NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Rising basketball star Amari Brown was excited about playing with friends in his home state of New Mexico. The Cibola High freshman was trying to wait for a delayed basketball season, which was set to begin in late March. That wait is over because Brown has decided to leave New Mexico and play with his Amateur Athletic Union team, the Atlanta Celtics.
New Mexico student-athletes must participate in a hybrid learning model to be eligible for competition. Albuquerque Public Schools decided against the hybrid learning model and has sent a letter to the state, hoping the New Mexico Public Education Department will consider separating hybrid learning from athletics and extracurricular activity.
However, Brown and his family do not want to wait any longer. “He wanted to play with his friends,” said Brown’s mother Catina Dunn. “He loves his city. It was really hard. But, when you keep getting pushback after pushback you just have to say hey let’s be proactive, not reactive.” Brown will start to play with the Atlanta Celtics in March. “Honestly it was more like for my future because, you know, without no basketball, that’s a whole year without colleges looking at you and getting national exposure,” said Amari Brown. “Out in Atlanta, they’re playing. So, it will be better for my future to go play with my AAU team.”
Brown wouldn’t mind coming back to Albuquerque to play with friends next season if the competition returns. He also has not ruled out staying in Atlanta for the rest of his high school years.
In other sports news, Paul Weir and his Lobo men’s basketball team will play the last series on the regular-season schedule. The Lobos are at the Air Force Falcons in Colorado Springs. Lobos guard Javonte Johnson is from Colorado Springs and is very familiar with the Falcons. “They use the whole shot clock,” said Johnson. “You have to be in tuned the whole possession or they’ll get you. It’s an opportunity to win and we’re looking to do that.”
The Mountain West Basketball Championships will not have fans attending in Las Vegas due to COVID-19. The tournament runs from March 7 through March 13.
New Mexico State University men’s basketball coach, Chris Jans, is still trying to figure out the way his team with losing on Friday but winning on Saturdays. “For whatever reason, you know, they’re better at it on Saturday,” said Jans. “You know because they’ve got that experience of Friday. So, it’s, it’s frustrating.”
The Aggies are at Tarleton State Friday and Saturday.
Lastly, University of New Mexico baseball lost the finale of their opening season series in Arizona, 5-2 to Oregon State Monday. The Lobos are 1-3 on the season and will host the Air Force Falcons in Amarillo, Texas on Saturday and Sunday.