Sports Desk: Richard Pitino, new Lobos players using summer to get acquainted

FOX New Mexico

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Richard Pitino has his basketball players now it’s time to get to know one another. That process would have already started, but with COVID everything was different about recruiting this season.

“You know, normally I have a better feel to be quite honest with you,” said Pitino. “Recruiting after COVID is so different. You’re bringing in guys off of Zooms so. The beauty of this summer experience is that we’ll get to know these guys.”

Pitino wants to get to know his team, not only on the court but also how they fit in the community and the classroom. The Lobos will start getting into the playbook once all players are on campus. Three more players arrive at the end of June. Pitino recruited for size skill and toughness and believes he has found that. He also recruited players who could shoot the basketball well, especially from three-point range.

“I would love five guys, even my number five-man to be able to knock down the three,” said Pitino. “It’s such an important part of the game. I mean, I talked to Mike Bradbury, you know, over on the women’s side, on just the way they shoot the three. It’s such a huge part of it. So, whoever we bring in, you have to help the program win.”

In other sports news, once committed to the Lobos, Jamel King has decided to reopen his recruitment. The six-foot-eight small forward out of Scottsdale, Arizona originally committed to the Lobos under former University of New Mexico Head Coach Paul Weir.

New Mexico United and defender Kalen Ryden will be together through the year 2023. The Defensive Player of the Year from the 2020 season has re-signed with the team. Ryden has been a starter with the team since his arrival from Real Monarchs, just ahead of the 2020 season.

New Mexico United Academy player Christian Nava has been elevated to now being eligible to join the big club. The Albuquerque High student is the fourth player from the Academy granted that status.

The Lobos women’s track and field team has three athletes competing in the NCAA National Outdoor Track and Field Championships this week. Charlotte Prouse starts the action in the semifinal round of the women’s 3,000 Thursday.

World champion boxer and two-time Olympic gold medalist, Claressa Shields, has made weight for her MMA debut against Brittany Elkin. The Jackson and Wink-trained fighter and Elkin are headliners on the PFL card that will air Thursday on ESPN 2 at 8 p.m.

New York Jets offensive lineman Teton Saltes has scored tickets from the Foo Fighters for their concert at Madison Square Garden on June 20. Saltes, a former UNM Lobos lineman, mentioned that the Foo Fighters were one of his favorite groups while walking out to practice. His response was on camera and was eventually seen by the band, who called Saltes their hype man. Saltes asked for tickets and the band honored his request.

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