Lobos play intrasquad scrimmage in front of fans

Isabel Gonzalez

New Mexico fans got to see a sneak peek of this year’s Lobo men’s basketball team on Saturday afternoon with an intrasquad scrimmage at The Pit.

After the event, head coach Richard Pitino said the defense still needs a lot of work and that he hopes players can shoot well in real game situations, but that he would not look at any stats from this game to try to predict how the season will go. With that being said, here are some highlights from Saturday.

Players missing:

  • KJ Jenkins – pain from wisdom teeth
  • Gethro Muscadin – suspended indefinitely
  • Valdir Manuel – suspended indefinitely
  • Saquan Singleton – health reasons

Jaelen House is fun

His shooting percentage wasn’t amazing, but the Lobo guard finished the night with 19 points, including four three pointers. He already seems to be one of the fan favorites and was asked to sign autographs after the event.

During last week’s closed-door scrimmage against Northern Arizona , House got 30 points in 21 min (11-for-13 FG, 6-for-7 3ptr).

Jeremiah Francis is looking better

Francis has dealt with some injuries during his basketball career which have held him back, but Pitino said he is continuing to improve everyday and is trending in the right direction.

The 6’1 guard finished the night shooting at 50% from the field, 3-for-4 from beyond the arc and with 18 points.

“He can shoot the basketball,” Pitino said. “I’ve looked into putting him in different spots on the floor offensively to see what he can do, but he can shoot. He knows how to play, it’s great to see him get some success.”

Someone else who can shoot the ball….

Chad Toppert can still shoot. The former Lobo played for UNM from 2005-2009, but he was one of the alumni invited to participate on Saturday as some current players were missing.

Javonte Johnson is building confidence

The sophomore guard was a talented shooter in high school, and he still looks great in practice but it didn’t quite translate during games last season. Pitino said Johnson continues to grow and that he hopes the team can take advantage of his abilities this season, especially with Saquan Singleton currently sitting out.

“He’s your next bigger wing. He’s got a big opportunity here depending on how long Saquan is out,” Pitino said. “He is one of the hardest workers on the team. Great character, pretty versatile.”