring you more info on them.
After the scrimmage was the slam dunk contest where 3 players participated, unfortunately Tony Danridge tweaked his hamstring a little so he wasn't able to go. J.R. Giddens who is coming off some minor injuries himself did get a chance and he did electrify the crowd with his dunks, Anthony Teague also had a good one, followed by crowd favorite and eventual winner Darren Prentice.
Enjoy the videos and get ready for the upcoming season Lobo fans!
Unfortunately, I missed Prentices last dunk as my camera's battery died, but this year look for TheRedMenace.com to be covering more Lobo basketball practices the only way we know how to! More pictures, videos, and interviews than anywhere else on the web!