Two weeks ago we went out to Rocky Long's football camp to get the ins and outs of the camp and bring pictures of some of the players that UNM are recruiting or of players that have been offered.
This week was men's basketball's turn as TheRedMenace.com was able to check out UNM's Elite Basketball Camp hosted by Head Coach Ritchie McKay and his staff. Now for a sports fan like myself nothing is more exciting then seeing football or basketball and that is exactly what I was able to do today as UNM was hosting 13 players from across the country. Quite a shock from the 500 that attended Rocky Long's camp.
"It is different then a football camp because of the sheer numbers," said Asst. Scott Didrickson. "We kind of like it because it really allows us more 1-on-1 time with each "camper".
Of course UNM's Elite Camp runs in the summer when there are so many individual, AAU, and team and team camps across the country. Is it tough competing with those camps? "There is one big difference between the two," said Coach D. "The players have to pay to get to this camp. We have to charge them $75.00 and they all have to pay and find a way to get themselves here. Many traveling teams during the summer have sponsors." Coach Ritchie Mckay added, "We want players that want to be here and this camp gives us the opportunity to see the kids that are really interested in being Lobos."
I know speaking to Rocky Long a couple of weeks ago that these camps give the coaches the chance to legally evaluate and talk to players during the summer. Is it the same in basketball?
"Absolutely!" exclaimed Coach D. "During the camp we can actually coach these guys! We can run them through the drills that we run during the season. We can run plays with each individual player, and after we are done we can take them into the video room and show them what they did right and wrong." Coach D went on to add, "Did you know even on official visits by recruits we can't coach recruits? They can run with our current players, but we aren't allowed to coach them."
With the camp being so much smaller than the football camp I quickly ran into the Coach Lawrence Mc Gugins who brought in a group from the New York area that includes 2 players that Coach McGugins told me "UNM is recruiting and very interested in." Those two players being Christian "The Beast" Morris
"The Beast" wants The Ball
"The Beast" as Christian Morris is better known as weighs in at 6'-9" 265-pound PF. Morris originally from the Big Apple "The Beast" plays basketball at South Kent Prep CT and according to their website he averaged a double-double last season with 10 pts and 12 boards
Coach Mc Gugins also informed me
that UNM is very interested in another of his young men that came to the Elite
Camp. 6'-8" 190lb guard-forward Jonathan Edwards (pictured here) of Living
Faith Christian Academy in Cherry Hills NJ, where he averaged 16 pts and 8
boards per game is also being recruited by
Coach Mc Gugins also informed me that UNM is very interested in another of his young men that came to the Elite Camp. 6'-8" 190lb guard-forward Jonathan Edwards (pictured here) of Living Faith Christian Academy in Cherry Hills NJ, where he averaged 16 pts and 8 boards per game is also being recruited by UNM.
I asked Coach Mc Gugins why young men that are so highly rated on the East Coast would be so interested in the University of New Mexico and Mc Gugins said, "Coach Brad Soucie. He has known me and about these young men since they were just little boys."
Also at this weekend's camp was Mesa Arizona and future Lobo PG Mickey McConnell. This was the 1st time I actually was able to watch Mickey play in a game situation and let me say it right now Mickey epitomizes exactly what you think about when it comes to playing point guard! Of course Mckay and UNM already have a verbal commitment from Mickey one that PG assured me he is sticking with.
Mickey McConnell looks good
surrounded in Lobo Red
Mickey McConnell looks good surrounded in Lobo Red
Like I said it was an exciting day for this sports fan and in the next couple of days we will have more personal stories and interviews with these 3 young men and their coaches so make sure and stay connected with TheRedMenace.com as we continue to cover Lobo sports like no one else.