Lobos to be coached by Greene, Harge in alumni all-star hoops game
Hunter Greene wasn’t going to miss out again.
When Cameron Bairstow and Brandon Mason, the two who are organizing this year’s Battle of the Rio Grande Lobo-Aggies alumni basketball game, approached the former Lobo basketball great and asked if he’d like to be one of the honorary coaches for the UNM squad, Greene quickly accepted.
And when he found out he’d be joined by fellow Lobo great Ira Harge, it was just icing on the cake.
“He’s the original legend,” said Greene. “I mean, I feel like Ira Harge, guys like Mel Daniels, Ron Nelson, Petie Gibson, they built this program. We just kind of rode on their coattails.”
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Greene, who starred in the Pit from 1983-88, Harge (1962-64) and UNM graduate student Devon Williams, whose playing career was cut short in November because of an injury in a game against New Mexico State, have been chosen to be the Lobos’ three-man coaching staff for the June 25 game pitting former Lobos against former Aggies.
Tickets are being sold online at UNMTickets.com.
This year’s game includes both of the state’s Division I programs after the success of last year’s inaugural Lobo-only All-Star game, which drew nearly 10,000 fans to the Pit. Like that event, this year’s game is primarily organized by Bairstow, the former Lobo and current Chicago Bull, and Mason, the former Aggie who has been on coaching staffs at UNM, NMSU and now at UNLV.
“I missed last year because I was out on vacation with my family, but I wanted to be a part of it,” said Greene. “I was very impressed with how Brandon and Bairstow stepped up and put this together last year. The important thing to me is the ability to bring former players back together again.”
Greene said other programs generally have done a better job than UNM and NMSU job of ensuring former players ? from all eras, not only recent players ? remain a visible, active part of the current team. Through the efforts of Bairstow and Mason the past two summers, Greene is encouraged.
As for why they chose Greene, Bairstow and Mason said it was a no-brainer.
“He’s one of the guys you think of when you look at the history of Lobos basketball and he’s still a big part of the Lobos community today,” Bairstow said. “So he’s a guy we thought would be a prime example of Lobo alumni.”
CAMPING: Several of the Lobos playing in the all-star game will also be a part the basketball skills camp Bairstow is running with Mason next week at Sandia Prep. More information can be found online at cameronbairstowcamp.com.
OPPOSING COACHES: NMSU’s three-man coaching staff will be Reggie Jordan, a 19-year pro who played six seasons in the NBA; William Benjamin, head coach at Las Cruces High; and Casey Owens, coach of the NBA Development League’s Los Angeles D-Fenders.
MISSING AGGIES: Three Aggies initially committed to play have had basketball obligations change their Battle of the Rio Grande plans.
Former Aggie Sim Bhullar was summoned to Toronto this week to try to earn a spot on the Canadian National Team for an Olympic qualifying event. Daniel Mullings and Hernst LaRoche have had new playing opportunities in China arise.
Aggie-Lobo Alumni All-Star game, 7 p.m., the Pit; tickets: UNMTickets.com