ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – University of New Mexico basketball coach Richard Pitino believes he has added stability to what was a depleted frontcourt for the Lobos last season. The Lobos added size with newcomers Morris Udeze and Josiah Allick.
“When you look at Josiah and you look at Morris, their bodies are just so much more developed and we needed that when you’re playing San Diego State, who has 15 of those guys or Colorado State or Boise,” said Pitino. “I mean it was a big conference and we needed to get bigger.”
Allick is still recovering from an ankle injury while Udeze is at full speed and ready to make a difference in the upcoming season. Before committing to New Mexico basketball, Udeze knew something about the Lobos. “New Mexico offered me out of high school. I kind of trusted my gut and went with Wichita State,” said Udeze.
The journey with the Shockers lasted four seasons where Udeze averaged over 10 points and more than 6 rebounds in his final year. The talented 6’8″ 245 lb. forward entered the transfer portal and reconnected with a familiar name.
Udeze was recruited by Richard Pitino when Pitino was head coach at Minnesota. As Pitino enters his second year as head coach at New Mexico, Udeze believes he can help the Lobos with his experience. “You know, I kind of like what they’re doing here,” said Udeze. “We’re building the culture so I’m just here to add some big bodies to the team and some experience obviously and be that tough guy, leader.”
It’s a role Udeze takes very seriously. “I like to play physically and just naturally, I don’t like getting punked. So, I’m going to try to bring that to the team, bring a mindset, bring every day in practice, go my hardest and just bring the toughness mindset,” said Udeze. “I love to win obviously, did that a lot at Wichita State and I’m just trying to bring that winning culture here, win a lot of games because when you win a lot of games everything works in your favor.”
Udeze has been working hard in the offseason to become as complete of a basketball player as possible, especially on defense. “Trying to guard one through five and overall getting better,” said Udeze.
He has experience in the NCAA Tournament and it shows. Udeze would love to get the Lobos to the postseason. Their last trip to the NCAA Tournament was in 2014. “For my last year, I just want to get to the tournament, which I know we can do that. I know what it takes and I know we have a great group of special talent here,” said Udeze. “I believe in us and I believe we can get stuff done.”