Journal list

Lobos lands coveted power transfer

Morris Udeze, a transfer from Wichita State, announced Sunday that he will play for the Lobos next season. (Image via Udeze social media accounts)

Morris Udeze, a 6-foot-8, 245-pound forward who played four seasons at Wichita State, including starting every game the past two seasons for the Shockers, announced Sunday that he would use his graduate transfer option to play his last season. for Richard Pitino and the University of New Mexico.

In 27 games for Udeze last season at Wichita State, the Houston native averaged 10.2 points and led the team in rebounds (6.1 per game), blocked shots (0.9/game) and field goal percentage (.505).

In American Athletic Conference games last season, his defensive rebound rate (18.3) and offensive rebound rate (11.0) ranked ninth and fifth in the league, respectively.

It’s music to the ears of Pitino and the staff of a Lobos team that had one main need in this offseason’s recruiting cycle: find a rebounder.

UNM ranked 313th out of 358 Division I programs last season with a minus-3.7 rebound margin.

Udeze, like other big men on the transfer portal this offseason, was a popular target for many programs. He had campus recruiting interests, offers or visits from at least a dozen programs, including UNLV, LSU, Ole Miss, Maryland, Virginia Tech, Texas and Georgia Tech.

While many teams have been active in filling multiple roster spots this offseason with some of the more than 1,500 players entering the NCAA’s transfer portal, the Lobos have been patient and only had two scholarships open. to offer with its starting corps of all-returning players, including All-Mountain West guards Jamal Mashburn Jr. and Jaelen House.

The UNM front court lost centers Gethro Muscadin (transferred after 12 games) and Valdir Manuel (never played a game after being suspended in pre-season) last season and then converted starting center Emmanuel Kuac (broken leg). Kuac is now recovering and will be available for the c2022-23 season, but is expected to play more from his natural wing position.

UNM returns to the front court (listed by current eligibility season) 7-foot freshman center Sebastian Forsling and forwards Birima Seck, a 6-11 freshman, Jay Allen-Tovar, a junior 6-9 and 6-6 Javonte Johnson, a 6-6 sophomore forward who can now drop to play more of a wing role.

Players leaving the programs and hoping to be immediately eligible to play at a school next season had until May 1 to enter the NCAA transfer portal, but signing them to join a team can be done until the start of the fall semester at the end of August.

Wichita State’s Morris Udeze, left, celebrates a dunk past Missouri’s Jordan Wilmore, right, during their game Nov. 26, 2021, in Columbia, Mo. Wichita State won 61-55. Udeze announced on Sunday that he was moving to New Mexico. (AP Photo/LG Patterson)