ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – As Richard Pitino continues to rebuild the UNM men’s basketball program, he is teaching his team the importance of Lobo history. Former players have joined forces and are in town for TBT, and they met up with this year’s squad for a dinner. Coach Pitino hopes his players were able to learn something from the Lobos who made it to the next level and wants them to know they are part of something bigger than a basketball team.

“The most important thing, obviously, I didn’t coach any of these former players, but we’re all one family, and we want you guys to know that you are a part of this,” said Pitino. “[The alumni] can probably give you a lot more knowledge than I can, so make sure you get to know them. It’s all one family here. These guys are proud Lobos, and we want to make them proud.”

The chance to link up with the current generation of Lobo basketball was also important for the alumni. They are proud to represent the cherry and silver even after playing a full professional career, and they feel like they can help bring the Lobos back to the standard that they are used to.

“It was a great experience because culture is very big in any program that you’re in,” J.R. Giddens said. “We’re just trying to pass on some of our knowledge to these young guys, talk to them, try to build relationships with them, and help them in any way that we can because they’re a younger version of ourselves. We’re just trying to give them as much knowledge as possible and good vibes. It’s a family out here in Lobo land.”

“I’m only used to a certain kind of culture, which is winning, especially here,” said Kenny Thomas. “It’s one of those things where I felt the energy was cool, I think they got a nice squad in [Jalen House and Jamal Mashburn Jr.] because I played with Jalen House’s dad, Eddie House, and I played against Jamal Mashburn Sr. So they got a lot of talent on this team, it’s just a matter of if they’re going to implement it on a consistent basis.”