The expectations were high, but the results have not matched up. Paul Weir and his struggling Lobo men’s basketball team will try to add another win to their resume when they host the Utah State Aggies Saturday. The Utags have experienced just the opposite.
First year coach Craig Smith started well when his team jumped out to a 10-3 start. The Utags are 14-5 at the moment. They seem to have a thing for playing on Friday and Saturday. The Utags are 9-0 on those days this season.
Junior Sam Merrill and Freshman Neemias Queta have been a big part of the Utags attack. Queta has really come on during the conference season.
“You can’t ignore the impact he has on the game,” said Weir. “He’s an NBA prospect in my mind, just the more you watch of him, his size, his ability to change shots defensively and control the game at that end of the court. Everybody already knows how good Merrill is. He’s an all conference talent.”
There is no shortage of talent on Weir’s team, but playing well together has been an issue. The Lobos have shown flashes of what is possible. They beat nationally ranked and conference foe Nevada by 27 points and followed it up with a loss. The up and down season probably has some fans questioning the Lobos confidence, but that is not an issue.
“I think, unfortunately, for these guys, they’re young,” said Weir. “They’ve had stars behind their names, they’ve thought different things about themselves or have been told about themselves by others that they may have a more inflated opinion on what the reality happens to be.”
Weir, in only his second year as a head coach, is still working on what might work to get his talented team consistently going in the right direction.
“How to coach them, how to teach them and how to get the most out of them,” said Weir. “Admittedly that’s something I was not expecting to that extent. It’s humbling, it’s new, but that’s not going to abstain me from trying to continue to work at that and find that right puzzle picture or however you want to say it.”
Utah State will come into Dreamstyle Arena on Saturday with a 4-2 record in league play. They are also coming off a bye week after winning three straight games. The Lobos are 3-4 in league play and 9-10 overall. Game time Saturday is 2 p.m.