ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Many former Lobo basketball players have gone to play professionally across the globe following their time at UNM, including Joe Furstinger. The forward has averaged over 12 points and six rebounds per game while playing internationally, including in Ukraine, when the Russian invasion began.
“I mean, yeah, it was pretty intense,” Furstinger said. “I was hearing about it since November, like something might happen, something might happen, and like mid-February my parents and friends were telling me I should got home or like at least go to Poland to evacuate for a little bit, and my team wouldn’t let me.”
Contract obligations forced Furstinger to stay in Ukraine, at first, however as the situation progressed he was able to flee to Romania, which took him 30 hours to reach. While he is happy to be out, he is still concerned for his teammates.
“I was fortunate enough to not see any bombings or any killings or anything, but it was a very long and depressing day,” he said. “[My teammates] are all still doing relatively well, but I mean its hard to say you are doing well in a war.”
Furstinger is now back in Albuquerque and has joined forces with former Lobo teammates for this year’s TBT. While his professional career has been anything but normal, he is excited to play along side friends in a familiar setting against an old arch rival.
“I really haven’t been back that much since I graduated, so it’s awesome to come back here with all of my Lobo Alumni, some teammates getting to know them the last couple of days since I got here,” said Furstinger. “Its going to be a great game against NMSU, its going to be fun to play them again, and hopefully we can pack the Pit again.”
Furstinger will be playing on the Enchantment along side former Lobos against the team of former NMSU aggies, The Panamaniacs. Tipoff will be on Monday, July 18th at 8 p.m. at the Pit.