NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – When asked what he thought about New Mexico, Jamal Mashburn Jr. said, “I love it, just coming from a different place. It’s nice and hot here.” The talented point guard followed Richard Pitino to New Mexico after playing his freshman season for the coach at Minnesota before Pitino was fired.

“You know, we always had a good relationship and he’s been with me since my freshman year in high school, recruiting me and he’s always been honest,” said Mashburn Jr. “I’m always about honesty. So, he shoots it to you straight. I had no, no brainer that I was coming back, coming back with him.”

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Pitino is glad to have Mashburn again. “He knows how much I value his loyalty,” said Pitino. “It’s deeper than you’re just one of our players, like, that’s family. He’s a great kid. He’s so driven. He acts like a pro. Obviously, his father taught him how to act. He walks in every single day with a purpose.”

Mashburn Jr., whose father carries the same name, is one of two Pitino players with a father who played in the NBA. The other is Jaelen House, son of Eddie House. Mashburn Jr. is aware that his father’s success is always on the table when it comes to taking questions and he doesn’t mind answering.

“I never get sick of people asking me about my dad because that’s my best friend,” said Mashburn. I wouldn’t be the young man I’m going to be without him.” Mashburn Jr. said his dad is very much involved with helping him improve his game, but when it comes to who is the better basketball player.

“It’s me,” said Mashburn Jr., “When we play one-on-one I beat him. I know that’s kind of hard to believe. But, I beat him though. He’s trying to get back into shape where he could keep up with my speed.” The Lobos will start their season with an exhibition game against New Mexico Highlands on Nov. 5.